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Written by  Kodey Toney Monday, 15 May 2017 12:14
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Pervasive Parenting

 

I like to listen to podcasts when I’m on long drives around the state. One I recently started is called Autastic. This is one created by two comedians in California about their family members who are on the autism spectrum. One has a son on the spectrum, and one has an adult brother. They are trying to make light of autism, and sometimes that is necessary.


I’m only part of the way into the first one, so it’s too early for a review of whether I like it or not, but I will say that just their first explanation of why they do this, and their look into their loved ones echoes what I’ve said in the past, but it’s worth repeating.


They were talking about what each one wanted from their relative, and both said the same thing, though I think this explanation was the best.


“My dad always said that he wanted my brother to be a tax payer,” said one of the hosts. “I think that is the best way to say it.”


I agree, as did the other host about his son. What I always tell people is that the idea is to have your child lead the best life possible. For most that means to be contributing members of society. That means that they can have a job and do something every day.


Most people I’ve met with disabilities have just been happy to work. That’s a general statement, and I’m sure not 100 percent accurate, but for the most part it seems true.


I want my son to be able to hold a job when he gets old enough. That is why we are working with him now on social skills and etiquette in school and other public setting. When he gets older we will work on skills more related to work, but for now we have to start at the bottom and work up (this is also Temple Grandin’s philosophy).


This is the “you have to walk before you can run” idea of working with children on the spectrum.


I use the same ideas when talking to parents about communication skills. If you have a child that can say one word, let’s say drink, then when they want something to drink don’t just give it to them when they point at it. Make them actually say the word. After they get that down then make them add a word like, “Want drink.” If they get that then continue to add until you have a complete sentence.


No, I’m not crazy, and it can be difficult at times, and I always say pick your battles. If they are having a bad day you don’t want to force them to say things. However, if it’s a good day you may want to push them a little more. They have to be pushed beyond their comfort zone in order to continue to progress.


I hope this gives a little insight into the future of your child. And, as I said to a parent recently in an IEP meeting; the only limitations your child has are the ones that he/she and you as a parent puts on them. Don’t assume that your child can’t do anything, no matter who tells you.

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