A Comfortable Rut

Even if you had never heard of such a thing before, I’m sure you can identify with what it is. A comfortable rut is a period of your life where things are just easier to keep doing them as you did the day before, rather than make a disturbance that would be deemed uncomfortable even if it means moving forward.

The most popular of these would be diets, or lack of exercise… or both. Basically you get into the habit of eating the foods you like, you can’t find the time to exercise and eventually it’s just easier to just gain weight even though you don’t want to.

In the case of parenting a child with Autism, it’s a very very easy rut to settle into.

What happens is that you try various diets, various programs, therapies, routines and everything else until eventually something seems to work… something starts to show results and in a little while, it becomes comfortable.

And a few months later you start to realize that your child has been eating the same 4 things every day because it’s just easier than fighting or dealing with the issues that come from not eating. You just start getting used to sleeping at certain times and not sleeping at others. You start dressing your child in the same 3 or 4 outfits (if you’re lucky) because it’s less of a fight to put it on them.

A comfortable rut is exactly what your child with Autism is looking for. We can’t confuse this with a routine. A comfortable rut is what your Autistic child wants, a routine is what they need.

What is the difference between a routine and a comfortable rut?

Well, a comfortable rut sees no progress. There’s no moving forward. For example, instead of trying new foods or dietary supplements or pushing your child to break boundaries, you just keep feeding them the same old thing.

A routine involves doing the same things at the same time but can still be a push forward. For example, when eating with Cameron, we eat at the same time, and he generally eats the same meals but, each day we get him to try something new. Even if it’s just a bite or just a nibble, he tries it. Some things he’s liked, such as combining his cheese and gluten free crackers. Others, like fish… he did not like.

That’s progress while still being in the same routine.

Cameron would prefer to wear the same two Super Mario shirts every day for ever if we let him, which would make for a comfortable rut indeed. Instead, we dress him similar yet different shirts… nothing that will irritate his sensory sensitive skin too much but something that will be less than the most comfortable thing he could wear.

You’ve all heard the motivation speeches, the leaders talk and the get rich guys go on and on… push your personal boundaries if you wish to become more than you are! Well, why wouldn’t it be the same with your kids, especially if Autistic?

If you want your child to get out into the world and be independent, whether your child is very severe on the spectrum or very high, you must push their boundaries if they won’t do it for themselves.

I know, it’s really easier said than done in most cases but I never said it would be easy.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of it or anything because your doctors/therapists will likely be able to help you more than I could if they’ve worked with you before. Moving forward doesn’t mean you stop what you’re doing now, it doesn’t mean breaking from routine… it just means getting out of that comfortable rut and doing it!

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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4 Responses to A Comfortable Rut

  1. Amanda Broadfoot August 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    This is SO TRUE! I find myself falling into the comfortable rut so often: satisfied if we just get through the day without tantrums.

    I was debating whether to risk a trip to the science museum this afternoon and didn’t know whether I had the energy for all the prep involved, but after reading your post, I’m going to FIND the energy. And we’re going to try some new things there.

    Thanks for the reminder that routine and rut are not the same thing 🙂

    • Stuart Duncan August 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

      There ya go! Have a great time at the science museum!

  2. Big Daddy August 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Yup. Every now and again you need to throw a curve ball. Cause a little a chaos to get out of the rut and start the ball of progress rolling again. It’s easier not to because the rut is so comfortable. Been there all summer. Middle school starts in a week. That should be enough to shake us out of the rut.

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  1. Autism is not an excuse for failure, it’s a reason to try harder to succeed | Stuart Duncan - September 30, 2010

    […] written before about a comfortable rut, where you just continue along with what it is easiest but in this case, I mean more than […]

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