Autism and Consequence

Consequence. Every action or inaction can have a consequence. We try to teach our kids this valuable lesson through out their young lives. But how to be teach this lesson to our autistic children. Autistic children have a very difficult time in any type of social interaction. This is a major struggle for us with Gavin. He doesn’t understand all the time that his actions have consequences,sometimes good and sometimes bad.

The best way we have found is to hold him to a higher standard. We have discussed this at length with all his doctors and teachers. Gavin has to face consequences for his actions. If he hits his brother there is a consequence. If he throws a fit or has a meltdown that has a consequence. They only way Gavin is going to learn is through consistency and consequence. We see Gavin as a child who is autistic and bipolar, ect. However, that doesn’t excuse him from being held accountable for his actions. For example, we don’t punish Gavin for smelling things as that’s just an aspy thing. We would however, punish (for lack of a better word) him for smelling his brothers food. Two very different things but for Gavin he doesn’t understand.

The other big issue is inappropriate touching. We have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior. It’s to his room for the rest of the day. We have to be extreme for things like this because people will get hurt. Gavin has little impulse control which makes this type of situation very dangerous. When he’s older he will go to jail not his room. We have to hit things like this really hard. It’s his only chance.

With all of this also comes guilt. We hate being so hard on him. Sometimes I just want to see him as developmentally disabled child and let these things slide, but I can’t. I would only be hurting him in the long run. But there does come a point where I wonder if this is worth the effort because he never seems to learn. His doc’s explained it like this: “you wouldn’t punish a blind man for not being able to see, but you punish the same blind man for shooting someone”. To me that makes a lot of sense. I hope this all pays off at some point and it someday just clicks with Gavin.

Until then we have to trust that his doctors are right and we are doing these things because it’s in his best interest. Sometimes the right thing to do doesn’t feel right all the time.

LT

2 comments

    • Marc on May 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm
    • Reply

    You know……that is such a hard place to be, because, like you say….does it really do any good??? Doctors don't know everything,and its true that we as parents have to learn from the experts,but also, we are the ones that live with our kids and we do know them better than the doctor that sees him for approx 2 hours a month, so i say all we can do is use our instinct and hope we do the right thing.What you say about them landing in jail is enough to give me chills up and down my spine.It always brings me back to nobody understanding what these kids are going through.(hell, i probably don't know as much as i should either…) With the high rate of autism, this country, and for that matter,this world better come to grips quick, because in a few more years we are going to have a lot of autistic adults that we need to help out.The future is a scary ass place that i just don't like to think about to much anymore, it just seems like all hope for anything positive is lost.Its really kinda strange when i listen to my friends with their so called "normal" kids complain about some of the most trivial stuff and i just can't help but think that if they only knew how lucky they are that all that happened was that Johnny struck out twice in the game, or suzi needs braces………what about having no friends, or any social life at all, or watching your 5th grade son not even be able to add 5+5 and get it right……I'm rambling on someone elses blog,lol…sorry about that, it just is such a complicated situation and one thing leads to 12 others and so on….You guys are amazing people, keep it up!!

    1. Marc,

      I didn't think you were rambling. You can say whatever you need to say here. You can also make it as long or short as you like. It's a safe place to unload. I kind a wanted the blog to be a discussion. So please keep writing.

      Thanks

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