Monday, January 30, 2012

Words of Wisdom, from me?!?!?

...last night, I got a Facebook from Little Miss M's mom.  She works at the school where Little Man and Little Miss M attend, and (obviously) where I work as well.  She is an amazing woman and mother, and I am honored to know her, and (hopefully) call her a friend.  {yes, I still have issues with making and keeping friends at my age...insecurity???  Probably}

Not to copy what she wrote word-for-word (to protect her privacy), she was writing to ask if I had any "words of wisdom" to share about kids like Little Man and Little Miss M, ever being made to feel like a bad parent, or others not understanding your child.  Miss M's Mom had to remove her from a birthday party yesterday because of a meltdown.  Miss M's Mom just wants her to enjoy social situations.  Miss M's Mom worries about having social expectations for Little Miss M that she may not achieve, and being worried about what other parents think.  She asked about "just accepting things".  That is something that I have struggled with.  This is what I wrote in reply...

I have TOTALLY had many moments like yours. They go so far back, I honestly have blocked a lot of them out. Things had (have) to be just-so to him. I did not "get" a lot of it at first, but over the last five-ish years, I have just rolled with it (for lack of a better term). We still get stares, comments, whispers...even as recently as a month or so ago at his swim lessons. I have tried my best to develop a thick skin, but it has been hard. They are talking about, and assuming things about YOUR baby. It literally made me sick when he was three. Anxiety took over, and I still struggle with it. Sounds bad, but I try not to care what everyone else best interest is my son.

Over the past year or so, his "social skills" class with {insert teacher here} has helped him tremendously. I honestly can't remember if this was touched on when he was in preschool. I am not even 100% certain what is taught in the class, but I think she has taught him how to handle his emotions when things don't go his way. This weekend, at the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby, his car was the first to be eliminated. I could tell he wanted to scream and shout (and cry), but he held it together. I cried more than he did, because he looked so sad. He said he was sad that he didn't win, but he had fun, and he knows what to do to his car next year. Huge step. Six-year old {Little Man} would have kicked the track and thrown himself on the ground.

I still stick around with him at birthday parties, he hasn't gone on an overnight yet, and playdates are harder on me than they are on him. I try not to shelter him, and it is easier to keep an arms length distance from him the older he gets. I also don't shout to the world "he is on the Autism Spectrum" unless the situation merits it. I let his swim coach and Cub Scout Den Master know, and they have been more than understanding with him.

Since Asperger's and Sensory Disorders are "invisible", many people think he is a kid throwing a temper tantrum. It could be him reacting to noises that are deafening or lights are too strong to him (even though we may have been in this particular place hundreds of times before). It could be because someone in charge told the children to do one thing, and there is one kid not following along. So many different triggers, these are just a few.

I will be honest, it took me a long time to get to where I kind of just accept things. Every social situation brings up new fears in me, but they have eased the older he gets.

What I always remember, in both {Little Man and Little Miss M's} case is that what it boils down to, they are just kids. Expectations on a seven and a four year old today are so high. Not that they shouldn't do what teachers say or follow the rules...but they are just kids...they should not be expected to act like little adults (that is totally just my opinion, though).

They are amazing kids, smart and funny and caring. I don't let it get under my skin when people are looking at {Little Man} because he is doing the "jump and flap" that he does when he gets excited, because whatever he is getting excited about is something he is passionate about, and that is what is important. I don't let it bother me when other people look at him because he is throwing a fit in a store. It isn't because he can't get a new game or toy or something, it could be because he is hearing some sort of buzzing that we don't (seriously, he can hear a fly before it enters a room) and it is bothering him. I just remember that he is incredibly smart, talented, funny, caring, and that he is just a seven year old boy.

I am not sure I helped or not, just speaking from experience.  It is so hard to put into words.  I can just speak from my heart and from what has happened to me and my Little Man.

Love to All.

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