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Featured Anyone else here an autistic parent raising a neurotypical child?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by meepmeep, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. meepmeep

    meepmeep Active Member

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    Now, disclaimer - I'm self-diagnosed and not sure I'm autistic rather than just "weird". But I am pretty damn weird, and my kid is not. She's perfectly neurotypical, both in my opinion and in the opinion of every medical professional who's dealt with her.

    The kid is 3 now, so reaching an age where she's developing social skills and having friends and all that. She's got a lot of friends in daycare, loves to socialize, and is a happy and energetic little girl. And I'm worried - how will I help her develop when my own development was so, well, weird? I was horribly bullied throughout my childhood, couldn't relate well to other kids at all, and spent a solitary childhood with books as my only company. I don't want to warp my kid's development or teach her the wrong things.

    Anyone here in the same boat, and what did you do as your kid grew older?
     
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  2. Clueless in Canada

    Clueless in Canada Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Not in the same boat however the literature on autistic girls suggests that nothing of note may show at this earlier age and at three years old I was very 'normal' seeming although sensory issues and anxiety were apparent. This didn't alarm my parents though. I am not yet officially diagnosed but am quite certain based on my own research and it was once hinted to me by a professional that I might be. It was also acknowledged that my son probably is although he wasn't given an official label as such as they preferred to focus on his anxiety issues. This was a mistake but the point I want to make is that like me, up to the age of three he really only showed a bit of sensory issues and some anxiety and overall he does present more similarly to the female model than the male model of autism.

    So, all that to say your daughter may not be NT or she may be but it's possibly too soon to tell. :) Some autistic people are outgoing and social like your daughter and if she hasn't got language issues she may not encounter social difficulties until she and her peers are a little older. All parents have strengths and deficits but not all are aware of them. You are starting from a place of awareness so first cut yourself some slack and then consider ways you can help her develop social skills via books, television, play, other adults in her life. If she is NT she will pick up much from her peers.

    Whether we are ND or NT or our children are, they are not carbon copies of us so we may or may not be able to relate to or anticipate everything they will experience. We do our best and we ask others for support if needed. Try to foster an openness between yourself and her. Make it so she can tell you about anything and not get a negative response, but rather a helpful and supportive one. This will encourage her to talk to you about her difficulties and you can help or you can truthfully say that you haven't had that experience and you aren't sure what is best but you will try to find out. She doesn't need you to fix everything, she needs you to be on her side always.
     
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  3. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    All mine are grown now and I had no idea I was autistic until a couple years ago. I knew I wasn't a normal mom. My kids knew I wasn't a normal mom. We just didn't know it was a fact. :) A couple of them are probably autistic but the other 2 are not. We somehow did okay and you will, too.
     
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  4. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    We have five adult children, three boys and two girls. Our youngest, one of the boys, is a Aspie. The rest are NTs and to tell the truth the Aspie was the easiest to raise. He is very mild mannered and never got into trouble. He spends most of his time researching stuff on the computer. He is the only one with no kids. The other four were very trying at times.

    When the kids were growing up, we did not know that I or my youngest son were on the spectrum. We only figured it out eleven years ago. I was 62 and he was 26 at that time.
     
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  5. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I say this in an effort to help you and in the nicest way I’m currently able,

    You won’t ‘warp’ her if you don’t project your thoughts about socialisation onto her :)

    Research ages, stages and milestones from 3 onwards in non asd children.

    Provide opportunities, encourage and support her through those milestones.

    I found developmental milestones in non asd children read like a pretty linear time line.

    Any deviation from the ‘average’ (what most children do at that age)
    I either provided more opportunity for them to practice the skill or,

    Made my observation known to my Health Visitor at that time and she organised some professional help for us.

    Having a better idea of how children develop through ages and stages will give you some piece of mind as you watch your daughter sail through them with ease :)
     
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  6. BeachLife

    BeachLife 40's woman newly diagnosed

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    Yes, I relate to the situation.
    Mine are still quite young so I just make a real effort to be mindful when I talk about friendships and relationships and remind myself not to "interfere" but rather observe her developing socially.
    The biggest blessing for us all though is now that I have a diagnosis, I don't feel so guilty for my quirky ways, and I communicate with my kids so they can learn that all humans are different and to accept all the different ways of being or not being! :)
     
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  7. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I’m in the same boat and honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. My NT daughter socialised fine and has no problems fitting in where she chooses. Don’t think just because you had a hard time at school as I did, your child will, that doesn’t follow. As for my quirky behaviour it’s often a source of humour to her and at other times she is quite happy to tell me “you know you can’t say/do/behave like that outside don’t you?” Which can be helpful.

