When you’re an Autism parent, you very quickly realize that your life will include ungodly amounts of repetition. Your child on the Autism Spectrum may have repetitive behaviors, like asking the same question over and over again. Maybe it’s watching the same part of a movie, over and over again. Perhaps it’s more serious like self-injurious behavior. Repetition is comforting for many on the Autism Spectrum but it can be absolutely overwhelming for the people in their life.
Sometimes, the repetition comes into play when you’re trying to communicate with your child or provide instructions for them to complete a desired task.
One of the toughest parts for me is that I have to constantly repeat instructions or directions, especially with Gavin. There are some things that Gavin picks up very quickly, and then there are others, such as personal hygiene and interpersonal skills, that he just doesn’t.
One of the things that I keep having to go over and over again with him are things involving his personal appearance. Things like shaving, brushing his teeth and cleaning his face are a daily struggle.
I’m so proud of him because he takes the initiative to shave every couple of days, but when he shaves, he leaves behind patches of his mustache or beard (it’s not a beard yet, but it’s coming). While I don’t personally care, I’m trying to get him to be a bit more diligent when it comes to his appearance.
Gavin’s doing a lot more on his own, and in some cases, that means that he’s interacting with the public.
If he doesn’t get reminded of these things, he will walk into therapy with pieces of his unshaven mustache, poking through the dried toothpaste caked all over his mouth. Things also collect on his front teeth as a result of his lacking enamel and mouth breathing. It can get kinda gross when he talks and he has to constantly be reminded of these things.
I don’t want him getting embarrassed or frustrated by having some insensitive asshole say something or make fun of him. I’d rather him hear from me so that we can work on it together.
I’m working on check sheets for bathroom time as well as one for things to do before leaving the house or his bedroom.
Again, he’s come so far but there are still a great many things left to work on, and I’m happy to do so. It’s just a shit load of constant repetition, and that gets old, for both of us. That said, nothing worth having ever comes easy…
I think it’s important to highlight how much time and effort, goes into making even baby steps forward. That effort is on the part of both the parent and the child. Baby steps aren’t something to just sluff off either. Those baby steps are progress, and any progress is a cause for celebration.
I always make it a point to celebrate any progress that’s made because it’s a painstaking process at times. Many hours, days, months or even years, have gone into those steps forward. Don’t be afraid to brag about your kid’s progress. It’s something many of us can relate to, and it can provide hope for many people, as well as boost your child’s confidence or self-esteem.