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Autism: Understanding Behaviour

McCreadie, Michael and Milton, Damian (2020) Autism: Understanding Behaviour. In: Milton, Damian and Murray, Dinah and Ridout, Susy and Martin, Nicola and Mills, Richard, eds. The Neurodiversity Reader. Pavilion, Hove, UK, pp. 159-176. ISBN 978-1-912755-39-4. (KAR id:83334)


Being a parent is a demanding role. It places demands on our tolerance, our time, our energy levels, our coping skills and our physical stamina. But in the end the large majority of us consider that the attachments we form with our children, the pleasure they give us, the opportunities to contribute to their lives and the affection we receive back is all worth it. From the moment of our child's birth we attune to their movement and vocalisation, and in the dance of interaction we hope they attune to us. As our daughters and sons develop, we observe changes in the nature of our interactions. Development necessitates changes in bodies and minds, and so we adapt our own expectations and anticipation of our child’s behaviour to retain synchronicity and share common experience. The changes in our engagements reflect the development in reaching common milestones in the nature of parent-child interaction, primarily initiated by the anticipated development of the child. Ultimately, we expect that our children will become adults and each family may have a set of expectations that may or may not be reached. For a range of cultural, ethical and legal reasons, our children generally become adults in their own right at the age of 16, but it should be remembered that they never stop being our sons and daughters, and the bonds developed in childhood are equally as strong when our children become adults. Most of us cope well with the demands our children make of us, although we can feel an overwhelming sensation of frustration from time to time. However, some of us find it difficult to cope at times. Irrespective of disability, some parents are just more able to cope than others, and from time to time all of us need help, whether it be from family members, friends or outside agencies. Parents of autistic children are no different in their coping resources than any other parent, but they can be faced by a range of what they may see as confusing behaviour from their child that can alter how they engage. For some families this can place unanticipated demands, create challenging situations and stress within parent-child interactions, particularly when in public settings where the stakes are high and social cost significant. This chapter discusses the demands placed on parent-child interactions. It aims to provide some guidance as to how to derive meaning through interaction and offer some tips and strategies that will facilitate engagement. While this chapter is primarily aimed at parents and carers of autistic children as well as practitioners working with autistic children, not all of the information or strategies will be relevant or appropriate for a particular child. Each person and situation is unique, so it’s important to think about how the issues discussed here relate to your own context.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism, Behaviour, Neurodiversity, Intervention
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2020 13:03 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 17:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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