I'd like to think that people are well meaning when they dispense their parenting advise on how to better manage my child who has Aspergers, OCD, ADHD, panic, anxiety, sensory processing and tic disorders. Needless to say, this grouping of behavioral issues makes life difficult for him and, in turn, for us. And, apparently, for those unfortunate people who have to bear witness to it all.
Here are my top 5 "favorite" suggestions, which are really just criticisms of what we are doing wrong:
1. You should spank him. Really? Do you think he wants to behave the way he does? Do you think that hurting him physically will make him change his behavior or just make him more upset and confused? Generally his hyper-focus makes it difficult for him to switch gears. If that's not the issue, his behavior is a result of him not understanding what he should be doing in the situation or is a way of trying to control his environment to reduce his anxiety. Hitting him will only make him more anxious and confused.
2. You should make him eat all his food. He has a fear of swallowing and a phobia of eating certain foods. For him, trying to have the most relaxed and supportive environment is the best way to reinstill a positive relationship surrounding food.
3. Don't give him whatever he wants to eat, he won't starve himself. Um, yes he will. Fear and panic trumps hunger every. single. time. See #2 as far as how establishing a positive relationship with food goes.
4. You give him too many choices. Just tell him to do it. Having controlled choices that he can decide helps give him control over his environment and reduces his anxiety and still gets him to do what we need.
5. Don't let him wear those old clothes. He looks like he's homeless. Having sensory processing disorder, OCD and anxiety means that he feels safe when he wears certain clothing. Taking that away from him only makes him feel anxious - transitioning him to new clothes is the more desired method. Making fun of him and berating him will not help. At all. But it will make me want to strangle you.