Sunday, 16 April 2017

Autism and the new life that it brings



At this time of year; despite the rest of the world seemingly partaking in endless fun and frivolity, for families like ours… well we can sometimes feel an acute sense of isolation and pain.
The family traditions, celebrations, and get togethers that have become somewhat mandatory during Easter can serve to highlight to us that our family simply isn’t like everyone else’s.
The changes to routine and school holidays, the family roast dinners and fish on Fridays. The ‘fun’ egg hunts with his cousins in his nannas back garden in the rain on a drizzly Easter Sunday afternoon. Well, all these things my son finds hard.

Yet year after year we have forced him, pushed and cajoled him to partake in our traditions. At times, I am ashamed to say even ignoring his own wishes because we didn’t want his sisters to miss out on what the rest of the world was doing.  

Because this is what families do at Easter isn’t it?
They have fun.
Its idyllic and perfect, all smiles and happiness.
Isn’t it?
Its baking and egg painting, Easter bonnets and hiding mini eggs around the house while the kids are sleeping. (Well that’s what Facebooks and Mumsnet tells us anyway.)

It’s not meltdowns and anxiety, ear defenders and being stuck in the house for days on end. Timetables that have be followed and mashed potato butties for dinner… is it? (There no mention of that on Instagram is there?)
Well, who’s to say what’s right and wrong, what we should and shouldn’t be doing and what our family life should look like? Where does all this pressure to be a ‘picture-perfect’ family come from anyway I want to know.
For families like ours, times like this will inevitably throw up complications and changes to family life. We have learnt to accept that.
Over the years, I think the passage of time has taught me to go with the flow and roll with the punches a bit more. Its helped me to develop a thick skin to other people’s opinions and sod what everybody else thinks. They don’t have to walk in my shoes, or my sons for that matter! So, I have learnt to do what right for us.
For me and my husband, my daughters…and my son.
So, this year due to my sons deeply help beliefs about palm oil, there will be no chocolate for him this Easter. I have to admit it’s been a tough few weeks to get through… as you can imagine at this time of year with chocolate products bursting off every shelf, hijacking every TV advert, and lurking around every corner…avoiding the dreaded palm oil has been somewhat tricky to say the least.
And not only that, but this year he has become increasingly upset and aggravated at all the products that unsuspecting well-wishers have bought as gifts for his sisters that contain palm oil. He feels that because he holds these beliefs, then so should everyone else in the family. Which can make for some interesting exchanges in communication and emotional regulation as he learns to live in a world in which he can struggle to navigate.
Why do humans eat palm oil?
Why are humans so thoughtless to animals?
Why would we want to hide eggs all over the garden, that’s just weird?
And why do people say that Jesus came back to life after three days, he can’t have come back to life that’s impossible, so why did the teacher say that in assembly? … And what on earth has that got to do with chocolate?
So many questions whizzing around in his poor little mind.
There’s no wonder then really that he then can’t cope with the additional stresses that all these family events at Easter can create.
·         Visiting other people’s houses, and the huge social anxiety that brings.

·         The sensory overload of people chattering, food cooking and palm oil filled chocolate everywhere.

·         Unexpected visitors with small children who haven’t yet learnt that their older cousin doesn’t like hugs and finds playing with them impossible. It’s not that he doesn’t like them he just finds it all too hard so shuts himself away for safety.

