"It's Because He Has Autism"

November 12, 2014

Kieren is so super verbal.  She takes any moment of silence and turns it either into a song or a conversation.  If there is no one to talk to she will talk to herself as if she is having a conversation with someone.  It’s adorable.  And scary.  But mostly adorable.

One thing she talks to me about, and thus I suspect she talks with others about, is why Keller seems to be having a difficult time with one thing or another.  She will say:

It’s because he has AUTISM.”

The problem is that she often says this sentence for instances that have no relation to autism.  If Keller won’t eat his dinner it’s because he has autism.  If Keller cries when getting dressed it’s because he has autism.  If he hits his head on the coffee table while playing it’s because he has autism.

Kieren’s reason for every strange and troubling behavior is “It’s because he has AUTISM.”

Now Keller does have autism and there are many moments in the day where his behavior reminds us of that, but we are also experiencing a difficult season of ‘the terrible two’s’ with our Keller and so sometimes “It’s because HE IS TWO.”

Honestly, it’s hard to tell the different between a two-year-old tantrum and autism at times. They can look similar but have two distinctly different origins.  When Keller is having a tantrum it is because he doesn’t want to do something and he is expressing his opinion on the matter.  But a tantrum happens when he CAN do something but he doesn’t WANT to do something.  An autism meltdown happens because a person is not able to process what is being told to them or what is going on in their environment and they become overwhelmed and anxious.  An autism meltdown is something beyond the control of the person because they actually can’t process through what is happening.

We have lots of both in this house.

Realizing Kieren that Kieren thinks everything unfavorable in Keller’s world is ‘autism’ has pushed us to really try to learn more what is the difference between two and autism for Keller.  My go-to-parenting-method is to never discipline or correct and only hug and kiss.  Obviously this method has a few flaws.  We need to know the difference in Keller’s meltdowns so we can help him to process in the anxiety and make better choices (i.e. not SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS) when he doesn’t want to do something.  Keller wears his heart on his SLEEVE which is beautiful but also won’t be okay in EVERY situation.  He has to learn to feel and then calm himself.  Oh but I pray he is always still so close to what he feels.  What a treasure that is.

At the end of the day my goal is to help Keller be the BEST KELLER HE CAN BE.  So sometimes the best he can do is have a meltdown because of autism.  That is okay.  Sometimes his best is LEARNING how not to tantrum and be a part of this world that necessitates things like bath time and eating.  That is also okay.

You know what, Keller is doing a pretty good job of working through both kinds of meltdowns and I am so proud I could shout it from the rooftops!