I’ve been blogging a while now, ooh five years I think. At times it’s useful to “blog it out”, clear out some of the thoughts that tumble around in my head.
Thoughts that have remained more or less the same since I started to blog:
Worries about the future. Five years ago, D was nearly 8, you wouldn’t have known it to look at her, the tall bundle of D-ness that she is, she doesn’t look nearly 13 now and that worries me.
I worry that whilst she’s “cushioned” by her SN school, loves participating in anything musical and she’s accepted there, it won’t always be like that.
She’s a tween with autism, soon she’ll be an autistic teen, then a young adult etc. Her autism won’t be cured (forget those quack theories that drift over the Pond from time to time) but what she will learn is coping mechanisms. Ways in which – I hope – that, if she’s out that she masks until she gets home, her sanctuary.
Because, no matter how many posts I and the many many SN bloggers write, she’ll be judged on those first impressions and if that first impression is of a meltdown or one in which she’s pacing to regulate herself, that’s how people will remember her.
It’s scary, from the outside looking in. Because someone might see a young lady who could be easily led, others might see her as someone to avoid or laugh at. I hate those thoughts, hate them.
D seems unaware when people look, something I’m glad about. I’m also relieved that, at nearly 13, she has no body issues, she’s not demanding hair straighteners or make up or daisy dukes, she’s happy in herself. Which is probably a minority thought in today’s “me, me, me” society.
She’s happy in sweatshirts and leggings and her Skechers go walk pumps, something I’m also relieved about as she’s showing no signs of my rubbish feet problems, she has wonderfully straight feet!
Is there an answer to my concerns? There are more programmes with autism mentioned (The “a” word last year and BBC Doctors are very up to speed with regular mental health stories) and I read that a supermarket will be trialing an autism-friendly hour, similarly some cinema chains have autism-friendly showings.
But how about your person in the supemarket? Someone who walks past and “tuts” at the sight of a child with headphones on, overwhelmed by the sights and sounds? In that initial split second judgement are they going to think “autism”? Probably not unless they have had family experience. Nope, they’ll either “tut” or make some comment, usually along the lines of “can’t you keep that child under control? Needs a good slap!”.
We’ve all experienced it and sometimes from unexpected quarters, having your child described as “mad” by a family member sticks with you, it can’t but not.
It can be a lonely world, SN parenting. Birthday invitations – unless from another SN parent – aren’t dolled out and that makes my heart ache. I remember when I was childminding a girl in the same class as D, the birthday child’s parents would pass out the envelopes, making it clear exactly who it was for.
I don’t ask for much – my Hubbie would raise an eyebrow at this, what with my skinny decaf mocha/crochet fixation – but would ask, from the bottom of my heart, that first impressions aren’t always the correct ones.
Get to know D and she is the loveliest sweetest girl, today – when not anxious about the scaled-down half term and routine changes – she’s been so so soppy over Valentine’s Day, eager to see the cards and gifts that her parents exchanged, cuddly, smiley happy as she wished us all (including her brother) a happy Valentine’s Day.
I wish for her – and all our SN children – a happy future, however and wherever it pans out.