When my wife and I first began to investigate the fact that Jacob might have Asperger's, we were given a list of parenting tips to help us better educate ourselves and our son. At first I thought the list was just common sense, but as I became more experienced as a parent, I realised the list was much more important. So I thought I'd share the list.
A MEMO FROM YOUR AUTISTIC CHILD
1. Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I can't have everything I ask for. I'm only testing you.
2. Don't be afraid to be firm. It lets me know where I stand.
3. Don't use too much force. It teaches me that power is all that counts. I respond better to being led.
4. Don't be inconsistent. It confuses me and can make me try harder to get away with things.
5. Don't make promises. You may be unable to keep them, which will affect my ability to trust you.
6. Don't believe me when I say mean things. I just want to see your reaction.
7. Don't make me feel smaller than I am. This will just encourage me to be a "big shot."
8. Don't do things for me that I can do myself. It makes me feel like a baby. And I may continue to keep you in my service.
9. Don't correct me in front of people. I'll respond better if you explain things to me in private.
10. Don't let my bad habits get me too much attention. It only encourages me to continue them.
11. Don't try to discuss my behaviour in the heat of conflict. When I'm mad I don't listen that well.
12. Don't preach to me. You'd be surprised how well I already know right from wrong.
13. Don't turn my mistakes into sins. I have to learn from my mistakes without feeling that I'm no good.
14. Don't nag me. I may respond by becoming deaf.
15. Don't demand explanations for my behaviour. I don't know why I do the things I do.
16. Don't tax my honesty too much. I'm easily frightened into telling lies.
17. Don't forget that I love experimenting. I learn so much from it, so please put up with it.
18. Don't protect me from consequences. I need to learn from my own experiences.
19. Don't take too much notice in my small ailments. I may learn to enjoy poor health if it gets me attention (or out of school).
20. Don't put me off when I ask "honest" questions. If you do, I may seek my answers elsewhere.
21. Don't answer silly questions. I just want to keep you busy with me.
22. Don't think that you're above apologizing to me. It actually strengthens our bond.
23. Don't suggest to me that you're perfect. It gives me too much to live up to.
24. Don't worry about how little time we spend together. It's how our time is spent that counts.
25. Don't fall for my provocations. If you do, I may seek additional victories.
26. Don't let my fears arouse your anxiety. Then I'll become more afraid. Instead show me your courage.
27. Don't forget that I can't thrive without encouragement or understanding.
28. Don't agree with me to avoid an argument. I'm only testing you.
29. Don't be afraid to discipline me. The truth is, I expect it.
30. Don't forget to treat me like a friend. That way I'll be your friend too.
This is an incredible list. Yet it's very difficult to remember and implement all the points on it. And I must admit, I am guilty of not following some of the points all the time, but that's okay. As parents of a child with Asperger's, we know that sometimes we're not perfect. The key is learning from our mistakes and when we learn from our mistakes, we all can become better people.
WELCOME TO JIM'S AUTISM BLOG
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.
"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980