Monday, January 16, 2012

Bad Behavior or Disability

The end of semester was finally here!! To celebrate our success we all piled into the Skiffmobile and went to the Natitorium ( a neighboring towns indoor swim and gym facility). For nearly three hours my boys flew down water slides, lounged on the lazy river, had water battles at the water fort and swam in the lap pool. What a gloriously fun and exhausting afternoon. By the time we came home all my boys were wore out. After doing some last minute school revisions the boys and I piled back into the Skiffmobile to go to that glorious place of the golden arches.....well glorious for the kids at least. After this last bit of celebration the boys were headed to bed and I was going to relax with the hubs watching some brainless TV. Ahh, the glorious laziness of it all. But alas the best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew as Robert Burns once penned.
Driving down the road, kids mouths munching happily away, my mouth gabbing even more happily away with my dearest friend I get the first text message, which I promptly one interrupts the precious few adult conversations I get. The phone then beeps with an incoming call, which again I ignore. The phone beeps again and with the sure dread of one who looks into their plans blowing up in their face I answer the call. It's my wonderful hubby, he has a flat and has left his spare tire in the garage (don't ask. I don't anymore;) . So back home I swing to grab a tire and hit the road again with tired, no longer happily eating boys.. to be truthful those happy mouths had started becoming quite whiny, especially the youngest of them all, Benny.
Here I must break to describe my wonderful youngest son for those of you who have not had the pleasure of making his acquaintance. Benny is as cute as a button, as sharp as a whip, as popular as a cheerleader, with a voice as shrill as a fire alarm. The more worked up Benny gets the higher and more piercingly shrill his voice becomes. It is now a well established saying in our small town to tell small whiny children "not to use their Benny voice" and it works. The said children immediately change their voice tone. This gives you a small glimpse into our Benny Bird. Now I have to be clear here. Benny really can't control this as he is getting worked up, when he's not worked up we are always telling him to use his "big boy voice".
Back to the story. So after 20 minutes or so I pull up to my husband who not only had a flat but had it on a toll road, which means there is only a very small shoulder and the traffic is rushing by us at around 80 miles an hour, shaking the van with their speed, the noise a consistent roar (this is maxing out an already over tired, stressed-out van full of spectrum kids, which are working each other up even more, which works them up even more......well you get the picture). So hubby grabs the spare from me only to remember why he had put it in the garage in the first place, it too is flat. To make this already too long story somewhat less long the end result is we were on the side of the road nearly an hour getting it all straightened out. My lovely, rare Benny Bird screamed nearly the entire time. By the time we got home I was ready to scream, which I couldn't do because any emotion from me at this point would only be adding gasoline to the fire.
After every one was sorted out I posted a funny update to my Facebook account. For the sake of accuracy I quote "Dear US government forget waterboarding. Just stick the terrorist in a van with Benny screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour. I swear after 15 minutes you will have any information you want, by thirty minutes they will be begging for merciful death, after an hour they will face a higher powers judgement." To be fair, I did not give the back story only this quick blurb. Those who know me best know that I take life with a huge dose of humor. It keeps me sane on days like the one I just recounted. Some people got it and laughed with me, others offered sincere questions and advice, and others responded with the generic, often heard "If that was my kids I'd just beat his a**" Now I'm used to this kind of judgement, it is the judgement that special needs parents face all the time. I don't even get all that worked up over it anymore. However this is my blog and thus it is my prerogative to address it here. I understand that many people view this as simply bad behavior that is being indulged. I also understand that children need discipline to grow into mature, responsible members of society. Anyone who is actually a part of our lives and sees the way we raise our kids will tell you that we do indeed discipline our children. They do not run around the world unsupervised, spoiled brat, heathens. However, when my son is in the middle of an autistic meltdown I will not just beat his a** however much those around me may wish it. I will give him the space and the the tools that he needs to deescalate. Having older children on the spectrum, I can tell you they will eventually learn to self moderate to a large extent. This takes time and patience, just like everything else with all children. However sometimes with spectrum children it takes a little more time and a little more patience.
Thanks for reading friends. I pray that you all have a fantastic week
Until next time, lots of love-Kristine


Marie said...

thanks, Kristine.
i do not have any autistic children.
my dear friend just had an official diagnosis with her young child. i can testify that what might "work" for most kids many times only makes it worse for a child with autism.
i do not and cannot fully understand what her (or your) days are like, but i know that i can do my best to encourage her and you too:)
i know that you know this. however, sometimes it helps to hear it (read it) again.

too many undiagnosed children with special needs are abused by frustrated parents at their wits end. not that the parent is trying to abuse them, they are litterally frayed to the breaking point because they don't understand what in the world is going on in the child's head. looks like bad behavior, right? easy one, punish them. not so with a precious child who is hardwired differently. there is definitely a REASON that you were trusted with 5 precious spectrum children to nurture...i cannot even fathom the extreme perseverence you have developed in caring for your family so thoroughly and diligently. the passion with which you are able to love them so unconditionally. the level of calm and patience that you exercise for their benefit. it surely is exhausting and draining work.

i think you must be doing things bible says "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."(james 1:19-20) sounds like you and He are on the same page:)

i know the critics don't surprise you, but just know that there are some who "see your works and then praise your Father in heaven". you must be shining pretty bright for me to see that light all the way from Texas, girl!

Kristine Meier-Skiff said...

Marie I couldn't have said it better fact I didn't. It is a different world and unless someone has been exposed to children with special needs they really do not understand. Not jumping to rush judgements is a lesson I have learned in spades along this road. Thank you for the incredible compliment. Love you lots-Kristine

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