Autistic kids can explode with frustration. Those with hyperlexia or aspergers want life to be, "just right." In the amazing book by Priscilla Gilman, The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy, Ms. Gilman describes one of those days:
"On summer day when Benj (her son) was five, he was having one of those 'terrible horrible no-good very bad days.' He'd woken up that morning with a wet bed, lost his favorite marble under the fridge, and at lunch he spilled his yogurt on his feet, lap, and chair.
As the cold yogurt splattered everywhere, he yelped in frustration and screwed up his face as if he were about to break down. "Mommy, can you make life just right?'" he implored. p. 258
The Anti-romantic Child is a page turner as Priscilla Gilman experiences what she learns about her hyperlexic son. Her willingness to understand and love him deeply for who he is, not what he "should be," touched me.
Second Mom, Tara Kenedy-Cline:
"Recently, I have begun a new process of "avoiding the layers" when I am making a request. Instead of going into a whole story of why he should and how he could comply with my request, I simply do not comment on anything he says or does other than "Alex, I have asked you to turn off the computer." If he doesn't do it, I do it for him...but we don't get into a big discussion about it. And if he goes into the worst mom ever mode, I simply say, "Thank you for doing what I asked. I know that was hard for you and I am very proud of you." (or whatever the case may be...but always staying positive)
After several weeks of learning to control MYSELF by staying on task and not giving in to those talking sessions, while at the same time recognizing and rewarding him for doing what I asked and staying calm, we have developed a relationship of mutual understanding. I understand his triggers and that he has a difficult time honoring my requests, and he understands that I will reward him for desirable behavior and doing what I ask.
By catching him "being good" and rewarding him for that behavior, I am able to keep MY cool because I am focused entirely on the good stuff. And in turn, when I stay cool, he stays cool. When I notice the good, he wants to repeat the good.
It's not easy...but it's so worth it! I can actually say I not only LOVE my son, but I LOVE spending time with him too :o)
Tara Kennedy-Kline, Author of Stop Raising Einstein; Discover the Unique Brilliance in Your Child...and You!
Director of Field Services at Learning is an Art
Raising kids isn't easy but imagine what it takes for parents to raise, love, and understand their precious special needs kids. They deserve our respect and our praise.
What Do You Think?
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With warm wishes,
Jean Tracy, MSS
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