Category Archives: self control


Every day of my life I face a kind of moral dilemma. My autism makes self control very difficult. It takes more effort to sit still in class than to do the intellectual work. I have big personal goals for myself. I prefer to have a full life than a hidden, bored one in some remedial class like most other severely autistic people. It is my mission to help them get an education too. None of this is a dilemma. I am clear on my goals, but I struggle morally with my inner forces. My body is programmed in a different way than typical people. It has internal orders that differ from my mind’s intentions. My struggle to control myself is to be kind to others, thoughtful of the space of others and not disruptive in class. Each day I remind myself to do this because it is the right thing to do in spite of how hard it is to accomplish.

Getting Back to Normal

Recently I had a challenging episode of autism at its most intense level. I can’t tell you how horrible it was to live in my body during that brief time, and horrible for people to be in my company too. I am sure I was helped by medication that stabilized my system. It is a lifesaver to have it, that’s for sure. It frightened me to have so little control over my emotional regulatory system, but I am getting back to normal. I have to make it up to the people who were near me then because I’m not happy I behaved the way I did. The consequence of this is that I have to try getting more self control during times of stress and change.

Getting Self Control

This morning my aide for school called to say she was sick. My wonderful dad had to turn around on his way to work and stay with me in the morning. Then my wonderful mom did the same after her meeting so he could go to work. And I had to miss school because there was no sub to be with me. I started thinking about it because I missed being at school, for once. In the past, I, once in a blue moon, had to miss school because my aide was sick and there was no sub. In middle school I didn’t feel too down about that because, like most kids, I liked being home. In elementary school it made little difference in my remedial education whether I went or not, but now I feel happy in school. If I miss it I feel bummed, so I got the insight that I better get more independent so I won’t be in this situation again.
If I could monitor myself better I could have gone today. Autism makes us distracted by impulses, so without my aide I would stim on the way to class, take too long to sit, and be noisy. I need to be a harder worker on my self control if I want to grow into a man, not stay a boy   depending on his mom for guidance all my life. The brain can triumph over many obstacles. I have read a bunch of neurology books about people with brain disorders who healed themselves somehow.
The brain is not a simple organ like the heart or liver because it has the ability to compensate or adapt to injury at times. Who can say what we can overcome or not? It seems to me I must find the way to get more self-control by resisting impulses. That is harder than I can imagine, but I guess I need to start sometime. As with anyone who fights their impulses, it gets easier with practice. But really I need to be determined to do it and I’ll be honest, my determination is not consistent. The knowledge of what I must do is the start, but the fortitude to do it is the finish.

It’s Not Polite

Today I observed that I am hardly the only autistic person who compulsively grabs food. I got together with a group of autistic friends who are all non-verbal and all communicate by typing. I guess sometimes it is necessary to see others do what you do to realize it is really not okay. I tend to grab appetizing things sometimes, even if it is from someone else’s plate. I know it is bad manners. I have been told this many times, but impulsive behavior is not thinking behavior. I saw that my actions are really not acceptable when I saw others do the same. One mom had a drink that looked colorful. Two kids drank from it before she could stop them. The mothers of the drinkers were embarrassed and I thought, “I do that.” Then another family arrived and in seconds the son grabbed my mom’s sandwich and took a bite. Too fast for her to stop him. At first she said, “It’s okay,” when the embarrassed parents apologized. Then she said, “I actually don’t like it when people tell Ido it’s okay because it’s not. I want them to correct it.” The parents agreed and said that people take more offense now that their son is older, so after that my mom told the boy that he shouldn’t bite her sandwich and it’s not okay to take food from her plate. I think people need to do this more. My feeling is that people shouldn’t excuse our bad behavior because we are disabled. When we are rude we need to be told that clearly and not enabled by understanding, polite tolerance of something that isn’t acceptable. My mom wouldn’t have let a dog snatch her food, let alone a human, but we tend to be too forgiving if people have autism. Don’t worry. We can take the correction.