Autistic behavior can be troubling and even burdensome for children with autism as well as their parents. Awareness is absolutely essential to learning to cope with these challenges.
The first thing I want to tell everyone reading this who does not have autism is this: many autistic behaviors are just as hard if not harder for people with autism to deal with than it is for their parents and caretakers.
To be sure, parents often have a hard time for obvious reasons. Many of our kids need constant supervision because they are a danger to themselves. And even those who don’t need to be watched 24-7 may still have behaviors that parents must live and cope with.
As a parent I understand this all too well.
But as hard as autistic behavior is for parents to live with, it can be even more challenging for the children themselves.
This is so important for parents, teachers, and anyone else who interacts with children or adults with autism to understand.
I have the helpful advantage of knowing a person with mild autism very well. He’s able to tell me in exact detail what he as well as my autistic son deal with every day.
Now I will pass on that wonderful advantage to you. Because a lot of what I will share with you in the behavior portion of this site comes from the perspective of one who has autism and who struggles daily with the difficult challenges that his autism causes.
To be sure, some children are a danger to themselves. It’s difficult to know why some kids lack a sense of danger, or why they do the things they do.
On the other hand, some behaviors may not be a result of a lack of sense of danger. Some behavior problems are rooted in obsessive compulsive disorder, an especially troubling condition for both parents and children.
But whatever behavior disorders may be causing these problems, we must take steps to ensure their safety.
For example, if you know your child might run out of the house, you pretty much need to keep her locked in the house at all times, just for her own safety. (Of course, making sure a responsible adult is always with her in the house.)
You can take some very simple precautions to keep him safe when home, such as installing double cylinder deadbolts on all doors that lead to the outside of the house.
Now, I don’t mean you should never bring him out of the house. You can bring your child out of the house as long as you take all precautions necessary to keep him safe.
And when you do take your child outside the house, make sure your car is locked from the inside so your child can’t open the door while the car is moving. Virtually all cars manufactured these days have safety locks that can’t be unlocked from the inside of the car.
You also might consider attaching your child to you somehow if you think she might bolt from you when you are out of the house.
Inside the house, if your child is tempted by electrical outlets (even some older kids with OCD are tempted by these), consider installing outlet covers.
Some outlet covers are easy enough for adults to remove, but if you need more protection for a child who can remove those, there are types of covers that even I have a hard time removing. More on that in a soon to follow article.
If you can think of another great way to keep our kids safe from their own behaviors, we’d love to hear from you. Just add your comments below.
Next, I’ll give a short summary of other articles about autistic behavior with links to each one.
In the first two articles I discuss the many and varied causes of behavior problems in children with autism. I can’t overstate the importance of knowing why your child behaves as she does. It can make the difference between dealing with the problem successfully and making matters worse.
So before you read any of the other articles about behavior (most will be coming soon), I highly recommend that you read the first two articles outlining reasons for behavior challenges in children with autism (coming very soon).
If your child has an obsessive fixation on one thing, it can sometimes interfere with daily life and with other family activities.
And yet, your child's hyperfocus might one day turn in to an amazing talent or a profitable career.
Just how much, if any, should we limit our children's obsessive interests? Click here to read about hyper fixations and when and how much we should intervene.
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