How to survive as a parent to a child w/ Autism Day 2 - breaking, smashing, scratching and yelling

*This post is part of my Autism Awareness Month series. If you would like read more like this, Click Here.

Just moments ago, I laid down my daughter and two youngest boys for their nap. After 20 minutes, all but Noah had fallen asleep. He tried bargaining with me for a snack before he slept (more like blackmailing me in exchange for his quiet cooperation) and I obliged. A few minutes pass and I could still hear him chatting to himself. I peeked in to his room and found him seated in front of the heater in nothing but his underwear (as usual) and a pair of his mom's slipper socks pulled up to his knees (something new). When I pulled the plug on his little charade, a fury of screams and flying objects was unleashed.

Now some of this behavioral stuff is learned and I'm to blame for giving in or creating the problem, but more often than not these "over reactions" seem to happen spontaneously and you have to stay on your toes. I do NOT practice what I preach here - I'm bad at this (I think anyway) but I can't stress enough how important it is to keep your patience. Which I am also bad at. I'm sure I'm not alone in this but let me share a couple moments that make discipline and "normal" parenting techniques seem impossible to a parent with a child who has Autism.

Once upon a time, Noah, who was still in diapers, got sent to his bed (a crib actually that we COULD NOT get him out of until he was 4). Enraged by this punishment (and screaming loud enough that he would 'hurt your ears really bad'), he would proceed to reach for and throw/break anything within reach, rip off his diaper and pee on anything in sight. A simple matter of a "time out" turns into an enormous mess, something broken, and urine to clean up.

This sort of thing (or worse) would be happening almost every single day and not just in my house - but for any family who has a child with Autism that can't afford an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist (not covered by insurance.) So tomorrow, I'll share a little about what we changed and just how much work it takes as a TEAM for me and my wife to keep things almost feeling normal around the house. One of my favorite ways to describe what it's like having a child with Autism, is saying that it's like going about your day with a someone standing behind you holding a fog horn to your ear. Every now and then at completely random intervals, the person fire off the fog horn into your ear. You live each day in anxiety, stressing over when that next fog horn is going to blow. Then for a while it seems like its never going to go off and you relax and enjoy your day with all the kids. Then that fog horn bastard pushes the button again. I hate that fog horn guy.

Continue reading this series tomorrow with How to survive as a parent to a child w/ Autism Day 3 - Treat all the kids the same.

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