Nothings ever easy is it? Of course, nothing worth having ever comes easy. I often wonder what it’s like to walk in the shoes of my kids on the Autism Spectrum. I know what it’s like to be a parent to kids with Autism, but not having it myself, often leaves me at a disadvantage.
In my family, 5 year old Emmett is probably the most perplexing for me as far as Autism is concerned.
Emmett had no language for most of his life and has a host of sensory processing related challenges. He’s only really been wearing clothes during the day, since school started last month.
This morning, after all the Elliott related nose bleed drama was over, Emmett had a little meltdown over the fact that he had to wear a coat to school today.
He can physically tolerate the coat (for the most part) but has this thing about having to hang it up when he gets to school. He doesn’t think he can do it (even though he can) and would rather be cold than face the prospect of having to hang his coat up. This is a real hurdle for him and we haven’t really found a way to help smooth this out.
The school is providing him with multiple alternatives to hanging his coat up but he just can’t seem to get past this.
Lizze and I had to take turns this morning, trying to talk him into wearing his coat and explaining the why’s. We reminded him that he doesn’t have to hang it up either. The problem is, in his head, everyone else is wearing a coat and hanging it up. This means that he must do the same.
With kids like mine, you have to be gentle because being forceful or demanding will often make things much, much worse.
Thankfully, Lizze was able to help him through this today but it will very likely be an issue again in the morning.
It’s been an exhaustive day so far, at least for me. Ha ING said that, I can’t imagine what this has got to feel like for Emmett. When I say meltdown, I mean like a full on panic attack. He can become hysterical and get to the point where he vomits.
I wish that I could get into his head or walk in his shoes for a little while. That would help me gain so much perspective.
You know something, I’ve been an Autism Dad for the better part of a decade and I’m still learning new things about Autism and how it impacts my kids, damn near every day.
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Even though my child isnt autistic but chronically ill I have to say I am to scared to walk a day in my childs shoes as i am scared enough from the outside, if i knew what he was really thinking (even though i really want to know) and feeling on the inside it might just do me in which wont do him any good. It is weird but if it was a forever thing and kept him from all the pain etc i would do it in a heartbeat
Practice , practice, practice. Find a hook just like the one at school and have him practice it a few times a day, spaced out. Make it no big deal, “Hey Emmett, let’s go hang up your coat so it’ll be easier in school” and when he does it, let him go and give him some kind of treat- whether it’s just a big hug, or extra t.v or something. Do it a few times a day, he might resist at first but develop his confidence with it. Let him move at his own pace too.
We’ve never really had much luck….
do social stories help with your kids? they do wonders with my youngest when facing an unpleasant thing. 🙂