Thursday, August 29, 2013

Autism Answer: School Day Tantrums vs Consistent Confidence

Got tantrums or meltdowns before school? Two things helped when I went through this with my son. 

One: I had to discover my own why. By that I mean I had to figure out why I wanted him to go to school. I know that sounds silly but I really wasn't confident that it was the right thing for him. He could feel my uncertain energy (kids are pretty in tune with the energy around them, especially autistic kids!) and he took advantage. Social skills were hard for him, but he had found a way to be 'on' all the time and become Mr.Popularity... it was exhausting for him! So when he would feel my uncertain energy, he would feel uncertain, and he would have fits. 

Two: I let him have a little control. What I did was talk to him about the exhaustion and remind him that it was okay to let the Mr. Popularity thing slide. Then I gave him five hooky days for the school year and let him choose when to use them. These were days where he could say he wanted to stay home and I wouldn't ask why or argue. I would just allow. Our kids have so little control in their lives. I felt it was important to give him the feeling that he was going to school because it was his choice to go that day.

It worked pretty well! He asked for more than five of course, but I stuck to my guns! Once I had also discovered my own reasons for wanting him to go to school (like social skill practice) then my own uncertainty wasn't getting in our way either.

We both started waking up school day mornings with consistent confidence!

I know these tips are not going to be useful for all families in all situations, but the underlying theme is. Think outside the box! Be willing to look at the why of our expectations. Often we are doing things because we think we're supposed to. But if we discover our own personal why, we can be more consistent, confident and patient.

Hugs, smiles and love!!!!
Autism Answers