    Kids develop their own way we can only guide them and if they choose not to accept our guidance because they think they know better, well, welcome to the crazy world of parenting!
     
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  8. Skids

    Skids Well-Known Member

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    I am 42 and have a 10 year old NT daughter which i've brought up as a stay at home dad. She's doing really well despite my autistic limitations but i am fortunate in that i am able to pass for NT much of the time and although she is aware of my autism and how it can affect me, i am able to try and not let my behaviours or excessively rigid thought processes restrict or influence her in any way.

    This has been the most difficult.

    For example, it would be a nice day and she'd say she wants to take her bike to the park. This obviously involves a spontaneous change in routine for me and now i'm expected to change mode in an instant, get her ready, get her bike in the car, drive to the park and so on and so forth. Easy for most NT's but for me it's incredibly difficult.

    Also difficult is dealing with crowds / noise / sensory issues. As a parent i feel i have to at least make the effort to give my kid the most 'normal' of upbringings and this involves going out to places that are full of people and noise. Swimming pools with slides for example she loves and i hate with a passion.

    There have been times i've taken her to the pool and there has literally been no water to swim in because there were that many people in there! I fail to see how anyone can find this experience enjoyable. Then you've got the noise of kids screaming and music playing and water splashing and it's generally a nightmare. Yet i have to pretend to be enjoying myself in front of my child whilst i'm subjected to this assault. I guess what she doesn't know won't hurt her and so long as she is having a good time that's the main thing.

    Also the transition from one thing to another is hard. For example we'll do some painting and that means i have to get organized and get the paints together etc in a routine way and then 10 minutes later she'll get bored with that and not only leave the mess behind (which stresses me out) but also wants to do something else like getting LEGO out. So then i've got to transition from one activity to another and in some cases to another and another!! Aghhhhhhhhh! Kids!! lol

    Another issue is the illogical behaviours and reluctance to accept common sense. For example she might be watching TV and still have her night clothes on and we will be due to go out soon to horse riding so i ask her to turn the TV off (as it's a distraction) and get changed into her pony clothes.

    She then kicks up a fuss because i've turned off the telly and then i'm trying to explain that everything stops until she gets changed and once she's got changed then watching TV can resume. She'll be changed then and then she can do what she wants until it's time to go out but she'd rather spend the next 10 minutes arguing about getting changed and not having the TV on when if she just got changed then the TV would be back on!! Arghhh! Kids!!

    Her reluctance to do common sense tasks in a logical order is infuriating and causes a lot of stress. Obviously i don't let her see this stress but inside i'm boiling over. I feel like shouting at her, "JUST DO WHAT MAKES SENSE!!!" :D

    Having her friends around is difficult too. I pretty much have to go out and leave the hosting to my partner when she has friends around. Having one 10 year old is stressful enough but more than that in the house and who DON'T KNOW i have autism or know about autism is too much for me to deal with so i go out and my partner deals with all that side of things.

    I feel so uncomfortable around young kids because they are so unpredictable and ask a lot of direct questions. I don't know how to interact with them at their level so to speak, which is probably part of the reason my kid things i'm a weirdo :p and it's stressful.

    Like Starfire says, my daughter finds my quirks and behaviours amusing and it's not too big a deal.

    Another difficult challenge has been being around other parents and they all talk about their kids and how they are doing and this and that and i have absolutely zero interest whatsoever. I find it hard to have an interest in what my kid does let alone theirs! I do try though and have to fake interest. For me a lot of parenting is about not only providing a loving, nurturing environment but also about duty and raising a rounded, confident, happy child and i feel sad for myself that i don't find a lot of things she does or achieves interesting because of my autism but i'm just so glad that she is finding things enjoyable and interesting.

    All we want for our kids is for them to be happy and enjoy their lives and i do my best to facilitate that rather than get any happiness out of it myself if this makes any sense?

