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For Him – Or for Me?

Here is a selection of a post on the blog Pucks and Puzzle Pieces.

Ryan engages in some quirky behaviors. These range from slightly odd to completely inappropriate. The latter call for a different response from me than the former, but they don’t always get one, and I find this one of the most vexing aspects of parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

Here’s what makes it challenging: I find myself constantly questioning my response. Am I asking him to change his behavior for him — or for me?

The answer isn’t entirely straightforward. Both Veronica and I believe strongly that it is important to shape Ryan’s behavior to adhere to social norms as much as possible. It’s not that we don’t celebrate his individuality, but rather that we want to help him avoid bringing unnecessary difficulty upon himself. The tween years are a challenging time for all kids to fit in. If we can help Ryan understand the difference between expected and unexpected behaviors — the language of “social thinking” with which so many autism parents are familiar — we feel believe it will help him see how the world views him, help smooth out some of the social challenges he faces, and open the door to forming relationships with his peers.

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