Autistic Parents UK Blog

It's never too late to change paths

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

I wanted to write about how the still predominant authoritarian parenting styles of the neurotypical world don’t work for Autistic people.

I wanted to expand and explain how my own parenting had grown and adapted to allow my Autistic children to thrive and be their marvellous selves.


I wanted to reassure that by doing that I had found more joy in my parenting, more connection with my children and a softness for my own inner child. I had gotten about half way through when I had a conversation that changed how I felt about it.

The conversation was with a loved one but was about a friend of a friend of a friends son. So someone I will never meet.

This 15 year old Autistic boy is apparently having a hard time. I don’t really know any details. I just know that he’s struggling so much that he’s having violent outbursts at home.

My friend asked about the changes that I had made over the past few years as my family was obviously calmer.

I shared my thoughts on the benefits of removing demands.


ALL demands.


I touched upon the basic principles of low arousal. I mentioned the abelism that so many of us carry around meaning we don’t believe our Autistic loved ones when they tell us they can’t, even when they could before, or when their sensory issues seem extreme. I talked about overwhelm, stopping triggering our own loved ones, letting go of ego and seeing the distress for what it was.

My friend sat back for a second, digesting, then said “Well, he’s 15 now it’s probably too late to change all that.”

And that’s how society fails Autistic people. That’s what changed my mind about this blog. Society isn’t giving us time for gentle guidance. How Autistic children are parented needs to change now.

It’s not that Autistic people are a mystery. It’s not that the information isn’t out there. Autistic advocates have been sharing this for years. Once you strip away all the blogs and vlogs and articles and books and tweets that tell you that Autism is a curse and Autistic children are a battle there’s lots of free information, so many Autistic adults ready and willing to share their experience.

I’m not going to pretend that there’s a magic formula that works the same for all Autistic children. I’m not saying that the changes are easy. You may well find that your friends, your family, your neighbours don’t support you and think that you’re doing it wrong. They may well tell you loudly just how wrong you are.

I’m telling you it’s worth it.

I’m telling you it’s vital.

I’m telling you that it can and will save lives.

If your Autistic child is struggling is not Autism that’s the problem. It’s never that.

This is your starting point for change:

  • Look at what is causing your child distress

  • Believe your child when they share with you

  • Reach out to Autistic adults and ask for their input.

  • Don’t be afraid to be unconventional! It actually doesn’t matter if you all wear pyjamas 80% of the time, or if your 6 year old likes a dummy or if your kids have no limits on screen time or a million other adjustments that hurt no-one but allow your children to feel heard and allow you to stop battling about shit that isn’t important.

  • Look into low arousal and collaborative problem solving.

  • Seek out books, courses and webinars made by Autistic people.

It's never too late to change paths. Give yourself permission, don’t suffer - change.

Useful Links

Training

https://www.studio3.org/low-arousal-training


Books

http://www.jkp.com/jkpblog/2017/01/low-arousal-approach-to-parenting/


https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/0062270451/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_apa_fabc_TKC9D4F8P687MTB56Y7X


Videos

Bo Hejlskov Elven Low arousal videos:

Episode

1 Who has the Problem - https://t.co/IVTXK9Mkhy

2 Kids do well if they can - https://t.co/nTxSRyjlgx

3 - Not been translated but basically it needs to make sense to the child.

4 Principle of responsibility - https://t.co/ADk2epgx36

5 Children learn nothing from failure - https://t.co/jTLyjghLUo

6 You need self control to cooperate - https://t.co/E7C1bkNbmR

7 self control https://t.co/xQ3WI4h81D

8 Affect is contagious https://t.co/eAi1doirYg

9 Conflicts & Solutions https://t.co/dahCbGJu2p

10 Make demands that work https://t.co/emYD5LSx9B

11 You become the leader https://t.co/6zDd9sLB94

12 It's not fair https://t.co/Mc6OKrDycg

13 Car Garage https://t.co/NW6qGmX2Cp

14 Manage Evaluate Low Arousal https://t.co/l5Q92EzBXG


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