·         Well-meaning family members that want to talk to him about school, who are unaware that their questions freeze him to the spot with fear as he doesn’t know what he should say and do in these situations, so he can appear rude and abrupt with them making them not know what to say next.
So, this year there will be no pressure from us to attend the traditional family egg hunt, and he will be eating his mash on bread for dinner.
It’s taken me many years to realise that I was the one putting pressure on myself to be the ‘picture-perfect’ family.
But my family is anything but ‘normal’, anything but ‘perfect’, and that’s great…because that’s what actually makes us… well normal!
My kids are all individual, unique and my family celebrations must reflect that. True acceptance for us begins when we accommodate everyone’s needs and that has taken us some time as a family to understand.
You see life for us has had to become a bit of a juggling act in which we take turns, and negotiate roles. I am not ashamed to say that we do what we need to do to avoid meltdowns, create a peaceful house for our kids to grow up in and learn to ride the tide of emotions that comes with being an autism family.
So this Easter, my son will visit his beloved airport with his dad while I attend the family egg hunt with my daughters. And then we will come together for an hour in which he can tell his family about the airplanes he saw (if he wants to )or he can go to the sanctuary of his nannas room with his IPAD upstairs (if he wants to) No pressure.
He will be given a chimp statue and a model plane instead of Easter eggs, and he will spend his day doing what makes him happy.
The days are long gone when I would let people tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my son. How I should be stricter with him, and feel guilty as they whispered within my earshot “what a shame it was that he was missing out on all the fun.” No more will I make him feel unsafe by forcing him into situations that he finds impossible (because no one ever came out happy when I did that I can tell you).
I won’t let anyone tell me that parenting in this way means that we are pandering to him, or spoiling him. That’s simply not true.
But parenting this way does mean that we pick our battles, accept his challenges, follow his lead, embrace him for who he is, and strive to accommodate the needs of everyone in the family.
When my son is happy, I am happy, my hubby is happy, and his sisters are happy.
That’s just the way our lives must be. Complicated, unconventional, bonkers, and bloody wonderful!
So, happy Easter to all of you, I hope you spend the day doing what makes you happy…
But if you’re not quite there in your journey yet and you’re feeling the loss of the life you feel you have missed out on, then please take hope from my story. After all that’s what Easter is really all about isn’t it… hope, love, acceptance and new life. I have been rock bottom and had days where I didn’t know where I would find the strength to carry on. But I promise you, it does get easier.
Having a child with autism isn’t the end believe me.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite, it’s the beginning of a new life.
You will learn to roll with it, face the challenges that come your way head on, and you will eventually take strength from the fact that no one’s life is really ‘picture-perfect’. Because believe me behind all the smiling Facebook posts real life is happening. Burnt fairy cakes, tantrums and money worries.
We all have issues and challenges, autism or not, it’s just it’s harder to hide behind ours that’s all! And why should we I say. Embrace the bonkers, be kind in yourself and don’t allow other people’s judgements to affect your journey.
Happy Easter
Mrs M xx

6 comments:

  1. Nice blog, would like to know more.

    Autism

    ReplyDelete
  2. ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR THE GREAT DEED HE HAVE DONE FOR MY DAUGHTER?
    My daughter suffered from autism for more than 2 years which we started experiencing in her when she turned 1 year and 5 months we all thought it will end but got even worse as days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by various doctors we met but to no avail, she lost total concentration and always complain of sensitivity to sound . She usually tells me she haves poor eyes contact. This were steady disorder that disrupted her entire life, even at night she slept less because of this.It was during a casual conversation with a friend that i learned about Dr Williams herbal medicine I was able to contact him on his email address. and give him all the necessary information that he needed,few day later he sent me the herbal portion and his medicine was able to restore her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects whatsoever. If you have autism, do not hesitate to contact him on drwilliams098765@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this also helps someone out there

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  3. we should shift our views of embracing diversity away from rainbows that are missing colors and more in the diffrent colors of the rainbow.

    In other words if I am missing a leg I don't want that to be precieved as a diverse body but rather if my legs looked different or worked different BUT STILL GOT THERE JOB DONE AS A NORMAL LEG WOULD then that would be ok because I wouldn't be afflicted by a disability bit still get a unique experience ut of my limb.
    We all have different hair types but its still hair its not nails or fungus or the absence of hair. Different brains are not bad unless those brains don't work defeating the reason for having a brain the the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS I HAVE NEVER BELIEVE IN HERBAL REMEDIES.
    my son have been a patient of autism . I had tried a lot of anti viral med prescribed to me by doctors over how many years now but I could not see any improvements in my son symptoms. One day while going through the internet , i got to know about this great Herbal Dr who uses his herbal remedies in curing people from autism,quickly i contacted him and he prepared a herbal medication for my son which i received and he used it as instructed by dr williams. After few weeks the improvement were very visible. the speech delay and the poor eye contact stopped, I would recommend this to all my friends,families,around the globe suffering from autism.you can contact him through his email on drwilliams098765@gmail.com.for advice and for his product THANKS TO YOU ONCE AGAIN DR WILLIAMS

    ReplyDelete
  5. all thanks to Dr Williams with his herb my son is now also free from autism,for more information you can email him on drwilliams098765@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete