Does he rule the house?

I over heard a comment from a family member last weekend.  He commented that Tony ruled the house – and that we all tip-toed around him. 

It’s so true.

I didn’t realize how evident that was until last weekend.  It’s so ‘normal’ for us that we don’t even notice it anymore.  But last weekend we were staying at my parent’s house and it really became apparent.  Tony has certain “rules” that we’ve all just become accustomed to.  We’ve all adjusted because he can’t.  It’s not easy and it makes for a very tense environment sometimes.  Here’s what I noticed:  (keep in mind there is no explanation for any of these…. they just are…)

Rule #1:  Do not yawn.  Especially no yawning and talking at the same time. 

Rule #2:  Do not have loud background noise.   That means TVs, radios, computers, vacuums, or hand mixers (can use, but need to alert him first)

Rule #3:  Do not sneeze and scream at the same time (some people do that w/out realizing it)

Rule #4:  Do not say “blah, blah, blah….”   while speaking.

Rule #5:  I need to see all your old photographs when I visit

Rule #6:  I also need to take a mental inventory of all your DVDs, and any VHS movies you may have

Rule #7:  I rule the TV.  I will block the other channels while I’m here, but will unblock them before I go

Rule #8:  No loud unexpected laughter.  Please.

Rule #9:  Unlimited baths are expected

Rule #10:  Friday night is pizza night.  It must be gluten-free.

Rule #11:  I need to touch you on the chin and the head every time you yawn, sneeze, or sing

Rule #12:  Keep things orderly and predictable.  Please.  I need to know the schedule.

Rule #13:  No deviations in the schedule.  Please.

Rule #14:  Absolutely do not change your mind or give me more options.

There are so many other things I could add.  So many that they don’t even seem odd to me anymore.  To all those we’ve visited, I’m sorry.  I hope it doesn’t reflect as bad parenting.  It is what it is.  It’s part of his disorder — part of his dis-ease.  Some of these rules come and go, some have been around for years. 

What is the lesson here?  I’d appreciate any and all advice.  In the mean time, we will continue to follow the rules.  Because it keeps peace in our house.   And peace of mind is all we’re asking for…



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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You know what?
    We have “rules” here too.
    Some of them “odd” some of them not but we have also been accused of letting our AS sons rule the house,
    I see it as taking the path of least resistance.
    ANYTHING to avoid meltdowns I say!
    It’s a hard one and I don’t think there really is a “right” answer but remember that those offering this “helpful advice and comments” are not the ones that have to live with autism 24/7 365 days a year!

  2. I totally remember when things were this way in our house. I am thankful…ever so thankful…that we aren’t at this level of rigidity anymore that does rule your life without you even realizing it…until you take a step back and look through new eyes.
    You do what you need to do to live with autism…that’s just the way it is.

  3. I read all of those rules and have dealt with very much the same thing. My son is 7 and has Autism and we also have a daughter who is 9. It is sort of like a pick your battles thing at our house. There are some things that have to be a certain way for David, but we are careful not to let him get carried away. It would not be fair to Skylar to make everything go his way. She does understand her brothers disability and knows that there are some things that can not change and need to be a certain way for him. That is living with Autism. We just try to be aware.

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