10 Things I’ll Never Try To Teach My Son w/ Autism
September 23, 2014
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Now Reading: 10 Things I’ll Never Try To Teach My Son w/ Autism
September 23, 2014
(originally written & published on September 23, 2014)
This is meant to be a funny post. So if you were looking for profound things like “I’ll never teach my autistic son to lie” or something noble like that then maybe isn’t the post for you. Although if I can’t think of enough I may just throw in one of those profound ones just to round it up to ten since that’s what I promised.
But for the most part these are a bunch of things that my 11 year old severely autistic, non verbal son doesn’t do now.
And if he hasn’t grasped by age 11 maybe that is a blessing in disguise…
So here goes…
I Will Never Try To Teach My Autistic Son …
1) How to Unlock Doors
My son doesn’t currently have the fine motor skills to unlock a door and he’s never shown any interest anyway. Yes he is working of fine motor skills all the time. But unlocking doors? Why should I teach him that? Way too many autistic kids are bolters & run away at the first chance they get. And many are Houdini’s who can break out even with multiple locks in play. Now my kid is not a bolter…yet. So why introduce the idea of unlocking doors to him… yet… I know what you’re thinking. What if there’s an emergency. Well we are always with him. We’ll unlock the door.
2) How to Get Into Our Basement
Because he can’t unlock doors my son has never once set foot in our basement. And that’s a good thing because it’s not really a basement it’s more like a cellar with way too many dangerous things down there. Yes our washer & dryer are down there and it would be nice to teach him to help with that someday. Maybe that someday will be when I find the money to turn it into a sensory gym for him (or a man cave for me)… But for right now there’s a magic door across from the downstairs bathroom that he’s never been behind.
3) That His Mom & Dad Aren’t Cool
At the age of 11 is when most kids start rolling their eyes at their nerdy parents, right?. But I think he still thinks his mom & dad are cool. And I think we are still cool because he is somehow keeping us young. I’ve said before & I’ll say again that for better or worse we’ve been kinda living like the movie “Groundhog Day” and raising a toddler for 9 years now. And when he was actually a toddler we were in our early thirties and we were cool. And that is where we are gonna stay. If he is gonna stay a toddler then we are gonna stay in our early 30s. And we’re gonna eat dinner on the couch in front of the tv, and go out as often as possible, and try to live life to the fullest!
4) How to Cut With a Knife
Yeah we’re working on fine motor skills and we’re working on using a fork appropriately but he hasn’t come close to graduating to a knife yet… And I’m not rushing it. 🙂 He can do enough damage with a fork. During his aggressive days, his summer of rage in 2011 he did this to me with a fork.
He’s currently not very aggressive but we know that it could return at any time so why give him a sharper weapon? LOL 🙂
5) What Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny Are
Ok, so he may be too old for it now anyway. But he never really got it. And in the early days that made wifey and me sad. But if he never really got it, what are you gonna do? If he never really got it, then that probably means he’s never gonna care about materialistic things. And I’ve written before that he’s still thrilled to get the same 5-10 toddler books over and over and over. And he can take joy in playing with a toy in the packaging for months… and then when the toy is out of the packaging he is thrilled and treats it as if it’s a new toy! 🙂
6) How to Make the Volume Louder on the iPad
Ok so maybe I’m kinda kidding about this one. We are THRILLED that even with his limited fine motor skills he has had success navigating the iPad and opening up apps that he wants and choosing videos he wants, but he currently doesn’t know how (or doesn’t care how?) to make the iPad volume higher (or lower, but that never really comes into play now does it). I’ve showed him quite a few times, but for now he’s content to hand it to me and mand for me to make it louder. And if I say no for whatever reason he’s somewhat ok with it. So for now I’m gonna leave it be.
7) How to Work the TV Remote
As with the iPad, the same is true for the tv remote. The buttons on these remotes are smaller & smaller and he doesn’t have the fine motor to navigate it properly nor has he shown any interest.
In fact I think only recently has he made the connection that the remote controls the tv. So every once in a while when the tv is off or when we are watching one of our shows he will hand one of us the remote which is a huge step for him and something we are proud of. But his shows are almost always on, so I’m not sure I want him that adept at working the remote control anyway, especially when the Yankees are on…
8) What Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel Are
We are a simple family. We are a Sesame Street, Dora, Jake’s Big Music Show, Laurie Berkner family. We’ve had a DVR from before he was born. We DVR all of his shows. So he doesn’t know any of that other Nickelodeon or Disney Channel crap. And for that I am glad. I know way too many typical kids his age who are addicted to the Disney tween programming. I will not let that happen to my son! If he ever moves away from toddler programming I will graduate him directly to adult programming, starting with the classics like Seinfeld & 30 Rock! 🙂
9) That He Can Easily Climb Over These Baby Gates
We still have a safety gate / baby gate at the top & bottom of our stair case and we have one on the door frame going into our home office. And no, the king doesn’t yet have the fine motor skill to open either of these gates… but he is now way tall enough that he could easily climb over them. He’s climbed over the home office gate a few times if he saw a toy or something he really wanted, but thankfully never the staircase gates. He some how still respects the gates and I don’t see any reason ever to clue him in to the fact that he’s tall enough to climb over. The day he figures that out I will be extremely proud & extremely scared… 🙂
10) How To Lie
You knew I had to add this one didn’t you… 🙂
THIS ONE GOES TO 11!
Soon after this blog post came out, wifey helped me think of an 11th thing!
11) How To Dive Into the Pool
Many of you know that the king is a great swimmer. Or better yet, a great treader. He can tread water for hours. Anyway, a couple of years ago one of his swim instructors tried to teach him to dive into the pool, but it wasn’t going very well and they put it aside for awhile… But now we are at a point where we don’t want him to learn how to dive because we are not sure that he’ll be able to differentiate between deep water and shallow water. And if he dives head first into shallow water… well that wouldn’t be good at all. So, for now, I’m probably for ever, diving is off the table. The Special Olympics allows jumping in, right?
Written byFrank Campagna
I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).