Example of an Autism Misunderstanding
This morning my Miss M experienced a classic autism misunderstanding. It hurt her. It made her angry. It frustrated her. Oh, and it was MY fault.
Many traditional (read most) autism "specialists" including most doctors think of autism as a behavioral disorder. That's why it has a 299.0 behavioral insurance code and gets NO insurance coverage. Anyway, docs and teachers and specialists tend to want to use conditioning (negative or positive reinforcement) to work with our kids. Sometimes that's absolutely the right thing to do. When the "behavior" is really behavioral. Sometimes,with kids who can't speak, the behavior is nothing of the sort. It's a child saying "I am in pain!" Example?
This morning, in 20 degree icy weather, Miss M kept trying to kick off her snow boots. Not cool if you'll pardon the pun. Did I yell at her? Well, uh, actually I did. "Keep your boots on!" She kept trying to kick them off. So I sat her down and pulled of the boot. There, at the toe, was the huge wad of paper stuffing. I had forgotten to pull it out. So she was in PAIN and uncomfortable and she told me the only way she knew how. By taking off the boot. This is so damn common in our kids. Even the ones who can speak. Miss M can speak in short sentences. But it didn't occur to her to say to me "Help please. Boo boo." How terrible did that make both of us feel?
Kids on the spectrum often experience pain that the old fashioned, not up to speed autism treatment protocol assumes is just bad behavior. They suggest high powered drugs to calm (sedate) the kids. There's a perk eh? They use negative/aversive therapy. They are idiots. Can you imagine telling a cancer patient who is in stomach pain "Sit up straight and I'll give you a Skittle!" That is just how preposterous many autism schools and professionals think.
By the way, Miss M. said to me after I pulled out the wad of paper: "All better." If only I could make it so.