My last post included 9 ways to NOT manage your autistic child. I was going to make it 18 ways, but my husband said the post would be too long…so I broke it into two parts. Here are 9 more wrong ways to manage a child with autism.
- If you are out in public and your child needs to go to the restroom with automatic paper towels that spit out the next one, don’t assume for a second that he’ll stop pulling them out. He really must be stopped.
- The cute packet from the dentist you get containing a new toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and a toy will all be flushed down the toilet the minute you get home. Hide it! Unless, of course your husband wants hands-on training on how to uninstall the toilet and reinstall it in the same day. WOW! Soooo many words which echoed through the halls that day I cannot repeat here on this G rated blog.
- Hiding soda bottles in the corner behind the bread-maker, can lead to undesirable word associations. This attempt on our part to out-craft my son only caused him to call soda “corner” for years to come. You’ll be explaining this to every speech teacher he’ll ever have in his future education. Just don’t bother.
- Trying to hide liquid Tylenol in the chocolate milk at a young age (let’s say 2 years old) only means all chocolate milk needs to go away…FOREVER! Even years later when his sister wants a bottle of delicious chocolate milk from the grocery store. He pours it ALL out…sister was pissed and so was Mom. Hide it (but not in the corner) or don’t buy it. Ever.
- The strangest things trigger meltdowns. The waitresses at the IHOP near the beach resort you’ve taken your family to for breakfast wore a Hawaiian leis. Our son could not take his eyes off the waitress. Several times when she walked by he would attempt to tear it from her neck…that should have been our cue :(. The next time she was in sight…well…it was not pretty. This fact cannot be overlooked. It will result in screaming and embarrassing removal of your child from the restaurant. Forget the pancakes. You won’t get to eat them. The sight of leis will always remind you and you won’t think they’re pretty anymore.
- Oh and if you DO have to abruptly leave with your screaming child from a restaurant, TAKE THE CAR KEYS with you. Embarrassing moments happen when you are at the van with your screaming child and your realize you don’t have the keys. The whole restaurant is watching through those UGLY big windows while your husband gathers the other kids and quickly pays, or sends an older child (who is now petrified of all the on-lookers) with the keys to rescue you. Funny how the siblings remember these things. Do you remember the formula for humor from Temporary or Permanent? Behind the Scenes of an Autistic Artist H = (M * Tm + TE)/M. This basically means time + tragedy = humor. The more time and the bigger the tragedy the funnier the story becomes.
- If you have an O.C.D. friend whose house is perfect… you know, the one who spent time organizing all those Golden Books in her daughter’s room into alphabetical order…don’t take your child to visit. He will rake all the books off the shelves and make a giant book mountain to climb on top of. And all her markers nicely stored away on her daughter’s cute little desk will end up all over her room with the tops off. Your friendship will not survive this tragic sequence of events. Hmmm, maybe she needs a autistic child…just a thought.
- If you are going somewhere in a hurry, don’t assume your child will know to get in the van without a struggle. This means he has to get his pillow and blanket and anything else he wants. Just take the things with him. There will be no peace if you don’t.
- When you relocate to a new town and decide to take your child to Longhorn Steakhouse because this is your child’s favorite restaurant, don’t assume he’ll know you are going to the one in your new town! Don’t ignore the signs…the look of distress…the screaming…the physical attacks…they mean something. It may be that he thinks you are headed on a long trip back to the Longhorn in your previous town…you know…the ONLY Longhorn Steakhouse he knows. The nice outing will be doomed before you even get there.
I hope you enjoyed these last two posts with 18 ways not to manage your Autistic child. I am sure I will come up with at least a few dozen more as they come to mind.