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A Moment That Changed My Behavior

Today my 7 year old stayed home from school because he had a runny nose. Thanks to Covid-19, our school wants parents to keep their children home if they have a cough, fever, runny nose, naseau, chills, fatigue or loss of taste or smell. I believe the 7 year old is taking advantage of it since he has never cared about a runny nose before. Last week he had a glistening in 1 nostril, it was never really runny, but to be cautious he stayed home because he had a "runny nose".

Anyway, I was helping my son with his schoolwork for the day. We were working on his least favorite subject, writing. He hates the act of writing and being my child, storytelling is not his strength either. We were brainstorming the subject, a non-fiction story about Christmas, and I started asking questions to get us going. Of course it's not my story so I needed to help him figure out how to express himself.

I noticed as I asked questions he started fidgeting, rolling his neck and not making any eye contact with me. I looked at him for a moment and realized he was stimming. He needed to stimulate his body with movement to focus. I had never really seen him stim before. I asked him if he focused better with these movements and he said yes.

I was proud of myself for taking the time to talk to him instead of demanding he sit still and focus. As we worked, I saw him doing things he needed to do to be comfortable and complete the task.

I know as a parent there are expectations that we have of appropriate behavior, but that goes out the window when you have an autistic child. Our children need to be free to express themselves, especially those kids who don't know they are autistic or are undiagnosed. Thus, this a lesson for all of us with any children. We really need to take a moment to see our children and not the perceived bad behavior.

Let's try to remember that we all have our own unique needs to make it through stressful times. Allow your child to use their own coping skills so they can be their best self.

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