It's All Okay

Just a mom blogging about life with an autistic child.

Location: Canada

I'm a stay at home mom with two boys. Patrick is my youngest and has ASD.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What's working for us

This post has been rolling around in my head for almost a month now. It seems that a lot of bloggers talk about what's working for their children. You get a lot of people who think their way is the best way. It's kind of hard for a new autism mom to navigate her way through all of it.

So, I think more for myself than anything else, I'm going to go through what didn't work for us and what's working well for us now.

ABA didn't work. Well, we're still on the waiting list for the waiting list for the provincial program so I should say ABA done by us in the home didn't work. Patrick just couldn't generalize any of the skills. And a lot of the skills were things he'd learn easier if they were just explained. It got very frustrating and we eventually stopped. We might be willing to try again if we feel he's needing it and if we ever come to the top of the list.

RDI didn't work. This one I was sure was for us. But again, Patrick couldn't go from a game with balls teaching him to be ok with change to actually being ok with change. The games were fun and we still do some of them because we like them but they are more for fun than anything else. I loved the idea of floortime and we do spend a lot of time on the floor together (laughing) but we no longer really follow that plan either.

What's working for us?? Life. Life is working for us. Want Patrick to get used to a loud room with lots of kid running around? Take him to a loud room with lots of kids running around every week and help him deal with it.

Want Patrick to understand how to deal with new bus drivers? Put him on the bus with different drivers and help him deal with it. Want Patrick to learn to sit in a circle at school? Expect him to do it everyday until he does.

Want him to eat more foods? This one was more difficult and left up to daddy. But they sat together, in a loving and peaceful way, and worked every day on eating different foods. He talked quietly and calmly into Patrick's ear keeping him unruffled so to speak and kept helping him. Result? More eating....yay.

This sounds so simple when I type it out. And maybe all autism parents do this and we're just behind the ball. I really don't know. Basically instead of backing away from potentially embarassing or difficult situations (which we used to do a lot) we just jump right in. We intentionally seek out these scenarios and work on them together.

Don't get me wrong. Patrick still goes to speech therapy. He gets some OT in school. He's not being cured. He'll always be autistic and he'll always be Patrick. But somehow, with our life plan, we've gotten him to a point where meltdowns are fewer and school is working.

In dealing with these thoughts and ideas I've come to a very important conclusion. What another autism parent is doing is not necessarily a jump off point from which to start when you're new at this. I found myself copying a lot of other parents trying to do what was right for my son. What I found out? What's right for my son is something I had to learn through trial and error. I had to take HIM and work with HIM until we hit on an approach that would work for us.

The biggest lesson I've learned this year? Don't judge. Don't assume. And learn to think outside the cubicle.


Blogger mcewen said...

Absolutely - if only 'one' solution worked for every child, but it's just not like that. As I have two, I simplify things and try everything on both of them.
To be fair though, quite often, what is a miserable failure 'now,' can sometimes work [a bit] [with one of them perhaps] later. I try and remember that bit when we hit another 'crisis' and have tried 'everything' under the sun. A second attempt can sometimes bring surprising results.
Best wishes

Thu Jan 18, 02:32:00 PM 2007  
Blogger momontheverge said...

I really appreciated this post. Lately I've been reading autism blogs rather obsessively, and I think i'm looking for some magic bullet that I can use to help my twins. Right now I'm doing a little floortime, and little VBA, and lots of playing it by ear (we are officially still pre-diagnosis).

I'm glad to hear someone saying that they are basically living life with their child. Whenever I try to focus too hard on helping the twins every waking moment, I start feeling a bit nutty.
I realized this last week, so I just took them to the mall and had a normal (non-therapeutic, but maybe not normal to the average mom) morning.
It was great for all of us.

Have just discovered your blog, and I'm enjoying it.

Sat Jan 20, 12:39:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Rochelle Denisha said...

I, too, just discovered your blog and this post should be required reading for new parents to the "autism reality show." I feel guilty that I don't do any formal ABA with my autistic son, that we don't do "play therapy," or that we don't do what you're "supposed" to do with an autistic child. We just do our regular lives and it works for us. Some things I've resigned that we can't do--movies at a movie theater will *never* happen--but there are some we can--eating out a restaurants, going shopping. Like you said, see a hurdle, find lots more of them to jump.

Tue Feb 06, 12:06:00 PM 2007  
Blogger redheadmomma said...

I don't think your living life strategy is something we as ASD parents have generally discovered - far from it! When our kids are dx'd, we glom onto whatever they tell us to do, thinking "they" know best. Bullshit! What you found was a truly wonderful belief. I've taken my ASD kiddo to a bouncy house place with those loud whirring fans and tried a roller rink in the same week - both events I was sure we'd turn right around and go out. And you know what? He didn't. He put up with the noise and the chaos, and had a lot of fun. It's really hard to power through using the "life" method, but so rewarding. Thanks for writing it in such a concise way. :)

Wed Feb 28, 06:56:00 AM 2007  

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