The how to’s of your kids

One thing I have learned as a mom with two kids on the spectrum, is that many little details really matter when you send you little ones off with grandparents, aunts and uncles, or friends of the family. What may seem like a little detail to them, can lead to a meltdown in the end. I have learned on many occasions, that this is true with our son Hunter.

Grandma has encountered this a number of times in the past, so I developed the how to and what if’s for caring for my boy. Before the list came, everyone was pretty much in the dark on what would set off a meltdown or crying jag.

For instance, one might think it was ok to go visit a few people at 3 different places. This is not the case with my Hunter. Once grandma took him on this visit to 3 places and then came home to try to paint pumpkins for halloween. This ended very badly with a pumpkin that was painted over and over in tears, because my son was in sensory overload and irrational as he can be in that situation. In the end, he wanted to come home and had a major crying jag until he got his way.

See, Hunter will ask to visit everyone he knows, just because he want to doesn’t mean he can handle all those different stops and changes. Limits need to be set, in the long run the crying that occurs after he is overstimulated is going to be far worse than if you said no in the first place.

Also, it’s good to teach your family the signs of impending meltdown, so they can remove your child from the situation. I call it “the estimated time of explosion”. If he is tired or hungry I also advise not to go into a large store or supermarket and if you do, don’t stay long. I know we are in trouble when the public announcement system goes off and he yells stop yelling at the top of his lungs, we are getting out of there asap!

I also try to let them know about sensory issues related to autism. If he is in a situation that is causing sensory overload, his language deteriorates and he is often so frustrated he can’t tell you he is hungary, tired or sick.

Typical people also don’t understand how the holidays and parties disrupt our children’s world. I try to make it clear that people can visit us during the holidays, versus us going to 3 different stops every time someone comes in to town. This will help your child, but all children are overwhelmed at the holidays, so keep in mind what your child’s needs are versus whether you travel to many places.

The how to’s of your children are a life saver if you should have an emergency and have to leave your child/children with someone. I have developed a list of likes, dislikes, soothing etc. for Hunter to better help him go out with other family members and friends. I have yet to put all Tristan’s needs, dislikes, fears and how to’s together, so it is very difficult for anyone to take him to stay at their house so this is a goal for him. However, the how to’s need to be a goal for every family, so you can have that time away in the future to have time to yourselves and one on one time with your other child or children. Take time out for you, your spouse and other loved one and the only way is to make sure other’s know the how to’s of your child’s life.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. autismcustodybattles
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 07:36:10

    I love it when people give you the ‘look’. It reeks of judgment and narrow mindedness. Yet all I have is pity for these people. The public will judge your parenting style, thinking that you do not know how to raise a kid normally. They do not understand that you are not dealing with typical. And this opinion carries over into family courts when dealing with child custody issues. Judges form opinions and stamp it into law! Feeding your child a special diet will very likely get you to lose your child in court!


    • Heather
      Jul 22, 2010 @ 08:18:23

      I really don’t mind the looks of pity that I get in public so much, its the looks that I should learn better parenting skills. Our children are both on special diets, which is not an issue, for one we are still married, and for two our son Hunter is allergic to many foods and Tristan is allergic to some foods as well.

      There are narrow minded people everywhere in the world. Until people become more aware of autism and its total impact on your family, the community and the future, people will definately judge. We are living in a cruel world and it is our jobs as parents to educate our children as well as people in the public that are willing to learn about the autism world. For some, however, they will just try to ignore that it exists and blame the parents for so called “bad behaviors”. These ignorant people are who I feel bad for.

      My goal in life is to offer the information to people and help them better understand and help my little one’s with autism. That is all one can really do in this world of ignorance and intolerance to difference in people. The more that listen, the better chance of better services and help for my boys. I feel bad for you having a battle over custody because of a treatment that is not harmful to a child.

      Ignorance about treatment of autism is everywhere. Just because autism is a brain/neurological issue, does not mean that these kids have other issues as well. Keeping and open mind and researching what works for your child is what it is all about. People here “diet” and presume you are starving your child or neglecting them. Not all things work for any given child, but if it has helped your child feel better why make it an issue at all, especailly in a custody battle. The whole idea is to help your child get better. Why make something into an issue when its used to help your child feel better. The whole premise of medicine is “first do no harm”. I feel as a nurse/mom if it works and helps your child, lets all get on board with what’s best for the child.


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