From Autism with a Side of Fries

The Three Month Rule

Enjoy this delightfully personal shout out from Eilleen Shaklee to new autism parents and how they should approach behaviors both good and bad

Today I was interviewed by a graduate student who was doing research on autism, parenting, and all that jazz.  One of his last questions was “What would you tell a new to autism family or just any family that maybe just needed some inspiration?”

So I told him the secret of my sanity. (No, it’s not wine.) It’s wait three months.

Three, just like Schoolhouse rock taught us, is the magic number. The months part? Well that’s just good dating advice I learned in college. An on campus therapist there was once sympathetically listening to me whinge about a guy that I was SO head over heels for and how I just couldn’t imagine myself with anyone else.  She had spent a better part of an hour listening to me list some not so hot qualities about this guy. (What can I say? I was 20 and stupid.)

She looked at me, smiled and said “Wait three months before you do anything serious with this guy. If he’s a stand up guy, he’ll still be around and if he’s not, your life will still have a chance to be different in ways you don’t know yet.”

Yeah, guess who was GONE after a month?  Guess who was super glad she didn’t waste her time or energy chasing after that guy?  Guess who also found herself looking at the calendar one day three months later and realized “Damn, she was right. Things can be so radically different just in three months.”

This applies to parenting and all things Autism because in three months everything can be totally and completely different. This can be both good and bad but it’s a reminder that most importantly, nothing is ever stuck in that one spot.  You can choose to change it. You can choose to move it along or if you want, just stay stuck in it.  (I don’t suggest that last one.  It really blows and just sucks the life out of you.)

For example, Kiddo is loud. Like makes a death metal concert look kind of mellow loud.  With this comes different stim noises and or phrases that he just latches on and repeats.  In some ways, you sort of get use to it. They become a bit of white noise in the background to you but every once and a while, say every THREE MONTHS, one will be like having an ice pick jammed in your ear.  For whatever reason, it will be the perfect combination of awful but as my husband often says to me. “Don’t worry Hon. In a few weeks, he’ll pick an even more annoying sound to make.”  And you know what? He’s right!  (Hey, look at that Daddy Fry. I said you were right. You might want to print this blog post out and frame it.)

But my point is, eventually, it always changes. For a condition where people aren’t suppose to be digging change, my Kiddo does it a lot.  He just does it at his own pace and I’ll just have to use my ear plugs and white knuckle right through it.

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External Resources

International Bipolar Disorder Foundation

Mayo Clinic

Genetics Home Reference – NIH

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop