Awareness – Thurs 2nd April 2015

By | April 2, 2015

April is Autism Awareness month and today has been World Autism Awareness day, how fantastic it’s been to see the hashtag trending.  

Every little bit of awareness helps for a disability that can’t necessarily be seen at first impression, whether it leads on to more acceptance will remain to be seen, especially as a long Bank Holiday weekend looms, with plenty of people-populated places.

I’ve been blogging for three years now and was looking through some early posts, one in particular stood out – What Autism means to me – a need to let my children flourish and develop but in a society that isn’t always receptive to the fact that – for example – if D is overcome by nerves and anxiety in a busy environment, she isn’t being “naughty”, I’m not a “bad parent”, D is reacting to an overload of sensory stimulation.  It may be someone walking behind her or a sudden noise, whatever it may be, she’ll have a need to get away from the situation and quickly.

I’ve always said people need to see the whole picture, look at the person with the child.  I see some parents outside the mainstream school we pass, shouting at their children, calling them “idiots” because they’ve dropped their school bag or aren’t walking fast enough.  It’s not nice to see.  Not that I’m suggesting every NT parent is like that, definitely not.  But take a look at a carer with a child/adult next time you see them being “naughty” somewhere, are they reacting or attempting to calm the situation? 

Because that’s how it has to be.  “Keep calm and carry on” has never been more appropriate since we discovered that D was on the autistic spectrum, with T also being diagnosed a few years later (although we knew for long time before T’s diagnosis).  

Having children with autism has brought me a shed load of worry, but also joy in the simplest things.  

When D was diagnosed, she had extremely stilted speech and was too overcome by the class environment to attempt to learn to read or write, she was very good at drawing and that is one of her calming mechanisms, not drawings about whatever may be upsetting her but always happy, positive drawings – almost as of drawing a happy smiley flower takes her away from what’s upsetting her.

I digressed, back to the joy.  The joy of seeing D write her name, of receiving a card that she’s signed, of reading an “I love you” note.  And the reading? She’s come on in leaps and bounds, she reads and reads, currently the Rainbow Magic books are favoured.  She has done so well in the smaller, calmer SN school atmosphere.  

And T, he’s come home with not 1, or 2, or even 3 but 5 certificates of merit and achievement today.  Fantastic! There are days when we’ll meet him from the school bus and he’ll have built up any emotions and be like a bottle of champagne waiting for the cork to pop.  Which he will, sometimes calmly, sometimes not so.

It’s how we roll (as it were).  Ticking over, always risk-assessing, trying not to think too much about the future cos …. who knows?  Will there be more acceptance by this time next year?  I’d like to think so.

  

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