To begin with let me state that nothing I am about to say has been tested or proven to work. Nor has it been Dis-proven to work, mostly because know one will give me a chance. This is all based on my observations and knowledge. This comes from my unique insight and my personal hindsight.I think of myself as a protector of people with challenges. Challenges of all types all shapes and all sizes. As a 30 year-old man with autism, I’ve lived this story so here is my take on how to parent children. Walking in your child’s shoes will be key. As will patience, imagination and yes, lots of love.
To be a successful parent to your children, here are my suggestions:
Help them, make them feel good, important, needed, happy, and productive–these feelings are crucial PERIOD. It is highly recommended that you relate to them, pretend you are them, and observation is essential. Notice everything and communicate properly.
Probably very soon you will encounter and have to deal with behaviors that are very, very unfamiliar and unpredictable, with absolutely no pattern whatsoever. Keep in mind and remember that each disability is very, very different and has different levels, versions, and significance’s, and thus requires different approaches that will counter each behavior. That comes from their own challenge.
Here is something, though, that never ever works with anyone. This includes people with challenges, as well as people in general. Never ever use force–in any way, in any shape, and in any form! Using force is the totally wrong wrong wrong approach and will make everything much much worse for everyone.
Here’s a better way. Let’s say your child who has a disability loves, loves, loves Rock and Roll, do not use Rock and Roll as a reward for making the bed, in the beginning. Instead use the their love for Rock and Roll to get them to make the bed, in the following way: make your child or children believe that the Rock and Roll performer is a very neat person–that to the performer making his or her bed is more important then anything else in between the performer’s singing career. Of course, most of us will do stuff to get stuff we want. And make people we care about happy. But it has to be explained creatively and according to the child. Do this with as much emotion, feeling, and drama as possible. Make it immensely believable!
You could convince them that making the bed will make the bed happy! You could do this by making it seem as though the covers and sheets and bed have feelings. Say that their bed and bed stuff are crying. Are you just going to abandon them? They need your help. They want to be with each other very closely. The bed itself is freezing to death. It needs the covers and sheets to keep it warm.
Another way is to turn it into a challenge or test. Make it as though it is an NBA game, each player and team tries their very very best because they want to win. So use that same theory and analogy to make them believe that making the bed is a very hard thing to do. And make it seem like you do not believe they are capable of accomplishing such a feat. Hopefully they will then want to prove you wrong.
Lastly find a way to hide a Rock and Roll CD or something in the bed. Be creative. All the above will help people who have autism. And give them a major, very powerful, unexplained, and indescribable, useful key to their own door, chains, hand cuffs, and shackles. That immensely restrains all autism victims. This will unlock everything. What matters is the way, the method, and how you communicate what you want your child or children to do. This will determine if they listen or not. The important thing is the tactic, the strategy, and the plan you use.
If you use a tactic that is not effective with your child or children, it is extremely important that you do not allow them to realize that. Make sure you say to yourself, ” OK. That did not work so what can I do now?” Stay calm, cool and collected, and keep a level head– do not panic. Instead transform the current situation into a big success. Do this by taking advantage of what you know now, compared to what you knew then.
For instance, lets say you want your child or children to go to bed at 8pm and it is 7:45pm right now. So your child (or children) has 15 minutes. What can you, the parents, or care givers do? How can you successfully get them to adhere and listen? Without having any fight whatsoever? One such way is to threaten them with grounding them. But take my word for it! That category is filled with problems and errors. Here is a way that will work and that is positive and helpful in all aspects. Allow them to listen to music while they are in bed. Either from a TV, CD player, and head phones, or an i pod. Chances are the music will help them get to sleep faster rather than without it. It is vitally important that when you are trying to get your children to do something that you think of positive ways to get them to not only do what they have been asked to do but to want and enjoy doing what you want them to do.
For all of this to happen, it is very highly recommended that you use tailored tactics and to communicate properly according to his, her or their own unique personality and likes.
A wise person once said, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.” This may be especially true when you’re dealing with the challenges of parenting children with autism.
Thank You and Happy Parenting!