Think of a situation when you’ve been out in public or at a social event and your child suddenly started to become overwhelmed, overstimulated and started to become angry, have a meltdown or get aggressive with other kids.
You know that they’ve reached their window of tolerance in regards to being out and about and you start to pack up and go home.
You may start to stew, “why am I letting this child dictate when we’re going to leave. He/she is going to think they are ruling the roost and will walk all over me.”
Or perhaps someone else who may be ignorant or naive to the challenges of autism says something like, “why do you cave to your child and let them rule you and what you do.”
Here’s another perspective...
In a separate situation, let’s say you had a child that had just had surgery or had an accident they were physically healing from and you were out at an event.
They were going really well for a period of time and then they started to hurt from the injury or surgery, started to get really tired and voiced to you that they needed to go home and rest because they needed to restore their energy.
Would you feel they too were ‘dictating’ to you or demanding something unreasonably?
The truth is, your child who is overwhelmed and overstimulated is also communicating to you that they need to retreat, rest and ‘heal’ from what may feel like a mental injury to them because they’ve held their anxiety together for long enough or because their senses are literally hurting them and exhausting them.
Both scenarios are equally valid, don’t you think?
As usual, how you feel about it though comes down to your perception of your child’s behaviour.
Your child needs you to really ‘get’ what’s going on for them and not assume that they’re trying to make your life miserable or that they are acting like a spoilt brat.
Rarely is that actually the case.
Food for thought...
If you'd like some more information on anxiety in autism (or children in general), why not watch our free webinar. It covers topics on helping with the parent/carer's mental health, understanding a child's emotions, helping other children and relationships in the family.