One of the things I love about blogging is being able to find other people who write about topics near and dear to my heart... and one of the first people I met that regularly writes about Autism and Aspergers is my bloggy friend, Cheryl from Little Bit Quirky. Cheryl has a daughter who has high functioning Autism and often writes about the ups and downs she and her family experience. When I asked her to guest blog on Acting Balanced, she had this post ready in minutes! Please pop over to Little Bit Quirky when you've finished reading this post and see what is going on in their quirky world!
One thing I learned about autism is that treating it is like a big whack-a-mole game. You focus therapies on eliminating some behaviors. For example, one of the first behaviors we tackled with our daughter was her rigidity. If things didn't go her way, she would meltdown faster than Chernobyl. She dropped her grape on the ground? Huge tantrum! Time to leave preschool? Huge tantrum! I'd make a left turn driving when she wanted me to turn right? Huge tantrum! The behavior therapy to increase her flexibility started off pretty successfully. She learned how to say, "Oh, well!" if something didn't go the way she wanted. But then something weird happened: a new behavior cropped up! My daughter started to get really ritualistic. If we didn't go through our routines in the exact way each day, then she would have meltdowns. Our behaviorist told us that this is totally normal. Oftentimes, when treating autistic children, eliminating one behavior just creates a new one to crop up. For some kids with autism, there's always going to be some behavior, you just try to find the behavior that you can live with the most. Of course, even after a behavior is "eliminated," it's still bound to come popping up again at a different time! Ironically, my daughter did really well playing a Whack-a-Mole game the last time she was at Chuck E. Cheese. Coincidence? I think not!