Last night Beth had her weekly swimming lesson at the Monbulk Pool. She loves her swimming lessons and because she needs to have a one on one session I pick her up early from school and she starts her lesson at 3.30pm.

Last night’s lesson was a complete disaster! Usually Bill goes into after school care on a Monday but as it was meant to be 33 degrees yesterday we agreed in the morning that I’d pick him up early too and he could come for a swim. I picked them up earlier than usual so there was about 10 – 15 minutes before Beth’s lesson started, enough time for her to have a quick play with the others. Wrong! She got into competitions with Bridie as to who could do the best handstands. And worse still her usual teacher Debbie wasn’t there so we had Bridie’s teacher Rebecca instead. Now I’d worded Rebecca up that Beth likes to stuff around. She really needs that bitchy mother attitude of “if you don’t do what I tell you you’re out of the pool.” Rebecca had told me that yes indeed she had worked with autistic kids before so I was confident that she’d be ok.

I should have known that it wouldn’t be a good lesson before hand. Not only was the handstands a dead giveaway but Beth had informed me that she wouldn’t actually be calling Rebecca by her full name but that she was going to call her Becky. I told her that she’d better check first because some people don’t like their names being abbreviated. Tough! That’s what she was going to call her!

I must tell you that we had the same problem with her original Occupational Therapist at Sensational Kids. Her name was Gwenda and she was of the old school and quite serious. Goodness knows what she was doing working with kids. Beth decided to call her Gwenny and got great pleasure out of Gwenda correcting her every time, getting more and more frustrated each time Beth did it. It’s like waving a red flag to a bull with Beth. Find something that pisses somebody off and she’ll run with it! She’s a bugger my girl but also very amusing!

Anyway, back to last night. Poor Rebecca. Every time she told Beth to do anything she did a handstand. Well it started out being quite funny with Rebecca saying – well done Beth, now let’s do this – but by the end (and 50 handstands laster) she wasn’t so bright. I hate times like that. When she wants to she can really apply herself and do  well but it’s always on her terms. Last night she obviously decided that she wanted to be a shit (excuse the french) and that’s exactly what she was. I was so embarassed, even though I know that Rebecca would have understood. One of the only positive things (if you can call it positive) about times like that is that the person that it’s happening to gets a bit of a glimpse as to what life can be like for you. As parents we live with these behaviours. Some of them they mostly grow out of and we get the gut wrench when it happens occasionally, remembering when it was like that ALL the time.

The other positive is that in my case it does make me realise how much better Beth is now than she was a few years ago. It makes me appreciate how far she’s come. So for those of you who are reading this, relating to this behaviour in the present time, let me reassure you it DOES get better. Please don’t confuse this with me saying that your child will get better though of course I hope for that too. What I’m saying is that with age they do improve. They do manage their tantrums better, they become fewer and less severe. It’s still horrible to watch, probably even more so because they’re so big, harder to handle and harder to watch what seems like baby behaviour but nevertheless it does get easier. Of course I’ve only got Beth to 10, I might change my tune when adolescence kicks in!

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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2 Responses to Swimming

  1. Autism is so under-covered. Thankfully, here in the states it is getting noticed more in the press. The swimming post was endearing. The more I read things like this the more one … children are the salt of the earth. It certainly is a tiny glimpse as to what life can be like. I really had no idea about autism until I needed an autistic savant as a plot device in my novel. Keep posting, I’ll keep discovering. Good day.


  2. Sarah says:

    thankyou Dan, it’s lovely to get such nice feedback about my blog, I certainly enjoy writing it so it’s nice to know that people enjoy reading it as well!

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