Good Decision Maker…Part 2

OK…the other part of things…as a result of being allowed maximum autonomy, PanKwake has…

  • Tried new foods and increased the variety in her diet day-to-day…something that OT failed to accomplish…
  • Is constantly shocking me, Cookie Monster, and others with all she does know…and more importantly how good she is at evaluating sources and making fully informed opinions on the issues…
  • Managed to go from several seizures a night to none in almost two years…and medication free…
  • Build a network of peers and friends…maintaining friendships…and just as importantly being able to let go of relationships that are no longer healthy…
  • Has long term career goals…and back up plans…
  • Doing remarkable in terms of emotional self-regulation…for anyone…let alone an #Autistic…and especially a PDAer (Pathological Demand Avoidance is marked by its mood lobility)…

All by twelve…

I stand in awe and wonder at the human she already is…and cannot even imagine the World Changer that she will one day be…hmmm…already is… (Check out this YouTube video).

Is this the same little human who could not be taken to a store at two? Who melted down almost every single day after school? Who said things like…I wish I were dead…during her meltdowns? Who did runners when she got upset? Who we had to put knives out of reach from? (All shared with PanKwake’s permission.)

How did this happen?

No…it is not my marvelous parenting. Most of it is simple brain development. Maturity. Growing up. And that takes time. Patience.

But my role was and is to respect and enable PanKwake. To encourage her to make as many decisions as she can for herself.

When she was little, the ‘experts’ used to tell me that I gave her too many choices. For instance, when she said she was hungry I always began by offering her three choices. They said two. I was giving her too many options they complained.

Admittedly, food remains a hot button area. Though she rarely meltdowns over it anymore, she still has trouble making choices. And these days she will NOT settle for just three options. She wants to know ALL the ones we have. Sometimes by the time I get to the end, I have to begin all over again because she has forgotten them.

But she has come so far…and this is an important area for work. One day she will have to do this for herself…or have someone else assist her.

It is other things too though…

I remember one toy shopping trip. It was a total disaster. One meltdown after another. Because her father was not patient with her…would not give her time to make her choice. His solution was not to take her shopping in the future…just buy what he wanted for her. That Control & Conditioning methodlogy we talked about yesterday.

Mine is stark contrast. I have a budget in mind…plus or minus a bit. We go into a shop…when it is quiet. I tag along with her as she grabs loads of stuff off the shelf. The possibilities.

She then lays them all out on the floor. Looking at them…touching…asking questions. She will then eliminate a couple. She will ask me my opinion which should she get. I will tell her what I think…in pros/cons language. You have X sort of like that. Or you need this one to complete your set… But she and I BOTH know it is my opinion. And like most little humans…more often than not she does exactly the opposite.

When it is down to around three…I will narrow the choice…a bit. Usually based on price. You can buy that one…or both of those. And sometimes…when I can afford it…I allow all three of them.

We head for the check out…and too often run into a small other one. Sometimes yes…and sometimes no.

And I always tell her…

You are very good at decision making.

PDAers (That is shorthand for Pathological Demand Avoidant person) are not known for being good at accepting praise. And at first, she was the typical ignore or avoid it. But over years (five plus now), she has come to the point that she herself will tell people how good she is at making decisions.

Oh, those shopping trips were once a month…when she DLA came…because I always have considered that HER money. And while I did and still do use it to provide her essentials, I always made rewarding her just for being a priority. I think too often we don’t do that often enough…for our little humans or ourselves.

When it comes to other things like washing, cussing, and what events we do and don’t attend, we have full on discussions. Like those indigenous tribes we talked about yesterday…we are equals.

For instance, her autism and the sensory issues around it make water touching her skin painful. It is a sensitivity that changed over time. I went from a little girl who had to have three to four tubs of water per day…used baths as self-soothing to a tween with body odor issues who cannot tolerate showers or baths.

So we get creative. We take her to the local pool as often as she will go. We have even talked about this one. She tells me…the water hurts me at the pool too, but I am having so much fun that it is worth it. Of course, she will use foam soap even on her hair in the shower afterwards. Because of the chlorine.

And in between…we use baby wipes. Not daily. But usually before her friends come over. We had a long discussion about how her body odor might make them uncomfortable…and how they might not want to be her friend then.

We have also had long discussions about the societal and cultural context. Right down to PanKwake showing me scientific videos about how daily bathing is bad for your skin.

The same is true for cussing. I admittedly have a potty mouth. (Just in case you have not read enough of my blogs to know that for yourself.) I totally buy the fact that studies show cussing like a sailor is a sign of intelligence. I have never been one to censor my children’s language. I don’t need to…

Here is a secret…

Little humans WANT to fit in. They want to be as ‘normal’ as they can. So they quickly pick up on societal norms…yes, even the #ActuallyAutistic ones…it may just take a bit longer.

In particular, two of PanKwake’s best friends are religious. When they started to come over and especially game with her, we had a long discussion about how there was nothing wrong with any word in and of itself…but some people and some religions might have trouble with some words. I explained that while this was her home and she was always free to do what she made her comfortable in it…if she used certain words around them then their parents might not be comfortable bringing them around.

Not only did she decide to not cuss around them…but she cut back a great deal on doing so even when they were not. I think this is because she feared forgetting so it was just easier to to let out a Xena Warrior Princess yell while killing zombies than to use my fav…F-word.

But that was her choice. Her decision.

And that is the point…

We prepare our little humans best for life when we begin giving them as many choices as early as possible.

What is the big deal with allowing your two year old to choose her own clothes? So she does not coordinate…does not look like a doll…the world is not going to complement your parent skills…though they should.

Isn’t it more empowering to discuss your concerns about foods or technology with your little humans? Give them your evidence…ask them how they feel. If you absolutely cannot release that ingrained Control & Conditioning (and trust me I know how ostercized it makes you…and even I still have areas where I struggle to release control and trust PanKwake’s choices) then could you find middle ground…compromise?

The important thing is to give them as much practice in the safety net of your love as possible. And as much praise for…Good decision making…as you can too.

Final story…we have a wonderful young #HomeEd man who works with us around the house once a week (paid of course). This also happens to be a day when PanKwake’s friend is here too. So that almost always means…Dominos.

So this young man asked for his own large pepperoni pizza and bottle of Coke. Not cheap in addition to the more than fair hourly rate we pay…but in case you ain’t guessed it yet…Little Humans rule at #HomeCrazzyHome.

Before he left, he came up to me and said…You know I learned something. One person cannot eat twelve pieces of pizza by himself.

You see, folks, it does not take our little humans many tunny aches, skinned knees, burned fingers to learn. It is called Natural Selection…and it works pretty darn good for our species too.

Even if you are not ready to throw out the rule book…if you are still wed to societal expectations of what a ‘good’ parent is…I hope I have challenged you just a bit. I hope that next to are about to say…Do this…because I said so… You will stop and consider…

Could I let my little human make this one for herself?

Do it…as often as you will give yourself permission to. That is the only way that our little humans learn to be…

Good Decision Makers…

And if you ain’t caught some of the news headlines lately this world is woefully lacking in those…even in high places…or should that say…especially in high places?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: