Monday, November 29, 2010

No Excuses Allowed

Sometimes it's just plain and simple bad behavior. It's not a result of sensory overload, it's not because they are on the autism spectrum, it's not due to a lack of social understanding, it's just bad behavior.

Today my 11 year old was angry because he had to make a choice between two things he wanted and it was very clear that no amount of tears, questioning and whining was going to result in getting both things. He was offered options, the options were explained and he was told that expected, appropriate behavior would receive a reward. Despite all of that, when he was asked if he had made a decision about what he wanted he replied, "yes, I want you to go to hell."

When the staff member called me about the situation, he was already on the bus heading home. Luckily for him, I was en route to pick up the younger kids from school and wouldn't be home for another hour. I made a phone call home to let his dad know what happened and told him to ban our little angel from all computer and video games until further notice. I also made sure he knew to pass along the fact that I was NOT HAPPY.

There was no discussion with my son when I got home - there was nothing to discuss. There was a very concise, crystal clear talk from me expressing my disappointment and spelling out the consequences of both today's behavior and any future behavior of this type. Rest assured, by the time I finished talking he was very certain I meant every word I said and that any repeat of this behavior would lead to a very boring, very miserable life for a long time.

What struck me the most was his teacher's remark that she was going to write an incident report about his behavior but there wouldn't be a consequence issued at school. WHOA!! Oh yes, there was going to be a consequence at school - the same consequence that would be given to a student who isn't on the autism spectrum. ASD had nothing to do with his reactions today; it was bad behavior, plain and simple, and that is not acceptable. (He has been given detention after school at my insistence.)

I will fight for him when a behavior is a result of his ASD and lack of coping or social skills. I have fought for him many times and will always be his biggest advocate. Today, he didn't need me to stand behind him and explain how his brain works differently, how his lack of social skills contributed to his behavior or why he should be taught how to use coping skills in a situation
instead of punished. Today, he needed me to hold him accountable for his poor choices, set firm boundaries and expectations for him and ensure that he was given consequences that "fit the crime".

A part of raising my boys on the autism spectrum will always be to educate, inform, explain and sometimes even defend their behavior in a situation. But today, my job is to teach him that ASD is not an excuse to get out of trouble when he chooses to behave badly.


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