Autism and the word NO!


When my children were small they loved the David books. They are written by David Shannon and according to him are a very accurate description of his childhood. We still have them and read them to our grandson Kolby.When Justin and Jace were  small I had to learn the word no not only for them but for me. I think it is only human nature when you have a special needs child to feel bad that there is an issue and to try to over compensate for it. Much like busy working parents try to overbuy for their children we as special needs parents try to make everything easier for our children. There’s a fine line between helping and enabling as I was to learn the hard way.

Justin had gone to Superkids daycare from age 1-4 so the transition to kindergarten was very hard. He loved superkids and would cry when it was time to go home. There everyone loved on him all day and he could do no wrong. I wouldn’t want to go home either. School was a different ball game. You had to sit on a color, stand in line, be patient and the teacher child ratio was unacceptable to him. He began to pitch fits every morning.It became a pattern I dreaded. He cried, I cried we all cried it was awful. I would carry him into school in mid meltdown and often had the battle scars to prove it. Finally one of his teachers pulled me aside and said “ Donna you are not helping in the mornings. I will meet you at the curb and get him out of the car. “ you need to put him out at the curb. That upset me and I told her I don’t think I can do that I’ll keep carrying him in. She looked me dead on the eye and said “ if you do you’ll be piggy backing him in when he’s 15 and 200 lbs. That was a cold glass of ice water to the face and ego but she was right.


I started leaving him at the curb with his teacher and four days later he was walking in on his own. There have been many times since that day I have had to tell myself No Donna No you are not helping him by doing it for him. At the end of the day children are children and if you give them an inch they will take a country mile. After Covid and children being home over a year I have heard this from a lot of my teacher friends. Children coming to kindergarten not knowing how to open their milk , zip their coat or stand in line. These are not  special needs children.  The earlier we teach them independence the better off they will be. Then there’s the occasional IEP that I Attend with a 15 or 16 year old child with autism who’s raging because they have never been told no. It’s  a sad situation for all. So I encourage you to be kind to yourself and kind to your child but sometimes for the good of all tell yourself  and them No.