Editor’s note: Keep in mind that many socially accepted expectations are ridiculous and need to be challenged. We recognize that and actively work toward making change.
I went with a mom to Disneyland. Her son was entering puberty and VERY inclined to outbursts and meltdowns.
I used matter of fact energy and “carefuller arms” (his term for when I would put my arm out to barricade him from hurting someone) while explaining that to continue forward on the tree house he must show love and concern for others.
He was doing GREAT when his mother showed up with a front of the line pass for special needs people. I explained that this action would solve today’s issues but reinforce the meltdowns in the future.
In other words, he was learning that being a problem solved the problem.
This is the type of thing that causes a division between the parent and the expert. When he is with me he is well behaved. When he goes places with his family he requires accommodations.
We all love him. But he is learning to be fragmented into two different people.
I have seen this with my own children as well. Only in reverse.
With my own children I was the parent insisting they learn and the experts were the ones accommodating or talking down to them while asking for meaningless compliance.
Three of my four multiply handicapped adopted boys graduated from autism and became successfully independent, one is still climbing up the spectrum.
They were less benefited by accommodations than explanations, expectations, no justifications and lots and lots of practice time.
Oh, and one more VERY important ingredient. I only asked them to learn what they needed to know for their particular journey.
Love, by the way, is a given.