Things not to say to a child with-autism

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Wow. Thanks Terry. I am going to print out several copies, and put one of them on the fridge at home and randomly hand the others out.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    To be honest, apart from a few of them, I would have thought it would be better not to say these things to ANY child :)
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that many of those things shouldn't be said to any child, although nobody's always perfect :/
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Speak for yourself, MWM :) :)
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Sigh... Well, yes, I can see not saying these to any child - I'm with Terry on the ones I disagree with, though. (Look me in the eye - teaches them to make eye contact - many kids are terrible at this, autistic kids have real issues with it - and it's necessary!)
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It really does depend on the child, and often on the situation. There have been times when it would not work to try to insist on eye contact from the boys, especially difficult child 1. However, despite his diagnosis of autism, difficult child 3 is actually quite good at eye contact.

    As for sarcasm - we are trying to teach difficult child 3 how to use it appropriately. We do not use it as a matter of course unless we are making it clear we are joking. But he has to learn how to recognise it because he has to live in this world and there are people who don't know any better. His grandma teases him all the time and then if he gets upset, she says, "I was only joking," which is not appropriate but you can't change some people. So the kids have had to learn to work within Grandma's framework.

    We had an issue last night - husband was talking to Grandma about something important that relates to her needs. difficult child 3 walked in halfway through and said, "What's this about?" which totally derailed husband's train of thought. He raised his voice to difficult child 3 and difficult child 3 responded in kind, the whole situation rapidly escalating. Grandma then spoke up and tried to add her wisdom of the ages, while I tried to also step in and bring things back to an even keel, without anybody losing face to begin with. Meanwhile Grandma was getting upset with me for "giving in" and not insisting difficult child 3 come back and apologise. We handled it soon afterwards when we went home and explained several things -

    1) difficult child 3 should not have interrupted.

    2) husband should not have raised his voice - he was not yelling although he was loud and the tone of voice was harsh (I would have reacted badly if it had been aimed at me). However, husband did not get to finish telling Grandma what he needed to, because of the interruption and the subsequent drama.

    3) No matter how much in the right he feels himself to be, difficult child 3 MUST learn a gentler way to respond. "Dad pushes my buttons" is no longer a valid excuse because there will always be people who push buttons. Always focus on what YOU want out of a situation and then decide the best way to get what you want from someone else. Shouting at someone else is less likely to get you what you want, even if you feel they deserve to be shouted at.

    And finally -

    4) Do not show disrespect to anybody else in front of Grandma. And Grandma is always right, even when she is wrong.

    We will not always be there to help him through, to 'translate' a social situation into terms he understands. In fact, there are more distant family members who seem to feel it's their duty to correct difficult child 3 the way they feel we should (if we were not so indulgent!) and who wait until we're out of the room to try their own brand of correction on him. And when it backfires, they then lecture us on how our approach has made him disrespectful because he got angry with them when they were "only trying to help!"

    Such people would never accept those rules - if a rule clashes with what these people "KNOW" to be right, they just ignore the academic stuff and blunder on, regardless. And blame us when they mess up.


    Thanks for the link, I found it validating.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    3) No matter how much in the right he feels himself to be, difficult child 3 MUST learn a gentler way to respond. "Dad pushes my buttons" is no longer a valid excuse because there will always be people who push buttons. Always focus on what YOU want out of a situation and then decide the best way to get what you want from someone else. Shouting at someone else is less likely to get you what you want, even if you feel they deserve to be shouted at.

    This is sooooo typical ...
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Eye contact (and our insistence on it) is not echoed in all cultures. There are many where you are expected to look down when speaking to elders, superiors, employers, etc. To meet their eyes is considered defiance, disrespect, etc.
    For autistic kids with this issue, many find that looking at a point between the person's eyebrows is easier on them and not noticed by the person they're talking to, which can make a reasonable compromise for both.
  10. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    i find making difficult child look in your eyes works great to get his attention, unfortunately it also turns off his brain, so he stands there, staring blankly and everything you say goes in one ear and out the other. i HATE when the teacher makes him look her in the eyes too. i wish she would stop that. his response is always going to be the same babbling noise and him getting annoyed at her. i am very guilty of the 'how many times do i have to tell you' one. i can only answer the same demanding question so many times before that comes out
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When I was a kid and being trained in public speaking, kids with stage fright were taught to focus their eyes on the wall above the heads at the back of the room. If possible we had to move our eyes around the room but if we could not make eye contact for fear of entirely losing it, our teacher said to keep looking at the back wall in different places, the side walls,the windows and then back to the centre of the back wall. For the audience, they feel all this as eye contact even if you're not actually meeting anyone's eye.

    There are ways to make eye contact without making eye contact, if you see what I mean. On an individual basis, keeping the glances at someone's face short but frequent, is a way of increasing eye contact but in manageable amounts. It also can begin to desensitise someone who otherwise has difficulty.

    I'm not good at eye contact. I have to work at it. I tend to flick my glance around a room (if I'm up front speaking to a group) and I still spend a lot of time looking past the back row to the wall...

  12. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    You're right Terry it is so typical and I'M the dad who pushes his buttons.

    Better he learn how to avoid LETTING his buttons get pushed with me (who understands, even if I do mess up - regularly) than with some gorilla/bouncer who will pound him into the pavement for getting mouthy - however justifiably.

    He'll be 18 in about 9 weeks - a responsible adult but responsible for what?

    Marg and I are running out of time...

    Marg's Man
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    That's for sure! Best of luck.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son has learned to make uncomfortable eye contact when necessary. He can not look you steadily in the eye. When I asked why he said, "Eyes are icky. They make me feel sick."

    Hao, although in some cultures you are supposed to look down, we are not a part of that culture.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am not sure I totally agree with the list. I do agree with Terry on the ones she disagrees with. I totally disagree that "focus" should be avoided. If it is a pejorative then it should be, but telling a child to focus can be a GOOD thing. We used it as a key word to remind Wiz, thank you and even Jess and husband and I to stop and pay attention to something when it was needed.

    A LOT depends on the framework that a child uses to understand the word/phrase. If something was super important, I would get to Wiz' level (or any of my kids' ) and GENTLY make them look at my face. Did not matter where we were, it let them know that I was serious, that what I had to say was important, and it helped them remember what I said. I did not yell, or say anything ugly, I just told them to look at me and pay attention. the nonverbal cues of putting a hand on each side of their face, being close but on their level (well, a bit below once they were 4-5 because if I knelt they were taller than I was!) let them really understand what I wanted. It was not ever used to punish or scold, but to give important directions (like we will be here, if you get separated from me, find an adult in this type of outfit or nametag and have them call me on the loudspeaker type directions)

    I can't count how many times I have said "you need to focus on what you are doing", or how often my mom said it. From learning to eat, to dress themselves, to Wiz learning to drive and J and T learning to follow a recipe, that is NOT a dirty word or a phrase that says you are a bad person unless the adults make it mean that.