I must confess…I am guilty of having said “All Kids Do That”. Yes…I have. Why? Looking back, I think maybe it was my way of trying to relate to a “typical/normal” life. If Riley did things that “all kids did” maybe he could do other things as well without some of the challenges that seemed to be there so often.
Over at Yeah. Good Times there is a series called “All Kids Do That”. I highly recommend you pop over and read some of the posts for some great explanations as to why, as parents of special needs kids, that statement doesn’t always ring true. I can relate to so many of those posts. For me I found the frustration I felt sometimes would hit me the hardest when I was exhausted from lack of sleep or from the stress of trying to figure out Riley World.
When R was younger, I remember the feeling of not knowing what the day would bring. Would we have a good day, a great day or a challenging day? Some days I would be thrown a real curve ball…the day would start out great only to end in a meltdown triggered by something that up until then had never been an issue. Along the way we learned that triggers were just that…the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. Like a domino effect everything that happened up to that point would come crashing down in a heap of tears, anger, frustration, and uncontrollable emotions as a result of a “seemingly” insignificant event.
I recently commented on a post by @RaisingASDKids entitled “Raising Asperger’s Kids: O is for Obnoxious, Opinionated and Obdurate” relating to a similar experience of mine with J2. Soon after J2 graduated (just last year - 2011) he was really trying to assert his independence along with that “charming” teenager attitude that you hear, and now we get to experience, so much about. These exact words will be forever embedded into my mind “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO ANYMORE. I’M 18 NOW!” Yea…don’t the teenage years sound like fun??? Only this time I was the one relating an “All Teenagers Do That” story. I instantly felt guilty. Here I was doing exactly to another parent about her ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) teen what I sometimes found so frustrating when Riley was younger. What I really wanted to do and hoped I did was empathize and celebrate with CM2’s mom what I thought was “typical” and, my favourite, “age-appropriate” behaviour.
For all the times that you hear “All Kids Do That” and feel frustrated and defensive I say…keep trying to educate others and spread the word. As hard as it is to imagine and look too far into the future, for just an instance, think of your child as a teenager. Would it be that bad to hear "All Teenagers Do That"? Honestly I never hear the remark “All Teenagers Do That” when it comes to Riley because I think it’s highly unlikely to see a teenager having a meltdown in a grocery store or see a teenager playing with a wooden alphabet puzzle or see a teenager excited for the newest Alvin & the Chipmunks movie.
While it can be sometimes disheartening and I certainly have some down moments (today being one of them), for me it would indeed be a celebration to hear those words “All Teenagers Do That” about R.
Think about it…D