Am I The Only One?

Am I the only autism parent that believes some behaviors are not directly related to autism?

Am I the only autism parent that actually believes that early intervention is key-That we have to begin teaching our kids early on?

Am I the only one who believes that our kids can learn to say please, thank you, and excuse me etc?

Am I the only one that believes we need to teach/discipline our kids when we know that they are purposefully being defiant or disrespectful?

Am I the only one that expects her 11 year old child to know now that it is inappropriate to throw things across the room.

Am I the only one who has to teach her child not to yell at adults when he doesn’t get his way?

Am I the only one that didn’t take her child to church/ restaurants because there was no way he would be able to sit through a church service or meal; and refused to take him until he was ready?

Sometimes it is difficult to know if the behavior is related to autism or if the child is just being defiant.  In my opinion, it is up to the parent to know their child and to know the difference.


36 thoughts on “Am I The Only One?

    1. It’s funny because when my son was first diagnosed, the NP that diagnosed him said that autistic kids shouldn’t be disciplined and if they are misbehaving, simply ignore the negative behavior, but reinforce positive behavior by giving lots and lots of praise. I tried the no-discipline-and-ignore technique…nope! Didn’t work for us (for the most part, but it is also on a case-by-case basis. We did, and still do, give my son lots of praise for positive behavior and obedience/compliance). While it may work for others, every child is different and it is up to the parent(s) to figure out what is/works best for the child so he/she can develop better socialization skills.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes!!!! So true. I tried the ignore thing and he was constantly throwing objects. I couldn’t have him hurt his sister. We had to let him know that the throwing was dangerous and needed to stop. It was a process but he finally stopped doing it. I do agree that it is a case by case basis.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I have lots to comment about here…wonderful post BTW!

    When Kiddo was first diagnosed, we were afraid he would become Helen Keller before Annie Sullivan….and we hated brats….and we were determined he wouldn’t be one….and he isn’t!

    I have mentioned I do some special ed consulting and I do….I’m a behaviorist with a specialty in arts inclusion. I am really an arts educator but my specialty came from working with Kiddo and being trained (with it being paid for)by his school district and then furthering the training when I was in grad school.

    Long story short….what you have been told about NOT disciplining your kids with autism is partially true but they didn’t use helpful language to explain (other than ignoring)what you SHOULD do and why you should do it. I will walk you through the behaviorist way of handling negative behaviors. But first, positive reinforcing good behavior makes sense, doesn’t it? Telling your kid *good job* or *way to go* or giving them a sticker or gummy bear or matchbox car for a job well done helps them to *keep on keeping on*, doesn’t it? But if you get upset or pay attention to bad behavior you are actually reinforcing that bad behavior…..remember with kids (any kids)any attention is good attention so the snotty teenager who feels she is being ignored by her parents acts snotty to get their attention. Makes sense? So follow me here…..ignoring a bad behavior makes sense when it is something benign…you aren’t reinforcing it, hope it will *go away* and something silly (but irritating) probably will go away! We call that ignoring technique *extinction* BTW.

    But throwing something at your sister or jumping down the stairs when they’ve been told many times NOT to deserves some sort of technique, doesn’t it? The behavior management technique that has fallen out of favor but (IMHO)works very well is called *over correction*. Have you ever heard of *let the punishment fit the crime*? So, if MJ is throwing things, he will need to go to where he threw them and pick them up and bring them to you (and you’ll keep them until he can control himself enough to NOT throw them, right?)……and if anything is broken, he will have to help pick up the mess and perhaps sweep or vacuum. I used this technique will ALL my kids and it works great! My NT sons would jump down the four steps from the kitchen to the family room when they were about MJ’s age. I made them walk up and down those steps every time they did it. One time I was so ticked when The Middle Boy jumped down those d*** stairs, I make him walk up and down the steps TEN TIMES…..he never jumped down them again! The real trick with using *over correction* with someone with autism is you have to do it very quickly, right after the bad behavior or it doesn’t have the impact… no “wait until your father gets home.” And you have to be creative……spilling milk requires them to clean it up or not cleaning their room requires them to not only clean their room but to vacuum or sweep the hall outside of their room. My Kiddo loves Cheerios and often we find the kitchen floor crunchy with them because he’s gone into the pantry and taken handfuls without a bowl…..he has to pick them up (he could sweep them up but this IS over correction, isn’t it, can’t make it easy) and put them in the kitchen garbage can.

    I suppose you could call over correction a form of discipline but if you call it a *behavior management technique* it sounds better to the professionals….I say “potato/potahto!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes it is so hard to tell if it’s typical or autism behaviors but I correct on all accounts. Sometimes I right and other times I’m not. But you are not alone in this by any means. My thought is if we make excuses for his autism behavior it carriers over to typical behaviors. My son knows and will say stuff like “I need a break” when in fact he knows he did something that wasn’t expected. Anyway, great post!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are not the only one who believes those things. I have raised 6 kids and I have seen autistic behavior or meltdowns. On the other hand I have seen disrespectful BRATTY behavior. I’m actually dealing with both issues with my 11 year old daughter. As her momma I know when my preteen is struggling through something or when she is just pushin’ my buttons. Even autistic preteens push buttons, roll eyes, and attempt to be disrespectful. Thank you for posting this, it’s a helpful reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I believe all children need to learn and understand CAUSE AND EFFECT — I am a big believer in teaching our children to participate in “expected behaviors.” What I don’t agree with is when kids are considered and labeled “bad or good” for behaving certain ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post is really relatable and although Nates wasn’t autistic I couldn’t take him to church until he was out of the terrible two’s and tantrum three’s. The boy wouldn’t keep still, always had to go to the bathroom and fidgeted from beginning to end of the just over one hour mass. As he grew older we taught him what was acceptable behaviour and what wasn’t. All this to say: yes, a parent must know his or her child, and what works or doesn’t work when it comes to reinforcing positive vs not so positive behaviour. You are definitely not alone on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have always said and stood firm on that my sons are children first and foremost, who just happen to have Autism. Children are children. They push limits, they sass, they wine, they act up, they try to get their way and to do things they know they shouldn’t, and if left to themselves they can also grow to be quite rude, arrogant, and selfish. A disability does not make all that natural part of growing up go away. The parents still have a responsibility to help teach the child how to properly express themselves, cope with emotions, and how to be kind and polite. Which leads to something else I’ve always said. If a child is smart enough to learn how to be rude, selfish, and to use bad manners, they can also be taught the opposite. Special needs may make the job harder, but never impossible.

    Hang in there and keep on being the great mom that you are. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are NOT the only one. Manners are manners.
    It is definitely hard sometimes to divide the autism from controllable bad behavior. So difficult to discipline.
    Have you heard of the blog Rhema’s Hope? I highly recommend it. They go to a church with a “crying room” where they can’t be heard by the rest of the church.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My 9 year old has cerebral palsy due the complications of being born at 26 weeks. Early therapy was hugely important. It sounds like you are a great advocate for your son. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for doing this. I tend to be a rather reserved, quiet spoken person but since having Cody, I have surprised myself with the force and strength I can muster when navigating the system for him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So you really understand. It definitely brings out a side of me that people don’t usually see. We do what we have to do for our kids don’t we.


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