I’ve seen some frustrating behavior in my 11-year-old son this week. What’s so difficult is that it follows a remarkably smooth few weeks. It’s been discouraging to feel that he takes a step forward and then a few steps back. My impatience keeps asserting itself, “We’re moving in the wrong direction!” And tonight I actually said to my husband in frustration, “Why is everything a battle right now? It’s like Corban is experiencing a processing error. I just want this to be easier!”
Then I read a great article by Nicole Beurkens in her Horizons Developmental Resource Center newsletter about Development and Dysregulation, which is commonly seen in children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
She explains that oftentimes our kids will suddenly drop into a very dysregulated time just after developing a new skill or way of thinking about things, or just before they’re about to go through a developmental spurt. She asserts that it may be their brain’s way of reorganizing itself, which can be a dysregulating process.
It’s been a good reminder to me that my autistic son is not experiencing a processing error; he has a totally unique operating system. These steps back don’t indicate a permanent dysregulation, and they’re always followed by a few steps forward. Grow on, Corban!