Sunday, November 8, 2015

"Why is My Kid the ONLY Special Needs Kid Behaving Like This?"






(originally written & published on November 8, 2015)


I heard this kid screaming at Special Needs Swim yesterday.  I look over and see this little guy, maybe 3 years old screaming his head off in the very shallow end of the pool as the instructor is holding him and trying to get the majority of his body wet.  

And then I look up and see mom & dad standing on the lip of the pool and wondering what to do.  Of course they were worried about their kid.  But I knew there was more behind that look, more behind their concern.

 They were looking around sheepishly, concerned that maybe his screaming was
disturbing the other kids & parents.  (it wasn't).  I think they were also looking around to see if there was any other kid carrying on as much as their kid was.  (their wasn't).

And the whole scene brought me back to the young days with the king.  I recall taking a raging lunatic with me to swim, and him screaming & crying both before and after the swim lesson.  The difference with his majesty was that once I shoved him into the pool he had the time of his life.

Anyway, I saw those parents yesterday and I felt what they were going thru.  And knew what they were probably thinking...

"Why is my kid the only special needs kid here that is behaving like this?"

I wanted to go over and give them a hug and tell them it gets better.

Better in 3 different ways...

1) your kid will probably end up loving swimming.  it may just take longer for him to figure that out probably due to his sensory issues...

2) in a few years you won't care what other people think, and you probably won't have time or energy to compare your kid to other kids.

3) And if for some reason your kid doesn't like swim you'll learn early on exactly when to throw in the towel and quit and move on to something else.









With the king we stuck it out with swimming because he was a great swimmer and the actual time in the pool he had a blast.  He just went thru phases where he'd be raging before, and I'd look like a psycho literally throwing a screaming kid into the deep end.  And after when he'd be raging again and the shower & locker room scene probably looked like an assault to some outsider.  But the swim we loved.  And I continued to look around and compare my kid to others and think...

"Why is my kid the only special needs kid here that is behaving like this?"

But it became less and less.  And now he's a pro at it and I've heard several parents whisper, "i wish our kid could swim as good as that kid.  and look how much fun he's having..."

But to this day we try activities with the king, and I'll revert back and become those young parents again... and I gotta admit I hate that feeling.

We have tried special needs baseball several times now.  And the same thing happens every time.  Every kid has a neurotypical "buddy" and it seems like every other special needs kid is getting it, and getting something out of this baseball experience.  And my kid is the only kid wandering around in the outfield, or sitting on the pitcher's mound, wanting to rest or take a nap.  

And because of that he almost never had the same buddy two weeks in a row.  The buddy's wanted to have fun too... and none of them ever "got" my kid or saw his personality.  They just saw this zombie boy who was wandering around and hard to handle.  And very often the leaders would ask me or my wife to step in and help the buddy.  

And we'd be the only parents out there.  All the other parents were sitting on the bleachers cheering their kids on or chatting with the other parents.

And I'd be surveying the situation from 3rd base thinking... 









"Why is my kid the only special needs kid here that is behaving like this?"

And I hated feeling like that.  

And I know, I know some people will read this and think "it's always about you isn't it?  shouldn't it be more about your kid and what he needs?"

To those folks I'll say that if the king showed any small glimmer of enjoying the baseball, I'd have stuck it out.  But the king wasn't getting anything out of it.  

And if it was teaching him some amazing skill (like swim) or if it it was more therapeutic (like music therapy) we'd have stuck it out.  But it wasn't either of those things.  It was baseball.  It was supposed to be fun for both kids and parents.  And it wasn't for either.  So we threw in the towel.

I guess I'm writing all this to tell those younger special needs parents that I saw yesterday that it will get better... for the three reasons I mentioned above... the most important reason being that as an older wiser parent you'll know exactly the right time when to throw in the towel so that you don't feel that feeling or have that thought...

"Why is my kid the only special needs kid here that is behaving like this?"

That's it.  The end.



-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!




16 comments:

  1. Well said AD. It gets better because you just get used to it. Hopefully they'll meet some more autism families and realize we all have those moments too.

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  2. We don't have special needs sports where I live, so I put my son in regular T-Ball league. It was non-competitive and the group that ran it said they have lots of special needs kids that play. And there were, even a couple other boys with Autism. But my son would meltdown every game. We would get one inning out of him an the 2nd inning was him screaming his head off and running around the outfield with me chasing him like a lunatic trying to keep him from running away. It was the most tiring 12 weeks (practice weeks and games). But he wanted to go every week and we stuck it out. The parents and kids would cheer so loudly for him when ever he actually took his turn at bat. The first practice he screamed and hit me for a full hour. We stuck it out and he wants to play again next year. But man it was hard and embarrassing.

