Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Raising a kid with High functioning Autism or Aspergers, can be challenging. Watching Max with his cockroach at the table on Parenthood last night gave me a flashback.

Two years ago my son had a new hero, Wario. For those of you who aren't familiar with the character, let me just say his claim to fame is passing gas. Big huge toxic clouds of it... Once my son discovered him he used the word "fart" in any and every way imaginable. He brought it into every conversation and was thrilled when he could pass gas near his friends or family.

This all came to a head one day when we were driving in my friend's van and none of the kids wanted to sit by him... The whole van smelled horrible, and G was laughing uncontrollably. Because this behavior was isolating G, I had to come up with a strategy to encourage him to change.

I always start with my favorite tool, positive reinforcement. But how does one positively reinforce attempts to change this behavior? I decided that if G can make it through the day without referring to passing gas or burping AND if he can manage to do these things *privately* he would earn a dollar.

People were appalled when I shared this, they said I was bribing my son. Well things get tricky as my son gets older. I can't use "TV" time because like Max in Parenthood, my son already gets TV time. There is one thing that truly motivates him since becoming a teenager and its money.

Eventually G stopped the whole farting thing, a huge relief to all involved to be sure. I think by the time it was over I had given him close to $20. The thing that still bothers me, well to be honest it makes me feel bad, is when I feel judged. I probably could have handled this differently, but I didn't. This was the only solution my sleep deprived brain could come up with and it worked. So please don't judge me, just come along side me and my family in this journey. I don't want any pity just a tiny bit of understanding.


Sue from Oz said...

Hey Bonnie,
I completely agree, do what works! I "bribe" my son to eat 2 carrot sticks for tea instead of one by letting him have his favourite icecream for dessert instead of plain. I have experienced a lot of "judgement" over the years with regard to his eating.
God Bless You

Chynna said...

Bonnie, we've had to do similar things with Jaimie (bribing her to stay in her bed at night instead of waking me up on an hourly basis to 'chat' or to come with her to the bathroom) and my son, Xander (bribing him with...well...most things, actually). When positive reinforcement doesn't work, I think it's okay to do things like that. With Jaimie, though, we have to be careful with it because she incorporates everything into her routine in order to 'get' things.

(As I type this, I have had to tell Xander if he stays on the toilet and poops...which he hasn't allowed himself to do in almost 4 days!...I'll give him a treat.)

Sometimes, you just need to. =)