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Life Lessons From Raising An Autistic Child (Part III) – Therapy


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And then there’s the all-important question: which approach is best for me? Which technique jives best with my household, my family dynamic, my personality? There’s something about the ABA approach that speaks more to me, and I’ve learned, through testing my limits, that I’m able to effectively carry it out, to see an incident through to the end, to refuse to negatively reinforce a tantrum though it is so very tempting when we are in the supermarket and one simple promise of a cookie has the potential to make him pop up and cut short my embarrassment. Still, I refuse, and wait until he has reached the calming down point, only then reinforcing that positive behavior with a treat. When I’m with Menachem, there’s no such thing as needing to get to another appointment in fifteen minutes. I am with him fully, and everything else in my life stops.

Yet my wife has a more natural affinity to DIR, to entering his world and making him understand how beautiful it is to connect to others. And this is good, because Menachem needs both approaches, and even if his schooling up ‘til now has not been a resounding success, we have learned the lesson that every parent, to be a good parent, must come to realize: that, at the end of the day, the responsibility for educating our child falls squarely on our own shoulders.

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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.

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