One of the things that I learned very early on about Autism parenting is that you have to have reasonable expectations. Kids with Autism are capable of some amazing things but they may never love up to your expectations if those standards are set too high.
This isn’t necessarily easy to figure out and I don’t know that I really have any good advice on how to establish those reasonable expectations for your kids.
We know that every child with Autism is different. Your expectations should line up with your child’s developmental abilities and perhaps push a little beyond, if appropriate.
All I know is that life becomes much more enjoyable when become more in tune with our kids on the spectrum.
Okay… Let me give you an example of what I mean…
My youngest Emmett (5 years old), doesn’t tolerate clothes all the time. If it were up to him, he would run around in his underpants. Forcing him to always be dressed is very overstimulating and even painful for him.
Over time, we learned to have a more reasonable expectation for Emmett and his sensory related oversion to clothes.
He has to wear clothes to school a day of course, leave them on while he’s there. If someone is visiting our home (which never happens), he needs to be dressed. If we’re out in public, he needs to be dressed. The rest of the time, he’s free to do his Risky Business dance throughout the house.
Eventually, he’ll move past this and he’s already come so far.
Having reasonable expectations is simply finding some sort of balance between what you need your child to do and what they are able or willing to do.
It’s never a perfect solution but it respects the child’s possible limitations while at the same time balancing that with what you need to accomplish.
I would love to hear about your experience with this sorta thing because I think that this is something that many people can struggle with… Please leave your comments below….
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It is amazing how all consuming sensory issues can be. I don’t know that it is possible to describe to someone who doesn’t feel that way how truly horrible it is. God bless you for giving Emmett a space at home that he can be comfortable, while teaching him at the same time how to manage in other places (school, etc). At least he can stand his underwear… 😉
my kid is NT but i have two things one is kinda funny. when my kid was little he never wanted or seemed to need a coat. he lived at the ball field most of his life and played around while his brother played ball. there was an older mother there that was about a grandmother’s age (they had a late baby unexpectantly and he played ball with my oldest) and she couldnt stand that i didnt make my youngest not where a jacket in the freezing. he didnt want to he was hot running around even though it was 20 degrees. finally i just brought the jacket for her and made sure she saw it so she would quit giving me the evil eye of being a bad mother by not making my kid wear a coat and it seemed to calm her down a lot lol. second that is more serious is i have the kind of problem you all have about how hard to push etc. he got cancer when he was 11 and has an autoimmune diesease that has him practically bedridden. he was in the hosptial recentaly (not cancer related he is cancer free) and i got them to do a cat scan or mri dont know which of his back to ensure that structually there was nothing wrong with his back (he gets arthiritic swelling of his spine which is painful) so we could start some kind of pt or ot or something to get him moving. i cant imagine my child not being able to tell me how much is too much but i have run into the issue of how much to push to get him going. it is so nerve racking. i know it is painful or will be painful later after he does something/anything and we got started with the chiropractor last week and will continue this week and will start doing things to strenthen “his core”. thank God he believes in doing that or i dont know how i would get him to do it. i will update you on how it goes. I have to expect something out of him or he wont do anything out of the fear of real pain. i imagine me being him and i probably wouldnt do anything because it would be painful, but i have to put my feelings and preceptions aside and have some type of expectations. it is helpful that his chiropractor is in charge of that and they have a plan they have agreed on together that leaves me out of it. he respects the guy so i hope it works.
He doesn’t like layers. He doesn’t like socks, he wears Keen sports sandals only (water proof so he can play and climb rocks and in creeks without twisting an ankle like he may have if we kept him in crocs)….even in winter–His teachers have gone rounds with him insisting on shoes and socks. We finally got it put in his IEP that he “does NOT have to wear shoes and socks and that Mom will provide appropriate footwear”. He won’t wear a winter coat in 18 degree weather for long. He wears loose fitting sweat pants and a t – shirt (tagless of course), long sleeved shirts only if they are very soft or well worn AND certain colors are just a NO with him. He changes his shorts or underwear at least twice a day because of some sensory thing. He was stripping down at school, but we nipped that in the bud with a token system. Several behaviors were extinguished and some were under control using a token system. He doesn’t like loosing his privileges…he grumps about it but he picks his battles as do I 😉
That’s so awesome that he can pick his battles. That’s something I’m working in with my kids as well. Thanks so much for sharing… 🙂