|This picture came up when I google image searched "Autism Discipline"|
The author of that book did not adequately illustrate what this process would look like in my home. He didn't let me know what I was in for in other words. Maybe you could go so far as to say that he pulled the wool over my eyes and led my parenting confidence into a dark alley way where it was beaten and mugged. It's NOT that bad.
Rather than pass along the same information that could possibly work really well if applied correctly and responsibly, I'm going to share how it goes down in my house. Try to understand that my son Noah (who is on the Autism Spectrum)is like a micro-hoarder. He finds little things around the house and gets VERY attached to them. Recently, it has been with objects like a small toy car, a thermometer, Mom's glasses, a broken Lego guy, a bent slinky, small black plastic stopper that he thinks looks like a tiny top hat. . . this list goes on and on. If one of the other kids should happen upon an item that still does or once has belonged to that hoard - the shit hits the fan.
Be it one of my other beloved sons Dawsyn or Connor, or my wonderful youngest child Gracielyn who picks up one of these objects, they have done nothing wrong. It was taken out of Noah's hand or paraded in front of him to assert social dominance. It just happened and it would be wrong of me to take it from them even though Noah is screaming hysterically - possibly (more like inevitably) throwing things. It's the kind of tantrum that immediately induces a migraine. You ears hurt, head throbs, and the only way it will ever end is by a somehow convincing one sibling to surrender the object. It is a major dilemma and it happens at least once a day.
"Well so what? Every house with kids in it, deals with this."
True, but its the level and length of the tantrum that is different. Also, let's say one kid takes the toy from Noah's hand. Now I have one kid to punish for taking a toy and also Noah now to punish for smacking, hitting, screaming mean things at this brother/sister. So the toy gets put up and one kid sent to their room while I personally deal with Noah.
I take him to the corner so he can sit in the time out chair. The rule is you sit there for as many minutes as you are years old. So for him - 4 minutes. I can't set the timer though until he quiet. So in other words. . . NEVER. While trying struggling with him to sit in the chair and stop shrieking it gets to the point where both of us are now too heated for it do either of us any good. Sometimes I'll succeed at getting him to stay seated, but the stress of it all causes him to start flicking at his ears (that's him stimming). At that point I realize that I have to stop and approach the situation a little differently a while later.
It is so hard to do it "the right way" and I often wonder if there really is one right way at all. I also sometimes wonder if Noah is just fu*king with me and actually has nothing wrong with him at all, but instead has just mastered me like some sort of elaborate and convoluted Pavlov's Dog experiment.
Tomorrow (as if I haven't done a good enough job expressing how NOT to survive as a parent) I will share how wonderful it can feel when someone outside of your home share's some of their opinions and advice on how to "fix" and "correctly" discipline your child with Autism.