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  3. I get everything you say. Mine enjoys the water, but died not get the swimming deal. The instructor warned us. She said, "this child is never to be near water. He will down"..... it may sound bitchy, but it's the brutal reality. A reality that cannot be sugar coated. There are so many instances when we notice how different he is from the average child, but this is our reality and we deal with it. Sometimes good, sometimes awful, but we love him and that's all I have to say about that :-)

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  4. I get everything you say. Mine enjoys the water, but died not get the swimming deal. The instructor warned us. She said, "this child is never to be near water. He will down"..... it may sound bitchy, but it's the brutal reality. A reality that cannot be sugar coated. There are so many instances when we notice how different he is from the average child, but this is our reality and we deal with it. Sometimes good, sometimes awful, but we love him and that's all I have to say about that :-)

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  5. All those people who claim you make it all about yourself are delusional. Autism effects every aspect of our lives. How the hell can we talk about it if not from our perspective?

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  6. I know that feeling too, I can remember going to the little school graduation parties in pre k and kindergarten and thinking. WOW my son is the "specialist" special needs kid here. BUT he was the only 3 year old there who could open his own capri sun.... MUWAHAHA

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  7. My son turned one and was terrified of water. Around the time he was 5 he jumped into a kiddie pool, clothes, shoes, pull up and all and he's loved water since. He's 11 and we're still learning what he likes dislikes and when we need to "throw in the towel". Thanks Autism Daddy great read :)

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  8. I remember taking miranda to special needs swim when she was younger. She's High functioning, but with the severe anxiety that rules out trying anything new (short of a cupcake lol) She HATED swimming. It was super early in the morning for one, and she hated putting her face anywhere near water, and hated being "instructed" Our YMCA offers free swim on certain days for kids with special needs, so we let her do that instead, and free swim is MUCH better. she'll go to a normal open swim program now.. she also doesn't have the same desires to keep her face as dry as it had to be back in the day. My middle NT child could careless about how wet or dry his face is, and we did adaptive swim with him in the beginning because I was worried about how well he'd do, (he does have sensory issues and anxiety as well) but he proved that any amount of water is just fine, so he does normal swim lessons now) Levi.. Oh levi.. I'm considering putting him in adaptive swim later this next year (he's 4, low functioning, doesn't mind water but HATES not feeling the ground under him) and out program kinda hates ya if you bring your "under 5" year old it's like they think you're trying to get cheaper mommy and me swim classes, and trust me, I'd do anything to not have to get into a bathing suit and get into that water with him, but alas, that's how it is. lol I'm hoping I can get him a bit more used to pools before we're "that family" with the kid thats clawing at me like I'm trying to drown him. lol Maybe the open swim in the place to go first. :)

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  9. The more of you I read, the more I think The King and my Nolan are long lost brothers. You totally hit the nail on the head with this one.

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  10. The more of you I read, the more I think The King and my Nolan are long lost brothers. You totally hit the nail on the head with this one.

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  11. There's no Special needs swimming where we live in London, so our son is in a regular class, but makes very hard work of it. The teacher, however, is wonderful with him and he doesn't seem to notice that the other kids are 2 years younger than him. We persist because it's the one life skill we want him to have.
    As for the embarrassed parent thing? Oh yeah, been there. These days, nearly 4 years on from diagnosis, I'm better at telling people he has autism, although I still find it uncomfortable.

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  12. Mine was so far behind physically for so so long I wondered if he'd ever really swim or ride a bike!! Being at Boys and Girls club when not at school he eventually was able to get to the point if being a fairly strong (although odd) swimmer. He couldn't ride a bike until he was eight and the whole neighborhood was scared to death for him as he sat in that stiff, odd position and rode around and around our block . . Took Years before he loosened up and ride it 'normal' . . At 14 years his aspergers symptoms are not easy to see unless you spend time with him, yet there are still issues and a lot of encouragement needed to become whomever he will be . . .

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  13. Wow! I just started writing a post about feeling this way. It's my son always screaming and melting down at special need events. Thanks!!

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  14. I know exactly what you are talking about with buddy baseball - same thing happened with us - I ended up being the buddy and he screamed and tried to wander off - it wasn't good for us so we quit! He also is usually the only one acting up at every occasion. He can swim though!

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  15. You should have went over to the parents and said something. Maybe its just a mom thing. But I love it when parents come up to me and say. "that was my kid at that age. Actually he was worse and now look at him. This is what worked for us (or if you would like to talk about what worked for us here is my # give me a call)" My son is that child at basketball, baseball, soccer, too. he never has a buddy because he doesn't participate. or if he does it takes bribes like cheese doodles to make him "kick the ball" So it's my husband, my 11 yr old and myself as his "buddies" I hate it. I hate that every other kid seems to get it and that the parents stand around talking to each other while we are off to the side BEGGIN for our son to just not throw sand in his hair or lift up the bases to see what's underneath and "how it works"
    Thank you for posting this. As I needed to see that maybe my son isn't the only one!!

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  16. As usual, right on the money AD. Just this morning we were lamenting about our guy kicking holes in the school wall! Is he the only kid that's ever done that, probably not, but damn, why does it always have to be so hard for him? LIFE IS HARD FOR ASHLEY! Ready for it to get better, but in retrospect, he has come a long way.

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