Saturday, 28 April 2012

In a bit of a Spot!

What's so funny?
The other day I found myself in our local library with a bared footed son who decided to curl up on the settee and declare that "he wished he were dead" to anyone who wanted to listen.
We're having a bit of an autistic day today I whispered to the librarian as I proceeded to try and lift him from his seat and guide him towards the car.
Only a couple of years ago I would have cringed with embarrasment at the stares and disapproving looks we were likely to attract in similar circumstances.I still have my moments but I've hardened over the years.
I can now find it funny that my son chose one night to sleep in a laundry basket, or that he used to sleep in a tent in the bedroom, that he wears his wellies almost constantly or changes his mind on an almost daily basis about what he likes to eat. In a funny sort of way it's almost normal. Particularly as I surround myself with like minded people who spend their days with children who scream for hours, spin round constantly or deal with anger, aggression or oppositional behaviour on a daily basis.
It has changed my outlook on life for the better.I'm more tolerant,tend to see the funny side of things and have made some great friends
Disability brings out the best and worst in people. There are those who don't believe my son has a disability, he looks perfectly normal, is articulate and funny and when he swears and shouts they blame me as his mother for lack of discipline.
Then there are the gems, who listen and support. Like my mother who calls daily to see that I'm O.K, offers to look after my son to give me a break and laughs at the funny comments my son comes out with., or my friend who tells me her son was just the same and that we are welcome at any time. Funnily enough when my son is accepted he is relaxed and happy and we rarely see the stress he reveals when he's confronted, or shouted at or judged by people who are frightened he will hurt their children or swear. They don't want to acknowledge that it is they that often cause the behaviour by the things they do and say!
Autism is a funny thing, you can't describe it, you have to live with it and what one family will experience will be completely different from another. It's difficult to explain that it's not that your son doesn't like black shoes ,he just refuses to wear them, or that he won't get into the car to go out or that he refuses to do his maths.It's not just a simple matter of 'making' him do it as many parents believe. The brain is inflexible, it's unable to move from it's mindset,or choose between the sweets on offer or accept that 'going to town' doesn't mean shopping in the supermarket but actually spending the afternoon at the toy shop. It's a narrow and limiting world, a frightening world where routine makes you feel safe , secure and loved. So next time you see a child who appears to be misbehaving in the supermarket or at the shops, take a minuteand think - it may not be bad behaviour it may be autism!

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