Two Problems with Misbehavior
Tonight, I am wrestling with two problems with Alan's poor behavior choices while going to activities outside the home when I am not present. Up until recent months, he never did go anywhere without someone in the family as escort.
On Saturday night, he went to his usual gym for a parks and recs sponsored evening of dinner and activity. The participants were all older teens and some adults with disabilities. He was known to the gym director and also to one of the parks and recreation department workers. At the beginning, Alan did fine, I was told. However, when there were opportunities to use the foam pit and to throw the foam blocks, he repeatedly threw them at people's faces. He did not stop when asked. In the end, when Dad and I arrived to collect him, we could see that he was told to stop but he kept up throwing the blocks. Dad went out on the gym floor and retrieved him. Once home, I had him write lines which stated that he must stop when asked to stop and he must not throw things at people's faces. I also e-mailed the director, requesting that he give Alan push ups or another immediate consequence when he was asked to stop something and he didn't comply, the very first time. He was agreeable to that and e-mailed me back the same evening. He did request that I tell Alan that was going to happen. I did, and I will remind him each time he goes to gym for awhile. I had hoped that that was the end of that.
Today, Alan went to the Teen Center, where he likes to play basketball and pool. When I came back to pick him up, three adults met me and started to explain about having a problem with Alan on the basketball court. He kept throwing a ball at an empty bottle, as I understood it. I am not entirely clear yet on what he did except that he did it repeatedly and would not quit, so was asked to leave the gym. I think the adult men agreed that they will work with Alan to teach him basketball rules while he is at the gym. I also requested that the adult give an immediate consequence if Alan repeated a misbehavior. Now he is writing lines again about having to stop when he is asked to stop. Unfortunately, he does think that something about it all is funny and keeps chortling. He did agree that he is going to have to learn to stop something the first time he is asked.
The first problem, then is getting Alan to behave when under the supervision of other adults. I hope that I have set up a reasonable partnership with these people who will have Alan under their care again. On the one hand, we need to be certain he understands what is being asked. On the other, we have to hold him to the standards we set for anyone else who understands. He gets no by for having autism.
The second problem is in my head. It is really hard for me not to feel as though I have failed somehow. If I had done something differently, somehow, in his up-bringing to this point, would he have acted like this? I know I am a good parent. I have two reasonable successful adult children. All the same, I am fighting the feeling that I need to be doing something more or something better. It is easier for me to tell other parents that they are doing a good job and that their child's own will to act poorly is not a result of some lack in the parent. I need someone to tell me the same.