One of the quandaries that comes along with Aaron’s autism is our being able to understand what makes him tick. Was his refusal to go to Paradigm yesterday willful disobedience or is this behavior a result of his autism? Can he control these issues and feelings that he has? We’ve come a long way with Aaron, both in helping him learn to control his emotions and helping ourselves understand from where those outbursts come. Yet he is wired very differently from the rest of us in the family and that wiring cannot be undone. Training, talking, resolving, redirecting – all are important – but some facets of his autism will never be able to be disciplined away.
Such was the case yesterday when he refused to go to Paradigm. As his tone escalated and he was becoming agitated, I had a choice to make. I could also escalate in my frustration, which would only have compounded the problem. Anger or outbursts never, ever, ever work with Aaron. He is rarely intimidated or redirected through our frustrations. But he WILL react, and not in a positive way. The best thing to do is to try to get him to do what is hardest for him – it’s best to try to enable him to express verbally why he is feeling the way that he is at the moment.
So through deep breaths and calmness yesterday I asked him questions, assuring him that my purpose was to try to understand his reasoning and his feelings. I guided him through his responses until he was finally able to verbalize the bottom line when he said that because of the Halloween party, Paradigm was not Paradigm to him today. No amount of pizza or candy could entice him to go.
Yes, I was frustrated but I also had to have a little talk with myself. There’s no room for selfishness when dealing with special needs of any kind in our children. Was I as concerned about Aaron as much as I was concerned about my own schedule and plans? Was my initial response of not wanting to speak to him for the rest of the day a loving way to react to the needs of my son? How can I preach understanding and acceptance, and then have a desire to ignore my son for the rest of the day?
I looked outside and saw him sitting under a tree near the garden, totally immersed in breaking leaves and twigs into his bucket. Concentrating hard, he was, and sorting out all the conflicting thoughts he was having. And my mother heart went out to him and the Lord filled me with a special love for my special boy. I had a couple quick errands to run and so I slipped off while he was occupied. And while I was out I ran into Papa Murphy’s and got the Jack-‘O-Lantern pizza we had seen on commercials. Aaron was surprised and happy when I called him in later for lunch.
We enjoyed our lunch together, and Aaron talked about all sorts of things, as always, that pop into that head of his. He then clipped some more of my coupons until he got tired and thumped up the stairs to his room to play a game on his computer. I got everything done I wanted to yesterday, and I had no regrets. Thank you, Lord, for Your patience with me and for enabling me to practice patience with this son that I love so much.