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I Hate the Struggles that Come with Autism, but Not My Son's Autism

It’s 7 p.m. Your child is yelling his head off because he does not want to hop in the bath. Tears are running down his face leaving clear trails in all the grime. Bribes have been offered. Voices raised in despair. Visual schedules and timers have failed to move him. He does not want to have a bath, and that is it.

You’re exhausted and stunned by the intensity of his tantrum. Unfortunately, you cannot budge, and you cannot give in because you’re scared that it will set a precedent: Mom’s a pushover. But you also know that this tired little boy is soon approaching meltdown junction, where all bets are off and nobody wins.

You take deep breaths and tell yourself it’s not about you right now. How do you help him navigate this? He loves bath time. He loves water. He’d practically stay at the pool if you’d let him. So why is it suddenly so hard for him? Why does this bright boy who can do math in his head and talk at length about how to build an airplane struggle with a simple concept of “grimy body = needs bath.”

It’s impossible to be truly mindful and empathetic at all times. When kids have a meltdown, it’s far more natural to gnash your teeth, blame autism, and hunker down till the storm passes over. Heck, I do that more often than I like to. I’m not one of those evolved moms who have a handy bag of tricks and snippets of wisdom.

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