Fathers For Autism

I am a road-worn father of an amazing autistic daughter and NT son. I started this blog to provide information, a sounding board and a voice for fathers of autistic children.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

STFU and Listen! - March Edition

Time to get real again...

* Find a way to make a connection.

I hear this one a lot: I just don't connect with my child. 

It's not your child's job to connect with you any more than it is their job to provide shelter, food or clothing. 

You're the adult, figure it out or make something up.

Pay attention to what they do all of the time and join in. You may not want to line up trucks for 3 hours, but you might find that you can lessen that behavior if you are an active part of it, rather than a bystander who simply tells your child to stop doing things.

Which brings me to the next point...

* Stop telling your child to stop doing things if you don't have something else for them to do.

I absolutely HATED this as a child. My mind was working 100 miles a minute and someone just kept derailing my great ideas. Fortunately, I had an older brother who had even more destructive ideas, but you get the point. If you don't give me something fun and positive to DO, I am just going to keep finding alternative ways to blow up the house.

One of the things we do with my daughter, when she thinks she's being 'clever', is we'll give her three options and allow her to decide. Once she's decided, she's on the hook for following through and feels empowered because it was her choice.

* "This sucks" "...deal with this" "stupid autism thing..."


If you surround the challenges in your life with words that further support the negative aspect of it, you are only becoming part of the problem.

Your words enhance your life. It's true. Try using words that enhance it in a positive way rather than being Debbie Downer all the time. Seriously, nobody wants to hear it, especially your child who may already have an understanding that he or she is different. Allowing them to then hear that they are also a burden, a problem or a drag on your life is irresponsible, mean and wrong.

* Improvise!

Don't be afraid to try something new, every day. You might find that one thing, that one style of play, that allows your child to open up.

Most people don't want to do the same thing every day, neither does your child. Although something might work, give yourself the freedom to try new things just to see where they lead.

You might find that you enjoy the process a little more as well.

(Again, these are this month's musings. If I offend, that is not my intent. My goal was to lay it out there, open and raw. Sometimes that is the best way to clean a wound, bandage it and allow it to heal.)

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