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Do autistic parents use different parenting techniques to NT parents?

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by Peatsmoke, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Peatsmoke

    Peatsmoke Furiously sleeping indigo restlessness

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    I read an article today that features several mothers who were Dx'd as adults - after they had children, in fact. Many of them say that (1) they do things differently from NT mothers and (2) they're terrified of social services taking their kids away because of their autism diagnosis.

    I'm not a parent, so I can't contribute much to this, but what do all you parents think? Do you do things differently? Are you scared of social services' reaction to your Dx? Does it stop you getting officially diagnosed?

    PS One of the mothers in the article has just published a book, "Odd Girl Out", which I've added to the Resources section. She's answering questions at a Facebook Live event on 19th April at 1pm BST (details at the bottom of the article linked to above).
     
  2. Warmheart

    Warmheart Something nerdy this way comes V.I.P Member

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    Check out a page called "Respectfully Connected" on Facebook. It is run by mainly autistic parents of autistic kids. Methods recommended tend to be very understanding and supportive of natural autistic needs, tendencies and neurology.
     
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  3. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    We always start out with pretty standard tactics (a la James Dobson). They are pretty consistent for NT children. They are less productive for children who have mental illnesses, are gifted and/or on the spectrum. With those, we just more-or-less wing it.

    Some of the latter have manipulated social services into the process, but we have learned to work them into the equation. That was scary, at first, but when one of my mentally ill sons burned through a slew of correctional foster homes, it became clear to [social services] that the problems lay with him and not with us.
     
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  4. Quinny

    Quinny New Member

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    I have two viewpoints on this topic.

    First, I worked for child protective services for two years, and I could definitely see how ND parents would be worried about CPS intervention. However, I can honestly say that an ASD dx in itself is certainly not grounds for removal of children, as long as behaviors are well controlled. I could see CPS becoming involved if there were dangerous behaviors (hitting the child, etc.), but I would say in those cases there's probably more going on than just ASD. I have known a lot of parents on the spectrum and they are just as loving and nurturing as NT parents.

    My second perspective is from that of a new mother. I have a six-month-old and just received my ASD diagnosis this week, actually. I've also been seeing a therapist for generalized anxiety disorder and postpartum depression, so there are other factors at play. I would say the biggest struggles for me related to my ASD and comorbid disorders would be social anxiety when taking my baby out in public and also some days I really don't like being touched by other people, and of course babies need snuggles. I also have always had a problem with loud repetitive noises making me uncomfortable, and babies make a lot of those! Basically, I've been able to use soothing techniques and coping mechanisms so that I can get through these issues and do everything that I need to do to be a good mom. I also think there are some positives with being a neurodiverse mom. I've utilized a lot of soothing techniques that I use myself and they have been very effective when my baby is fussy (shushing, rocking, etc.). Also, I'm very detail-oriented and I like to have a regular routine, which has helped in getting my baby on a routine.

    To conclude, I think there are positive and negative aspects of ND parenting, and it is different from NT parenting. Sorry for the long response! It's something I've been thinking about a lot!
     
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  5. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Does that mean baby, too?
    If baby was crying/fussing, our policy was always:
    1. Check for needs: hungry, gas, diaper, pain/injury...?
    2. If none of those were an issue, we just let baby cry themselves to sleep with their door closed. (We could still hear them, but muffled.)
     
  6. Full Steam

    Full Steam The renegade master V.I.P Member

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    I have 3 under 6 years old and the screaming has definitely been hardest for me.

    I wear head phones while soothing crying babies, which works well.
     
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  7. Quinny

    Quinny New Member

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    That's pretty much the same policy we use. I run through the checklist and then, if I'm sure his needs are met and he is safe, I take a few minutes to utilize a coping mechanism (music, writing, etc.) if I'm feeling anxious or overwhelmed. And I do really enjoy baby snuggles! Any discomfort I have with the noises or the physical contact is well controlled. I'm definitely still learning as a new mom and I appreciate your advice. Parenthood is a rollercoaster!
     
  8. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    That's one thing that never goes away (as long as baby remains willing ;)). My LFA 22yo daughter still enjoys hugs. My MFA 29yo son still expects hugs on my departure from his apartment.

    Most of my other kids have "outgrown" them, but I heard it can come back. Here's hoping.
     
  9. mistermau

    mistermau New Member

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    I'd love to learn about some. I was definitely better at parenting a baby, their needs are extensive but simple. Trying to help a 5 year old learn complicated social behavior and self-care that I still don't understand really, this is much more difficult.
     
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  10. LooseEnds

    LooseEnds Active Member V.I.P Member

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    @Quinny Congratulations on your new baby! And a huge (air!) hug for all the challenges that come with it. I really struggled as a new mum. I'm only self-diagnosed atm but looking back it seems to me that a lot of what I found hard was probably related to my own Aspie needs/challenges. I struggled with the co-occurence of huge difficulty socialising with other new mums at the same time as feeling terribly isolated and alone. Also - babies aren't like inanimate projects, and completely flummoxed my need for order, structure, breathers etc. If I'd known what I know now I think it could have been better or at least less agonising. Be kind to yourself and accept help as much as you can. There is no handbook for parenthood, but other parents' feedback and thoughts are often helpful in different ways. Keep in touch - happy to chat if that would be helpful to you. :)
     
  11. meepmeep

    meepmeep Active Member

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    Interesting. My daughter is 3 years old, and I think the way I do things differently is by explaining things to her more. I don’t do rules for the sake of rules - there’s always a reason for every rule I tell her about and I always explain. I relate to her more on the intellectual level than the emotional level, I think.

    She’s neurotypical as far as I can tell, and a very energetic kid, so I find I need breaks on a regular basis to stay sane. I find that when I’m with her, I have to be “on” far more than in other social situations, and it’s very tiring. Thankfully, I have a wonderful partner who can play with her while I recover. I’m not sure if this is just normal toddler-parenting exhaustion or autism.

    And while I never really wanted an official Dx, this is another good reason to not get one.
     
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