Each child is very different

Not much happening here today. It’s horrible weather which I’m quite enjoying but I’m sure I’ll be over it by the end of the week. It’s nice to get rugged up instead of sweating all the time but I do enjoy the nice weather more.

We had Bill’s friend Will over yesterday. Bec (Will’s mum) had Kasey (Will’s sister) home sick so the big playdate that we planned wasn’t going ahead but Bill and Will were so looking forward to it that I went to pick Will up. Will is in Bill’s class at school and has high functioning autism. He’s the only kid with autism that I know that I can honestly say that I couldn’t pick. Most kids that I’ve met through the HAGS support group I can tell after a little while are autistic. I can even pick kids that haven’t been diagnosed yet, as can my boy Bill. But Will is different altogether. He’s a lovely boy with lovely manners, a real pleasure to have for a play. I’ve only seen him in full flight once or twice and you wouldn’t want to mess with him in those times, he has a real ‘fight or flight’ sense about him and if people get in his way when he’s like this, more fool them. I think we need to give more understanding to kids like this.

I went to a talk given by an ‘expert’ in the field, Sue Larkey. She used an example of a spider. Lots of people are so fearful of spiders that if somebody was to make them try to touch them they would instantly panic and flail their arms, trying to flee the situation in whatever way they can, knocking whatever or whoever out of the way blindly to get away. Kids with autism are like this. If they are in a situation that overstimulates them or scares them for whatever reason only they know, we have to let them get themselves out of there and calm themselves down. Obviously we can’t let them get into a dangerous situation like running on the road but we have to respect their fear and understand that they can’t help their behaviour. Their fear is very real to them.

Beth’s coping mechanism is to put her fingers in her ears and to make loud noises. It can be very annoying for others as she gets very loud so I and her teachers have tried to get her to quieten down with some success. I don’t bother with the fingers in her ears. If that is how she copes then that’s ok, she’s entitled to block out something that frightens her, we all have our ways of dealing with things.

The night before last Bec called me and I could hear Will yelling in the background, quite incoherent and unreasonable, he was in a frenzy and Bec was ready for another sleepless night. She called me hoping that Will would be able to hear her telling me that they wouldn’t be able to come for a play after all, hoping that hearing that might calm him down. I suggested that maybe I talk to him to tell him about the new DS games that I had got for Bill. He didn’t want to talk to me. I then suggested that he speak to Bill and he said yes. Bill told him that he was so looking forward to him coming over the next day, told him about his new games and the new Wii Fit Plus game that we had. Bec messaged me later to tell me that Will had calmed right down and gone to sleep well. I was just so so proud of my boy Bill. He’s got an amazing empathy for others and is such a sensitive boy. He understands that Will is autistic and we’ve talked about the fact that no, he’s nothing like Beth, but he still has tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way and still does silly things to make other kids laugh so those things were similar. I have asked Bill in the past about what he does when Will is having a meltdown in the classroom. His response was very matter of fact. “I just ignore him” he told me shrugging his shoulders, as if to say, what else would he do. Lots of kids aren’t so kind, Bec knows this and so do I, kids can be horrible at times. Bill is used to Beth so for him, Will’s tantrums are just a matter of course, he knows they’ll escalate but can end just as quickly and that they’re not personal, they sometimes just can’t help it. And Bill genuinely loves Will, they’re good friends which is irrespective or whether Will’s autistic or not, it just doesn’t matter.

The boys had a lovely time yesterday. Will made me laugh because his hair is so long and Bec said he just wont let her get it cut. I’m taking my kids for a haircut on Saturday so I offered to see if he’d come with us. I explained that Bill didn’t want his hair cut either but we were going on Saturday, he was welcome to come too. Will had a little think about it then came back with “I like to save up and pay for my own haircuts thankyou very much, I don’t want you wasting your money on me.” I told him that that would be fine, he could pay for his own. He then told me that no, thanks anyway, he didn’t need a haircut yet. What a clever boy, he thought up some pretty good explanations! I love the way our kids think, we could learn a lot from them if we give them a chance to tell us their take on things.

About Sarah

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