I thought I would write about something that I have experienced in the past couple of weeks. I have been impressed with our son so much in the past few months. He has been doing amazing and has made some significant gains!
I experienced a few things in the last couple of weeks that were not that amazing. In fact they were crappy and made me feel horrible.
Whether or not you have a child in your life on the spectrum or not, I am quite certain that all of us have seen kids with autism.
In my mind I always want to be moving forward as do most parents, no matter what their situation. But I seem to put a lot of pressure on my child at times in order to do this. Not only do I compare him, but it’s like I don’t want him to fail or I don’t want him to have a bad “behaviour” or feelings. Is this right? No, it’s not and this is where I have to take a step back.
In the last couple of weeks our son has had a lot of changes and for the most part he’s been adjusting quite well with no issues. Then a few things happened and he was struggling.
He’s preparing for high school (he’s in grade 8) so he started taking the bus to and from school so he would be ready for this routine in the Fall. It started last week and he had to get up a bit earlier. I had reminded him about the bus and we were waiting outside talking about it. The bus never came. I had to call the company and they didn’t know what happened so I ended up driving our son to school, which normally would have been fine but now he was wondering what happened and was looking forward to going on the bus. I explained to him that perhaps the bus had a mechanical issue and that we had to drive.
When I picked him up at lunch he was not in a great mood. Knowing him the way I do, I could tell he had been thinking about the bus all morning.
At lunch, he was pleasant enough and seemed okay when he went back to school. Unfortunately, I got a phone call not long after I dropped him off saying that he wanted to come home. I was annoyed at first and then went to pick him up. The teacher told me that he got upset and dumped a bunch of stuff – something he hasn’t done in a long time. Then he told me how sad he was and that he just wanted to go home. It was then that I realized that I needed to change my mindset.
I needed to be more in tune with his feelings and listen to his needs. Sometimes, this is difficult but I have been trying really hard to improve my skills in this area.
We then had a wedding to attend on the weekend. Our son was not feeling that great as he had been fighting a cold. Just like anyone when you are not feeling well, you don’t want to be out and you certainly don’t want to have to sit and pay attention for a long time. You just feel like you want to be by yourself and chill.
Nevertheless, I felt we had to go as both the bride and groom had worked with our son at school and he was the reason we were invited to the wedding. In hindsight, it may not have been the best decision but we did it anyway.
We were a little early arriving at the church. The service was long and our son hadn’t had any prior issues sitting for longer periods for a very long time, but this day he did. About halfway through the service, he said he wanted to leave. Not quietly, but very loud so everyone could hear him. My husband took him out of the church. I crossed my fingers that either he would stay out for the vows or come back and remain calm and quiet. All I could think about was their wedding video with his voice saying something on it – a permanent memory.
He came back into the church. Again, not quietly. I remained calm and he did great for the rest of the service.
Talking about mindset – looking back I realize that I need to adjust mine at times. I’m not usually affected by things he does in a negative way but for some reason that day I was feeling it.
After the service, I felt the need to apologize to the couple (if you are an autism parent you probably have done this a lot.) They were totally fine because they both knew our son very well. But I had to ask myself, why do I always feel that way? I guess it’s human nature. People looking at us, perhaps judging us or talking about us, I don’t know. I know that there were people at this wedding that would never understand this but I also need to change my mindset and realize that my child has come so far and he has done so many amazing things and even if others don’t notice it, that it’s totally okay. I know and that’s all that matters.
I think I will always remember kindness that people show me in difficult situations and I hope that I am able in turn to show this to others as well.