    I'm sure many NT parents are like this but just won't admit it. For example when your child comes up to you with some buns she has baked and you think the bun looks awful and tastes awful but you have to lie about it. You have to be overjoyed at the bun and say how wonderful it is and how great it tastes and what an effort it has been to make it when in fact it was chucked together in 5 minutes in a mixing bowl, it looks like a dollop of horse poo and tastes like it too.

    My autistic brain wants me to tell the truth but on the flip side i have to remember i'm talking to a child. I try to be as interested and positive as i can without making anything and everything she makes and does into the best thing since sliced bread. You do have to offer constructive criticism at times - even to a 10 year old. ;)

    I get a lot of these experiences in raising my child. She has a great time doing the activity but i don't really get a lot out of what she has produced / achieved. I'm just really happy that she has got pleasure from it as a parent if that makes sense?

    Currently i'm entering into that phase where she is showing an interest in lots of different things and watching a lot of different things on youtube which i am finding it hard to monitor.

    I find much of what she views on youtube annoying and pointless but sometimes i have to remember that i was 10 years old once and what i wanted to watch when i was 10 would be vastly different to what i want to watch now i'm 42.

    She watches OTHER PEOPLE playing video games and TALKING ABOUT IT! I'm about to get myself in trouble on here now as i would think there will be a lot of passionate gamers on here who will disagree with the following comments but personally i cannot get my head around spending half your time watching SOMEBODY ELSE play a video game! Just play the bloody game yourself! Not only that but these youtubers generally have extremely high pitched annoying voices which really grate on me.

    From memory the two she likes are a girl called LD Shadowlady and some lad called Smallishbeans. They are constantly chattering away at a hundred miles an hour and making high pitched squeals and noises and to be honest it winds me up big time.

    Then she watches endless you tube videos of some girl making slime.

    Personally i find a lot of stuff she watches on youtube is loosely based around watching others do things and then talking about it rather than her just doing that thing herself. As for the obligatory, "Subscribe to my channel" mantra that's everyone on youtube seems to say nowadays then it's a constant battle trying to remain flexible with accepting her viewing choices.

    I have a great dislike of the modern culture of 'likes', 'followers' and 'subscribers' although you can 'like' this post if you want - i won't judge. :) Especially when most of the content is just banal. Don't get me wrong, there are many people who put themselves on youtube who deliver some fantastic informative and inspiring content as some posters on here do but by and large i find youtube lives up to the famous Andy Warhol quote more than adequately.

    To be honest i believe watching all this stuff is technically wasting your childhood but like i said, i suppose if i was 10 years old growing up today then i might be watching that stuff. Not a nice thought. :(

    Personally i think i'm a very good parent and a lot better than many of the NT parents i see shouting and swearing at their kids and threatening them with violence if they don't behave. I use positive reinforcement and mutual respect rather than the old fashioned way of punishment in my parenting but we're all different.

    Hey, there are lots of positives about being an autistic parent with NT kids though. :)

    Time, patience, love, respect and support are a good starting point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  9. Joshua Aaron

    Joshua Aaron Autistic Bisexual

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  10. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    What you are is not so important. Mainly show love and care and you are doing the best you can.
     
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  11. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Yes. I'm autistic and my NT wife and I are raising both NT and suspected ND children. Our oldest child is an adult now, and is very social.

    Things I did and things I learned:

    1) Support their interests. For me, this means going to years of sports games, concerts, camping, etc. This last weekend, I took my 2nd son to an event he really wanted to go to, which involved crowds of 20,000 people and long wait times. If I'm doing it well, my children will never know how much I didn't want to go to these things. I don't think this is an NT vs ND thing - it's just a parent thing. It's very common for children to have different interests than their parents, and I think parents need to support their children's interests and not force their own interests on their children.

    2) Spend time together. In any activity you do with your children, the core need you are fulfilling is time together. Parents and children can bond over watching sports together, doing woodworking together, reading together, baking together, etc. Look for overlaps between things the child enjoys and things you can do. Then, do those things together. I used to feel bad that I couldn't teach my kids how to play baseball, or other "traditional" father things. But I found things that I can do. For me, I read books to my children to help them with their required school reading (AR points, for those familiar with that system). I read poems to them at bedtime, and compose poems about whatever they ask. They might not remember any of these books or poems, but what they will remember is that Dad spent time with them.

