“Autism: Where the “randomness of life” collides and clashes with an individual’s need for the sameness”
― Eileen Miller, The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art
I pride myself in always speaking bluntly, even if I’ve been rather lax in posting recently. I’ll get to the reasons for that in a moment. But first and foremost, there’s something I need to get off my chest. Some of you aren’t going to like it. Some of you may choose to stop following my blog in outrage. But maybe, just maybe, some of you will find a little comfort in my horrific admission.
There are days when I don’t like my son.
I know, I know. Society’s view is so rose-tinted when it comes to us martyrs, the selfless parents or caregivers who can always place first the often difficult needs of these incredible children and grant them at least temporary respite in a world that is often a din and mess of confusion.
Well, sorry society. But some days, like today, and just like every other family in the world… some days our kids can just be little buggers too. For reasons so simple as using the wrong coloured box of quick macaroni for dinner, or not knowing how to get them past a particular level on Mario. Some days, like today, you get kicked in the shins just because you’re nearby when they get mad about something, or you find yourself standing in the doorway staring blankly on as they scream incoherent babble, which only escalates in volume and annoyance as you fail to understand said babble.
And I, for one, am far from the perfect parent. I try, every day. But occasionally I bet even Mother Theresa would lock herself in the bathroom for 5 minutes and cuss her head off into a towel, or dab under her eyes with a scrunched up tissue to keep the tears from streaking through her make-up. She probably didn’t wear make-up but you get the drift. We’re only human. We get exhausted, overwhelmed. We feel unappreciated by the very people we’re turning ourselves inside-out for. We feel resentful of friends who can always offer sympathy but not empathy… before they head out to go grocery shopping or go to the movies without having to plan every last minute detail of the trip, the snacks, the seats, any possible way to prolong the calm before the always inevitable storm.
It’s been a tough week, what can I say.
After several months of meetings and appointments (and, I must say, outstanding work on the part of his new speech therapist), there’s now talk of D beginning at a ‘support unit’ for one afternoon a week. And I’ll admit, my hackles are up. And that, more than anything, is probably making him play up a little more than usual. I’m not convinced. I’m not confident. After what we’ve been through, no, I’m not okay with packing off my only child in a taxi with a chaperone to a strange place 20 miles away from his home. I know him better than anyone and if they mess this up the first time, they just won’t get another chance. From him, that is.
That damned balance between ‘overprotective mother’ and ‘overeager education monkeys’.
I don’t like that I can’t be there. Can’t take him in myself. Can’t eat lunch with him or show him where the bathroom is. I really don’t like that in her first ever meeting with him, his so-called expert teacher-to-be committed the ultimate sin (in our house) of trying to physically block him as he tried to come to me for comfort. How am I supposed to tell D that this situation is acceptable, while I’m restraining the urge to smack her round the head for being so ridiculously presumptuous and unwittingly intimidating?
…my post is wandering off-topic somewhat. But you’ll have to forgive me as I think out loud and type.
I love my child. And I’m not so egotistical to claim that my home-schooling is still sufficient, considering how bright he is. I want him to have this chance. But I can also honestly say I’m not comfortable with handing over control in one fell swoop.
I’m not the perfect parent. But I’m the only one he’s got. And nobody’s listening to me. Including D himself, lately. Bizarrely, if he gets frustrated with something then refuses to let me help him with it, I feel provoked. That’s my job.
…oh. I just worked it out. I think. Is the root of all this, the cause of all the tears and tantrums (on both sides), of the sleepless nights and endless worry.. because I’m being made redundant?
So, it’s been mentioned in one of our many recent appointments, that seeing as D enjoys and works well with computers, we might look into getting him an iPad. It’s incredible, the sort of specialist apps that are available for children on the spectrum – I’ve been Googling a lot this morning. But to be honest, I simply can’t afford to get one for him. I even looked into the few mobile phone contracts that are offering the iPad as a ‘free’ gift. They’re still pretty expensive, and besides, I’m stuck with my (rubbish) provider until May anyway.
After a lot of searching through forums, I stumbled upon a link for Smile for Life; a children’s charity in the UK.
‘Based in the North East, Smile For Life primarily helps children from across the North East of England and Scottish Borders. Our vision is to be approachable and accessible to anyone, from any walk of life where our support will make a real difference to a childs life.’
I usually don’t expect charity of any sort, I hasten to add. But this is something I really think would help D, especially as we move forward with new methods of communication. And I thought it was worth mentioning, for anyone else who might find the financial climate a bit chilly.
Even without this sort of help, though, there are a number of handy online resources. I rely upon several, for home schooling. Here’s a couple that have proven popular!