While we all know the ASD highway can have stones, potholes and lane closures, I feel as if we are headed down an exit ramp. Therapists and supporters call it a bump in the road, I call it stress and getting lost!
As Jake is getting older, his physical presence fills a room. He's huge and strong and the chemicals of puberty are causing his impulses to be even more out of control. Nothing is simple any more and we're having to back track our behavior strategies again.
He's old enough to know he doesn't like mom and dad telling him what to do anymore but still needs prompting, redirection and predictability. We're back at making schedules like we used to, except this time they don't have pictures! "Those are for babies"!
This morning, we meticulously entered his schedule for morning and afternoon into his iPhone. We set the reminders to alert him 5 minutes before each transition. This way he can be alone, follow his routine and he doesn't have to hear my voice, which I swear is his latest trigger. He will be rewarded for following and completing tasks.
Secondly, I believe we've crashed at the intersection of Discipline Drive and Safety Side road!
If there are behaviors then there will be push back, we need to plan and think first before reacting. If he doesn't like what he hears he now goes after me or the dog. So our discipline has to be planned so we can all stay safe. We have to try and predict the reaction of the restriction and my defense strategies if he becomes aggressive, before instituting anything.
We can take away privileges if certain criteria can be met: I am in a place (mentally) to contact authorities if he's endangering me, if we are able to get him to a space where he can't hurt himself or anyone else, and if we believe the risk of punishment fits the crime.
Up until now we've been able to manage behavior without a thought about the kickback, but puberty is a different beast. We will maintain our schedule, force public outings and always have escape routes because that's our life. I refuse to hide in my house and let ASD rule me. We all need to practice and enforce consequences just like everyone else.
So if you see me and I'm looking flustered (like crap), just know my brain is having to think about 5 miles down the highway in preparation for another unexpected turn off!