    3) Let them talk. I struggle to connect socially, so it's easy for me to go through life essentially living in the same house as my kids but not doing much more. To help me connect better, I started doing "interviews" with my children. Once a week, I sit down with one child and ask them how their doing in different areas of their life (socially, academically, physically, spiritually). I may ask questions to get more detail if I see a concern or problem. I let them discuss whatever they want. Some interviews are 10 minutes, some are 45 minutes. My children love it. They remind me if I forget. If someone else comes in the room when they're in an interview, they yell at them to leave. "Get out! This is my interview!" Honestly, it's worked better than I could have thought.

    4) Let consequences happen. Under the age of 5 or so, we had to create our own consequences for our children's choices (e.g. Keep lying to Mom, I take toys away). Above that age, most behavior comes with its own consequences. I have almost never had to punish or ground my children for anything - I just go over their actions, point out the natural results of those actions, and ask them how they're going to do it next time. In junior high and high school, this means letting them fail at big assignments because they procrastinated, so they learn not to procrastinate next time.

    5) Try something, and if it doesn't work, try something else. This is how I came up with 1-4, above. Don't be afraid to try new things to make parenting work. Parenting is 99% trial and error and 1% ignoring other people's advice.

    Z) I don't know where this fits, but here goes. I was bullied and beat up a lot in school. All I got from my parents was "Just ignore them." I learned that I couldn't go to them for help. I lashed out, got in fights, had meltdowns, and tried to get revenge by showing how much smarter I was than them. None of those things worked well or stopped the bullying. When our oldest child started going to school, I told him over and over that I wanted him to be nice to everyone, even the kids that no one else was nice to. I told him that I would be more proud of him for the way he treats people than I will ever be of his grades. I've told this to all our children. Seeing them grow up to be nice people has proven to be more cathartic and healing to my own experiences than any apologies or reconciliation with my own bullies could have been.
     
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  12. meepmeep

    meepmeep Active Member

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    That’s what my parents say about raising me - that I was a quiet kid who was no trouble at all. I spent most of my time at home reading. My mother has actually told me that my own kid is a lot more difficult to raise than I was. (And it’s only when I had her that I started to realize that I was probably on the spectrum as a child - her development is so different from mine).
     
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  13. meepmeep

    meepmeep Active Member

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    I love that! I’ve been trying to do all of the above, but it’s helpful to have it set out like that. I’m just getting to the point where the kid is starting to do activities, so I’m in the audience for every single one and cheering her on and showing as much excitement as I’m capable of.

    And so far, she’s a very kind and compassionate little girl. She’s only three, so we haven’t had the bullying talk yet, but I do plan to tell her about my own experiences in school and about the one kid who befriended me and made my life so much more bearable at that age. She is a very strong personality and I want her to use that strength for good.
     
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  14. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I have tried to focus on the positive (be nice to everyone, treat other people well) rather than the negative (how I was treated). I hadn't told any of my children how much I got picked on in school ... until yesterday. Yesterday, during my interview with my son who is in 8th grade (and who I suspect is on the spectrum), he told me about how much he is getting bullied by one kid at school (sidebar for closure: The school administration has asked him to come in to file a report. They will get corroboration from other students, then decide what to do). He tried to brush it off, but I asked more questions about it, and his voice came close to breaking as he told me more details. He asked if I was ever bullied and I told him everything. I only told him this to show him that I know what he's going through and to reassure him that we will do everything we can to get this to stop.

    I'm glad that schools are finally starting to take bullying seriously. I'm glad our son feels comfortable telling us what's going on. And, very soon, I'll be glad when my wife goes off on the school like an angry mother bear.
     
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  15. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    One additional thought about this: You have to start the "let them talk" thing early. Right now, it's going to be about cartoons and toys, but if you listen to them and show them you care about the small stuff, then they're going to be willing to open up about the big stuff later.
     
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  16. Joshua Aaron

    Joshua Aaron Autistic Bisexual

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    My parents raised me in a similar way as you are raising yours. My parents have always been supportive to me and have always actually cared about me, too.
     
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