Saturday, July 16, 2011

Helicopter Parenting a child with ASD

Helicopter parenting. We have all heard it it and know where it is. Its that parent/parents that follow thier kids all over the play ground.

One day while at the play ground with both kids I realize I have become that parent with Elliot and Alvin both in different ways.

With Elliot its because she is an almost 2 year old little girl that I'm pretty sure thinks she is a 4 year old boy. She is absolutley fearless and will climb on anything and everything around. Last weekend we even caught her climbing a 6 foot ladder trying to get to where she could hang from the monkey bars! I follow her around making sure she doesn't get in too much trouble. At the gym I just let her run. Its a fairly safe environment and she pays attention pretty well during class (for an almost 2 year old) and is generally well behaved.
Group hula hoop activity

Playing with the parachute

Practicing walking on the balance beam by herself!
Swinging around.

Alvin on the other hand is the complete opposite. At the play ground as long as he is in the general area and I can see flashes of him running on the equipment I don't care too much. The gym is another story though. To me the gym is a form of therapy and I tend to make sure he is doing what he should. He is normally pretty good during the warmup and group activity but station work is harder. He is expected to stay with a small group and one teacher and only do the activities at that station. Well for him that is really hard! There are bright colors and other activity going on that its just too hard to resist sometimes. With the gym I do tend to intervene. I have an understanding with the staff that if he gets too distracted that I do walk in and redirect him back to his group. I feel this is important to make sure he at least tries everything.
Group activity on the airtrack.

The gym stations work on specific things that work different motor skills.The other thing that stations do is work on building his confidence to try new things. The specifically challenge him to do more every week and constantly work to remove him from his comfort zone little by little.

The videos below are from show week a few months ago. Even for his routines the instructors are always working to bring him out of his shell more. This past week he even did a flip on the bar for the first time ever!

The helicopter parenting aspect comes from how I act in the gym as compared to other parents. I do get odd looks from the other parents there. If their child isn't paying attention or goofing off otherwise they generally don't care. The dirty looks I get for redirecting him is actually funny. Most people just think he is odd and think I'm over doing it but little do they know.

So what are your thoughts? Do you helicopter parent at times?

1 comment:

  1. I have a sub-category of helicopter parenting. I use my three year old autistic son's brother (aged six) as a sort of sheep dog. When we are, for example, in the park, his older brother stops him going past defined boundaries that I've set. Shameful, I know, but I'm not as young as I was and this (asd) parenting lark is exhausting!