Autism Parenting Tips I Learned From Dr. Sheldon Cooper

TV has a lot of really bad shows that are just mindless but sometimes you run into one that really strikes a chord. Before my son was diagnosed with Autism we had our suspicions. He had always had his challenges & difficulties. He had always been a bit odd or different from the other kids but in small town Oklahoma not only do you not know what to do about it you can’t find anyone who knows anything about it! The turning point was NBC’s show Parenthood, one of the kids was diagnosed with Aspergers on the show. After watching we realized that it fit how our son acted with a shocking amount of accuracy so that was our breaking point, we sought out someone who was familiar with Autism Spectrum Disorders & made his appointment or evaluation.

CBS’s The Big Bang Theory is another one of those show that just hit the nail on the head! So after watching a run of episodes these last couple of days I’m realizing how accurate they really are & how shows like this that not only humanize people on the spectrum but also put a positive or humorous spin on it and it really does help with awareness & acceptance. I’ve already tried my hand at identifying cartoon characters that I think are on the Autism Spectrum, view that blog post here. In honor of one of my favorite characters on television, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I thought I would share some of my favorite parenting skills that I have learned from Sheldon about raising a kid on the spectrum.

  • Pick Your Battles“My Shirt Is Itchy And I Wish I Were Dead!” Pants are the wrong texture, the collar of this shirt lays on my neck wrong, I can’t wear green today! You learn to not only pick your battles but you learn what real battles are! This isn’t even worth fighting over for me. He has a whole closet full of clothes in there so lets just find something that is going to be acceptable. As long as its not a silk button up shirt with cats & wizards on it I’m totally happy! PICK YOUR BATTLES PEOPLE! 
  • Doing ‘Stupid’ Things – Okay, I’ve learned that this is a pretty big one. There are things that we do in this word that are stupid or silly when you think about it. Case in point? Easter Eggs, Valentines Day, little white liess, Elf On The Shelf, the list goes on & on but what most people don’t have is the pleasure of having a kid that will be happy to point out how stupid those things are & you know what..? Sometimes I can’t really sum up with a single reason why we do the things we do but we have to & yes it may be stupid but we have to do it! We all have family, little brothers, moms, school teachers, & others who have expectations & the while I expect the world to be accepting or accommodating  of my son, I expect my son to learn to be the same with the things he doesn’t like or understand. “Let’s do this stupid thing” for a kid with High Functioning Autism or Aspergers is the same as when other parents say to their NT kids “Because I said so!”
  • Manners “If you don’t mind, I’d like to stop listening to you & start talking.” How many of us can hear these words coming out of our own kids mouth? Then again, after thirty minutes or so of listening to the technical breakdown of how something works in Minecraft I am pretty close to saying something along these lines as well. I find it funny that if these words came out of my sons mouth he would probably think it was still considered acceptable manners because he said it politely instead of just starting to talk right over you. Everything is a work in progress! 🙂
  • Celebrate The Small Things – If my son would eat a slice of pizza I would probably throw a party! Probably not a pizza party but a party none the less. I have bribed, threatened, tricked, lied, & my way to making him try new foods & you know what? None of that ever works. You have to just present opportunities for expansion of foods & reward/celebrate the small victories. Even if that victory is that you, the parent, made it through the day & the small celebration is a glass of wine & a bowl of ice cream from the pint you had hidden behind the mini corn dogs in the back of the freezer so no one else in the house would jack it from you… not that I know anything about that!
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12 thoughts on “Autism Parenting Tips I Learned From Dr. Sheldon Cooper

  1. Anonymous

    Yep! My son recently lost a tooth and was like “Don’t put it under my pillow. It’s easier to get it off the table.”

    Reply
  2. Brandy C.

    I love Sheldon, I really do. I have been moved to tears when he progresses, understands something “common” to his peers. Like the video clip above. It’s huge for an ASD person to say they feel comfortable around you…it’s huge. For it to be felt for them and for them to find a way to express it out loud. I’m looking forward to the next season because “How dare they let him go off alone!?!”

    After all he did chase a balloon for miles!!! ��

    Reply
  3. Melissa b

    Love this… though there have been times that BBT has been not as funny to us as to others because it hit a little TOO close to home. We’ve had the discussion about manners “Say Please.” “Why, you didn’t ask me if I wanted you to get me a glass of milk. You just asked if I wanted a glass of milk. And the answer is Yes, I do.”

    Reply
  4. ASDandotheracronyms

    My son wasn’t diagnosed until age 7 but before then we always called him a Cooper in the making. I wish the show could have given Sheldon an official diagnosis because it could give lost parents, like I was a year ago, a better idea of how/where to get help.

    Reply
  5. Brianna Raymond

    I loved reading this, thank you, i can really relate to you and your family. My son was diagnosed few months ago, he was 8years old in second grade. He is name in 3rd and just turned 9 in September. I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m lost, I really need any and all advice possible and/or guidance. Can you help me or push me in the right direction, please?!? Thank you!!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: An unlikely cure for autism; Dr Sheldon Cooper

  7. Keri Riddle

    I just found your blog and have enjoyed what I have been able to read so far. I love the Big Bang theory for many reasons, first of all my husband is an engineer and thus a bit of a nerd so I see a lot of him in the show. But, I also have a son with Asperger’s. He wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 12 and we didn’t get a lot of “outside” help. I feel like we have done pretty well considering the struggles we have endured. I felt very alone when we were raising him, none of my friends had kids like him (other than one friend with a severly autistic child, but she lived in Texas) and it was tough. He is now 27 with two son’s of his own, he is a great single Dad and while he still struggles, he works every day, in an office environment (which in of itself is tough) and is doing a great job. I am very proud of my son and appreciate knowing that there are others out there who have struggled, are struggling, having success, or are just in general are sharing so I don’t feel so alone and neither does he. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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