Thursday 29 March 2018

When my child with autism does..

Autistic boy walking

It can be so easy to make snap judgements on behaviour.  It's not on purpose, but we are often programmed by our own experiences and up bringing.  Sometimes things aren't what they seem. Some behaviours associated with autism are often noticed as naughty, strange or annoying because it's not easy to understand why they are happening.

I've apologised before and tried to explain, for example, why my kids jump about and drop cutlery all the time at restaurant.   Or why they need support to share at the playground or how they may appear to be jumping about and ignoring queues going around a museum.  What seems strange to some often looks like a good day and well done to me. 

So I asked a few other parents to explain a few things, by simply filling in the X and Y in this comment.  When my child with autism/their name does X, it's usually because Y.  Here's what they said.

Faith Mummy says, "When Isaac screams it’s because he can’t speak at all at 9 and it’s his main way to communicate. When Naomi stops eating it’s because she is under pressure and this is her own way to control her environment."

Someone's Mum says, "When my son asks the same question or wants you to repeat the same answers over and over again, it is usually because he feels anxious about something and out of control. He tries to find the familiar and expected through repeated words and phrases and it helps him to cope better with the changes in routine around him."

Stephs Two Girls says, "When my girl curls up into a ball or refuses to follow an instruction, it’s usually because she has extreme anxiety and has already had to face one too many demands that day. Her reaction is in order for her to try and stay in control of her situation. It’s not because she just doesn’t want to, it’s that she ‘can’t help won’t’- she can’t help the fact that she won’t be able to do it, and that’s what Pathological Demand Avoidance is about." PDA is a type of autism

Rainbow Dust says, "Sometimes when its quiet in a restaurant, Roo will wander around because he simply cannot sit as to him sitting means getting food straight away and not having to wait. If we make him sit he will scream because there no food in front of him."

Faith Mummy says, " When my husband has a meltdown (yes adults have those too!) it’s because the world is so confusing and stressful for everyone on the spectrum and he needs support still even at 60."

Little Blue Cup says, "When Ben slaps you it’s because you don’t understand what he wants and he’s frustrated he can’t make himself understood."

Rainbow Dust says, "If Roo screams & shakes its because he is seeing/hearing something he cannot bear to deal with like someone wearing a mask, someone dressed up, or someone is using the hand dryers, saw, grass trimmer etc"

To Aufinity & Beyond says, "When Sonny hides under his bed it's usually because he is escaping from sensory overload and likes the deep pressure feeling of lying on the ground."

I think it can be so easy to misread a situation, see something not as it is.  One time a person in a cafe thought my child was 'amazing' and a 'genius' because of how he was playing on his iPad.  Although she had no idea that my son was a non-verbal autistic child (no MENZA member here), I still happen to agree with her.  He is amazing in all that he does and how is tries to cope with life.

This week is world autism awareness week.  Perhaps, like always, its a time just to have that little thought when you see a behaviour you don't understand.  That little thought that says, 'perhaps it's not for me to judge'.  After all it could just be that person is autistic and what they are doing makes perfect sense for them.  It's how they are coping as they try their best to get on in a world not really built for them. 


  1. Love this, makes me think about s9me of my son's behaviours that I'd just put down to him being quirky.

  2. I think the more we talk about the behaviours and the reasons behind them, the more others will understand x


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