Pookie and I went through a rough patch for a few weeks ending about a month ago. He was constantly crabby. I was constantly crabby. He was yelling. I was yelling. No fun.
BAGM and I talked through some things that we were going to do to try to improve his behaviour (some of this was back during his pushing his sister phase). All of which were decent ideas but didn’t really seem to be all of the story.
Then I watched Super Nanny one night. It was a rerun that I had seen about a year ago. The family had a son about 3 years old with autism. The family ended up giving the kid a lot of space to be on his own and things were going terribly. Super Nanny had the parents start playing with the kid more and involving him in little things more often and like magic everything got much better.
Pookie is a kid that seems to like to play alone. He rarely seems bored or confused on what to do next and I can let a lot of time pass without playing with him as much as I should especially with the demands for attention that Geetle and Giggles have.
Pookie and I had been going through a patch like that. So I started engaging him more. Little things like when he was playing with the play food, I would hold the grocery bag so it was easier for him to load. And when he was working on puzzles, I would sit next to him and try to help. And when he was holding a book that makes him laugh when he says the funny parts, but he only ends up saying the funny parts, I would sit with him and read the entire book and really exaggerate those funny parts.
Things have been much better between us since then.
So two important things to remember about parenting a kid with autism:
1) Playing with Pookie is as easy as just sitting in the area and helping him but avoid forcing your own rules into the game. I sometimes get away with it but if he resists, I drop it and go back to his way. I’m working on socialness when we play, not rule following. Also, big things like trips to places, etc. are great but little things can happen all the time and are really the foundation for our relationship.
2) No matter how bad things have been, you can always change the relationship. Don’t wait for tomorrow, next Monday, the beginning of the month or New Year’s. Just go do it right now.