Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rocking the Autism Boat

I've been pushing him outside of his comfort zone a lot lately. Why you may ask?

1) I'm not going to live forever. Trust me I looked into it. They still haven't figured out how to manage that. (Thanks Obama!) 

2) As much as I will advocate for autistic people for their sensory needs and challenges,I do realize that not all accommodations will be appropriate for him. So I have to get him ready.

In a nutshell, he has to get over himself.

I know that sounds harsh.  However, that's the way this world works. Plus, there's no perfect time to start teaching the skills of how to cope then the present. Yeah, his behavior has been getting a little dicey. What with puberty rearing its ugly head. Yet here we are and life is moving on. It won't stop just because I'd like it too.

 By his next birthday he will be 11. That's the age of the students that I worked with were when I was teaching pre-vocational skills and job coaching. I'm thinking about the future. He's not going to go to college. I know this now. Depending on the day I don't know if I necessarily okay with that but I know that's what it is. I would like him to have a job. Hopefully one that he enjoys. I won't be there to help him with it other than to drive him to and from it. (Yep, driving isn't going to happen either.  I"m working on making my peace with that too.) This is why I have to help him now. I know by experience this process will take a long time and a lot of work.  

So I'm dragging him into situations I normally would've avoided like the plague.  A crowded grocery store on a weekend morning before a snowstorm. Going to a restaurant at a peak time as opposed to the in between hours. Changing up our routine because life happens. Two weeks ago my father was in the hospital.  Daddy Fry had to take over what I usually do because I was there and he was here.  Illness happens.  Emergencies happen.  Cars break down.  Stores you love close.  Some flexibility has to occur.  Trust me, I was a little off my routine as well by it all.  Still, it's a teachable moment.  

We could have all we want for accommodations, autism awareness, inclusion, compassion,sensitivity and empathy. Even still at the end of the day there will be moments where there is nothing we can do about a changed situation or routine. 

Let's call this a theory of the mind workout for my kiddo and his rigid thinking.  I can't expect empathy for him without teaching the concept to my kiddo.  He may not get it completely, if at all.  I'm still willing to try because I have seen him expanding his mind a bit.  He's very obsessed with feelings.  I'm grabbing that fixation and running with it.  

This could be a fabulous idea or the worst one I ever had.  Won't know till I try.  If my next post comes from me typing under my blanket fort in the laundry room sucking down a bottle of Merlot like it's my job, that will tell you how it went.  ;-) 


  1. Thanks for sharing this and for being so honest and candid. In the back of my mind I have KNOWN I have to get my son out of his comfort zone (which is my comfort zone too). Gosh how I dread it though. It seems like I put forth all this effort to follow the routines and keep him happy and this goes against that. But you are right. The world is not going to adapt for them. They are going to have to learn to have some least a little. My son is 3, so I consider u a veteran at this. So thanks for sharing your story. I may be knee deep in a bottle of Merlot too, but I am going to start breaking our routines some. Lord help us all....(or at least those that reside in our city limits!) - sbh/Alabama

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy. I think it is so important to push the envelop sometimes, redefine the boundaries, so that they can have the opportunity to explore more and learn to love more. You go, Momma!

  3. Very good post. However I sit on the fence. My daughter is an adult of 22 with not only autism but bipolar syndrome. We've tried to nudge her outside of that comfort zone to have it come back to haunt us. Some times it just doesn't pay.

  4. I have been gently nudging my boy outside of his comfort zone for a few years and it's working. We are taking it one step at a time and my mantra is 'edge plus one'. Good luck.

  5. I keep telling my 14 yr old daughter - 'its not all black and white... there is gray! embrace the gray!!'.