We are affected by our emotions, our fears, our experiences and our views. The way we react with one another, the way we follow instruction from the teacher, the way we follow the rules set by our parents are all determined by how our brain processes the stimuli and transmits it to our sensory system. It is quite complicated and we all react in different ways.
Matthew has had difficulties in following direction and following rules of the house. He needs constant reinforcement and constant reminding. It seems he has not been consistent with his behavior. He has good days and bad days. In some cases he is quiet and functions properly and on other occasions he is having tremendous difficulty, and is disruptive. It has been a roller coaster ride when it comes to his behavior and we are trying to help him by having him seen by doctors and psychologists. He is prescribed medication to help control his behavior and there have been some concerns with the medicine because it tends to diminish his appetite.
Matthew is very sensitive to sound, smell and taste and reacts to things with differing behavior based on the level of comfort or discomfort of his senses. If he hears a high pitched sound or the ringing of a bell he reacts with anxiety and runs away from the sound. He is very fussy with food and very discriminatory based on smell and texture.
When it comes to how he reacts to something it is all based on his level of tolerance and his sensitivity. For such a young kid Matthew has many views and he reacts a lot based on these views. I believe many autistic children have similiar sensitivities and views and react based on levels of comfort and discomfort. Now as a young boy he reacts with anger and frustration to shows that are baby oriented. In a specific instance if he sees Barney on tv he will start acting very silly and with disdain singing how much he hates barney. I’m not sure why he is so preoccupied with these feelings but he is always consistent with his reaction.
We have at times grown frustrated with some of Matthew’s habits as we seem to get nowhere in correcting inappropriate behaviors. He tends to throw his clothes on the floor and his shoes as well and we have to demand that he pick them up and put them in the hamper or the appropriate place. He does not act independently in following this order. We have to be persistent in our demand and this can be frustrating.
It is not always like this however. There are times when Matthew does act pleasant and properly. Matthew’s grandma stays with us and on occasion she babysits 2 young children and Matthew acts very kind to the little girl and her brother. He talks and plays and gets along well with them and it warms my heart to see him so well behaved. He acts as if he is the older brother and likes the company. I believe if we had another child Matthew would be very protective and very well behaved.
It takes some time to understand an autistic child and how they react and how to handle them in situations when they are disstressed. When a child experiences difficulties you must try to be supportive and try to calm them and talk it out with them. The problem that arises is the fact that we can not always be there when they are experiencing these moments and just hope there is an adult or trained person who can step in and calm the child as they go through this moment of difficulty.
Matthew means well and generally has a good disposition and is a friendly and lovable kid and we are working with him and encouraging him to react with proper behavior and have recently implemented a rewards system where he earns tickets that he can cash in for rewards. This we find helpful and Matthew has earned some fun games, puzzles, toys and even cash or more computer time by reacting positively and being rewarded for it.
We know our son sometimes can not always be blamed for how he reacts because autism is what is affecting him and he is needing a lot of support and I believe he needs to learn how to deal with his feelings and not be ridiculed. He needs positive reinforcement and a lot of guidance and love and a great support system which we are always working on.
I have a lot of patience with my son and I will do all I can to help him get through his difficulties. My wife is also very caring and nurturing and also focuses on Matthew’s strengths and works on helping him through the difficult times.
Matthew sees the world differently from us and he reacts accordingly and we need to understand this as parents and try to adapt and help him and operate with love and compassion because we are here to support our son and be strong for him. We are learning every day and we know that our main goal is to see Matthew grow and develop like other kids and teach him all the right values and behaviors so he can interact and enjoy healthy relationships and friendships. This is so important to us and most of all it is most important that we stay focussed with this so we can help him lead a more fulfilling life with many friends.