I agree that you have to keep parenting the child. I don't agree that I cannot allow him to act inappropriately in public. Not if acting appropriately means emulating what would be expected from a typically developing child.
When I introduce my children, I do not introduce them as Autistic children.
My children are individuals who happen to be autistic. I am lucky, they do not
misbehave in public..they learned very early that they would be removed from
situations if they could not behave appropriately in public.
Even Caitlin and Kiernan know this.
Just because you have an Autistic child does not give them free reign to disturb others in a public situation. If that was the case, we could allow any person to disrupt any situation.
If you want your Autistic children to be taken seriously, you must take your Autistic child seriously.
How can we prepare our Autistic children for their future and being accepted by society if we allow them, as children, to act inappropriately in public?
Just because your child was given the diagnosis of Autism does not mean you have to stop parenting your child....
My son often behaves in ways that would be described as 'bad'. I don't doubt that his behaviour disturbs other people too. For example, last week I took the children to the zoo and met with several other home-educating families. Duncan wanted to sit in his Major buggy (large pushchair thing) which is good because it gives him somewhere to go and hide under a coat when he wants some peace.
We passed the playground and most of the children went on the equipment. Duncan sat in his buggy for about 10 minutes watching them, though I asked him a few times if he wanted to play. Suddenly he jumped out and climbed the steps of the popular and crowded climbing frame/slide. He screeched happily as he went. When he came down the slide, he didn't want to get off. He wanted to climb up the slide. I told him that children were coming down, climb up the steps. He refused and started to cry hard. I had to hold him to stop him from climbing up while the others were coming down. I tried to comfort him, telling him we'd see the animals. He just got into a major state. It was unexpected. He screamed and thrashed. He hit at me, though as always he held back from actually hurting me. It would have looked bad though. I sat on the ground beside him for about 15 minutes while he got settled again. The place was packed with school groups and loads of little kids were staring at us. The teachers were staring too, but more discreetly.
See, he kicks off some times. He tantrums or makes noise or flails his arms around. It looks bad. Gordon gets really upset when this happens in public, but I don't. I'm getting better at helping him, he's getting better at calming down. People can stare and tut and whatever all they like. I don't have the same expectation of him as I do of his non-autistic siblings. I would be horrified if either of them had a outburst like he does sometimes.
This is part of his autism. It's part of his developmental disability. If he were unable to walk, I wouldn't expect him to run. If he were blind, I wouldn't expect him to see. He's still learning the skills to regulate his behaviour. He gets overwhelmed. He can't explain what it is that is upsetting him, or what it is he wants. It feels to him that his world is falling apart.
While he was upset last week, I was trying some of the stuff that I've said before to help him. I empathised with his mood, told him that I knew he was angry. I told him I would help him. I tried to playfully ask him to 'take the grump out and throw it away' (it helps sometimes!) but he wanted to be angry. What eventually helped was my telling him that he is angry today, he will be happy tomorrow. He often refers to any time in the future as 'tomorrow'. That seemed to make him realise that this feeling would go away.
I seriously considered dragging all the children back to the car and home. Is that what is meant by removing them from the situation?
But that would have been unnecessary and Duncan wouldn't have learned anything from it. I have cut events short before, but it wasn't warranted then.
Afterwards, the day was lovely and we all had a fantastic time.
I find it hard to parent Duncan at times, harder than with his siblings. It's not impossible though. It just doesn't come so easily to me. I'm definitely on a learning journey. We both are.