Monday, January 11, 2016

Learning Which Fish To Fry With Your Autistic Children

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

It's a goal to have more entries on Autism.  We are shooting for every week since we've had such a lovely response to the ones we've here already.

We try to keep it as general as possible so our tips can perhaps help with folks all over the world and for those dealing with different kinds of levels on the spectrum.  If our tips don't work for you now, they might later.  We want to be as positive as possible in all of the aspects and would ask our readers to do the same.

Today, we want to focus on choosing your battles.  This was another tough lesson to learn, but once we got it, it's helped us tremendously.  I also used some of these techniques when I was a teacher in secondary education. 

You will totally stress yourself out and all of those around you if you continuously try to control everything.  Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and then let go.  I'm getting really good at this.  Hehehe...  I often have to remind my husband to let it go, too.

You may find yourself going horse or feel a great strain in your throat after continuous yelling, correcting or arguing and then you know for sure, it's time to stop.  Give it a break.  That physical symptom is a super caliber as to when it's too much.

Seriously think to yourself, "is this a battle worth fighting?"  There are so many important things that you absolutely MUST fight.  For example, healthy eating.  This was such a problem for us years ago and still a bit today, but nothing like before.  Our boys are 9 and 10 and it is still impossible to get them to sit still at the table.  We decided that it was way more important to eat.  Just eat.  My oldest was fed while he drove around the table in his little push car.  We'd scoop a spoon full of something very healthy in his mouth, every time he rode by.

Some might think it ridiculous, but this kid would not eat.  The doctors were concerned because he was so under weight.  Eating was just not important to him. It still isn't, but that driving around the table didn't last long at all.  Think in baby steps, but always hold fast to the things that are really crucial like eating, sleeping, hygiene, safety, going to the toilet and of course school and studies. 

We still have a difficult time getting the kids to eat with utensils.  We never pushed the issue too, much and we still have to continuously remind them to use their forks, but it slowly gets better.  Some other battles that we chose not to fight are having a blanket, writing in cursive, being a couple of minutes late to school, shoe tying and blowing off steam.

My 9 year old still carries around his blanket during private time.  Blankets are great for feeling independent and we feel there are so many other things we are trying to make better, that this is one we can continue to ignore.  We often put his blanket away and he can go an entire day without it.  So again, it slowly gets better, too.

I told the teacher of my youngest, that we felt cursive wasn't at all important and that she shouldn't push the issue, but she may certainly keep encouraging him and introducing him to it.  Spelling and reading are very important and he's still not good in reading so we'd rather they focus on that.

Getting ready for school is pretty much a nightmare.  If we are in terrible meltdown mode, well guess what, school can wait.  I need to calm my child first so he doesn't hurt himself or others.  If we're a couple of minutes late a few times a year, the school just has to deal with it.

JJ still can't tie his shoes, but velcro is still an option.   We learned early that pushing or forcing is absolutely not the solution.  We're not fretting that he can't tie his shoes yet, but we are not giving up either because is it important and he really should learn this at some point.  

Forcing is something we are going to cover more in detail on another blog.

If you find yourself arguing or getting frustrated in a situation with your children or students, ask yourself if it's worth the fight.  When you find the things that are most important DO stick to those and don't give in.

We hope these tips that we've learned might help you, too and I want to personally thank all of you for your lovely comments.  We feel if we can help just one person in some way, it's all worth it.

I've got this link if you want to read more about power struggles and choosing battles.

Best of luck and if you have any questions, we'll see if we can't get you answers.

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