web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Life Lessons from Raising an Autistic Child (Part I)


Arnold-020113

I am frustrated, and embarrassed, and, yes, annoyed with Menachem, though logically I know that it is not his fault, that he can’t help the way he is behaving, any more than a baby can be blamed for throwing a tantrum. Menachem functions on the level of a sixteen-month-old, albeit with the strength and speed of a much older child, which makes for a very difficult combination. My wife has trouble restraining him, so it falls to me to be in charge of him, from the moment he gets off the school bus until he goes to sleep (night time is a different matter altogether!). Being in charge of him means more than just keeping him in constant sight; it means being within arm’s length. Always. As I know all too well from experience, Menachem is in constant motion, and one second’s oversight can result in massive mayhem. We’ve tried several times to get household help, so that my wife and I can focus more on our other children, but inevitably, after about two weeks, the hired help would throw in the towel, and we’d be on our own once more.

As I stare at my son, lying in a stubborn lump on the asphalt, both of our tensions rising in the face of the noise and bedlam we are creating, I suddenly pull myself back. There is nothing Menachem can do to get himself out of this situation on his own; Hashem did not give him the tools to do so. So that means it is all up to me. In order to move himself, Menachem needs to calm down. And the only way for him to calm down – is for me to calm down.

I take a deep, stabilizing breath, force myself to ignore the ambient riot, and place a gentle hand on my son, trying to give over a sense of calmness. At long last, he quiets down, and finally, he gets up and we walk together back to the sidewalk.

For the drivers in the backed-up cars, the incident most likely provides grist for a heated retelling at home, capped off with a “Can you believe there are parents like that out there?” or perhaps with a more understanding, “The kid obviously had problems – thank G-d it’s not my son.”

But as for me, I make my way back home, gripping my son’s hand tightly, just another typical day in caring for Menachem.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Life Lessons from Raising an Autistic Child (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Bibi, Abbas Met Before Ceasefire
Latest Sections Stories
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

More Articles from As told to Gila Arnold
Challenging-Parenting-logo

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Challenging-Parenting-logo

Usually Menachem is very hungry when he gets home, and we have food prepared for him. Though logically, he should sit down happily and eat, when he is in such a hungry state logic flies out the window, and, out of frustration, Menachem will knock over and spill the food. So meal time with him involves a lot of cleaning and coaxing. And always, always, vigilance.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when the village has no idea what to do with the child?

Sibling relationships are a world of their own. By nature complex, the intricate dynamic is thrown for a giant loop when a special-needs sibling enters the picture.

The uncle’s story:

When Menachem was a baby, he seemed like any other normally developing kid. Videos from that time show him laughing and reacting to other people; you’d never guess how he would turn out. I don’t know, maybe a professional might have seen the signs, but I certainly didn’t.

The father’s story: What’s your parenting philosophy? How do you feel about discipline? What educational approach do you find most compatible with the sum of yours and your child’s personalities?

Being a preschool teacher is a big responsibility, and believe me, I don’t take it lightly. For these two to three year olds, I’m the first teacher they’ll ever have. My primary concern, of course, is to provide them a safe environment for playing, but I also try to get in some teaching, in a way that’s appropriate for their age.

And underneath there exists the same deep desire for connecting with others that all of us have. More desperate, perhaps, because the desire is trapped inside a mind that doesn’t know how to reach out.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/challenging-parenting/life-lessons-from-raising-an-autistic-child/2013/02/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: