Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not so fast...

Says life, to all my big plans...

So we tried "family dinner" last night and it was mostly a disaster. Lots of time dealing with whiny kids and "I don't like this" etc... ugh. And we met with the therapist yesterday who mentioned that food was probably not a good battle to pick with ASD kids---they have lots of sensitivities and aversions and its better to just feed them something they like and get on with life. But I can't completely let this go, so I'm going to take a hybrid approach of offering one thing that the kids will actually reliably eat at the meal along with the more adventurous/less preferred option that they are required to TRY.

Yesterday I made breaded fish---the only reason we bought the fish was because B ASKED FOR IT last week. And suddenly "I hate this, its yucky, I never said I wanted it, I want pasta". Ugh. But we persevered and between bites of fish and toasted bread, they somehow were full. One major problem is that the kids are hungry when we are on our way home at 5-5:30 and they eat bars or snacks and thus aren't quite as ravenous as I am by dinner time. You may think its a simple enough solution to just skip the snacks but then I will insist that you come get our kids home every evening because NOPE. We are pushing dinner as late as we can for  now and our plan for next year is that I'll be in charge of pick ups and get them home earlier for dinner.

I'm not ready to write too much yet about what we are learning from the therapist because we haven't really implemented her strategies. But overall its been simultaneously validating and depressing to realize that yes, my child is challenging and annoying, and will likely remain that way forever. We are starting to come to terms with the fact that we need to consider his diagnosis as a kind of disability that makes it incredibly hard for him to NOT be annoying, because he is lacking a lot of the intuitive social cues that you would use to fit in and be pleasant. Its something we are probably always going to have to work on, and try to remember, that things that some "easy" for us are really hard for him. He's bright and physically healthy so its hard to come to terms with him just not being able to naturally do certain things.

I'll switch topics because I can't really write about this as eloquently as I'd like, and I'm sorry if that came across harsh or mean. Obviously we love him and want the best for him and are trying everything we can to be good parents to him. But its not easy sometimes to be around him.

We did have a really good discussion about what our priorities should be, and she DID agree with me so yes, we are going to step back and focus on managing emotions for now, and some aspects of independence, but not so much on table manners, or neatness. We have 2 weeks before our next session and I'm hoping to put into practice a few of her suggestions so that we can report back on what does/doesn't work.


  1. This isinterering, because in some ways my son sounds a lot like yours (missing social cues, not managing emotions well, lack of independence) but I think thhe causes are different. In our case, therapy has been helpful because when I understand the causes of his behavior, it doesn't get to me as much.

    1. What do you think are the causes for your son missing social cues or struggling to manage emotions in an age appropriate way? I ask because my daughter has the same issues and I struggle to accept them consistently.

    2. She doesn't really think any of J's issues have a clinical diagnosis. Some people just have better social skills than others (mine aren't that great). But she pointed out that J has low self-esteem and is often afraid to speak up for himself. He's very sensitive (again, don't know why), but when he perceives some kind of slight or unfairness he just holds it all in, and then he gets even more upset. She gave him an assignment to start "using his voice" so he'd feel more empowered. He is super shy and quiet in school or in public, and then nuts around family! So if he's able to tell his teacher that he wasn't trying to misbehave but just misunderstood her directions, for example, he's less likely to bottle up that frustration all day and end up furious when I pick him up. It hasn't been perfect, but it's helped a lot.

      She also doesn't believe he has an anxiety disorder, but he does worry a lot, so she helped him come up with strategies for what to do when he feels worried. Since anxiety is definitely part of what fuels his rages (yelling at me because I let C ride 1/2 mile in the car with no seatbelt, for instance), this has helped a little too.

  2. Thank you for writing about this. It really helps me to see how someone with similar struggles is dealing with it. I totally understand your feelings of "validation and depression". I have felt that many times when talking to professionals about my daughter.

    I'm glad the therapist agreed with you and some of the issues your husband was insisting on pursuing can be abandoned for a little bit. I hope that helps.

    I can't even imagine trying to get my kids to eat food they don't like. It's hard enough to get them to sit down and eat what they do like! That already requires constant reminders to "take a bite." It's exhausting. When we introduce foods they don't know they gag and sometimes even throw up. It's so dispiriting that I've totally given up on it, which is probably not the best long term strategy. I am inspired by your attempts to reclaim family dinner. Sending strength!

    I want to write more but am on my phone. Please know that I really appreciate when you write about this stuff. Thank you!