A night with my girls

Paul took our son Bill to the wrestling last night. Not everybodies cup of tea. I must admit though that I felt some nostalgia, I remember going to Festival Hall with the family when I was young and watching the wrestling. Also watching it at noon on a Sunday, just before Daktari was on the tely; along with our cooked brekkie and roast dinner that was routine in our house. Bill loved it and has raved about it all day today.

This left me at home with my girls. We had fish and chips before the boys left, Beth was in her usual position on the computer and Bridie chose a Blues Clues dvd that we hadn’t seen before. Beth kept getting up to watch it with Bridie. They then chose the Tweenies together and were very cute doing the Hokey Pokey and other dances together. They do get along well together and with me supervising actually managed to have a lovely night. I did have to stop Beth from saying all the words in the Tweenies, something that understandably pissed Bridie off no end but as they were both singing the songs I left that be. The beauty of the Blues Clues dvd was that Beth hadn’t seen it either and therefore didn’t know the words. She did answer questions and was quite interactive through the whole thing which I never tire of watching.

I got together with my other girls during the week – my friends – and I thought I’d share some of our observations. As many of my readers are probably reading because you also have a child with autism, you may agree with me that autism seems to be at almost epidemic proportions at the moment. Kids are getting diagnosed left, right and centre.  I do believe that there has certainly been a rise in autism, for a variety of reasons. The additives in our foods, the medical advances made to help us to concieve (IVF), to stop miscarriage, to keep kids born too early alive, all of these things wouldn’t have been possible 20 or 30 years ago. Nature weeds out the weak, medicine does all it can to keep our precious ones alive.

 I also believe however that it is too easy to get a diagnosis these days. I know they’re not all like my Beth, I know lots of kids that are nothing alike but all have diagnosis’ somewhere on the spectrum. I used to be pretty good at picking our kids on the spectrum, as is my boy Bill. He’s say to me if he thought somebody had it and often he was right, they were just undiagnosed. These days I hear of somebody having a diagnosis and I’m dumbfounded. Now obviously I’m no expert and the spectrum seems to be becoming wider and wider but really are these kids all on it?

My friends Bec, Bree and I often laugh at how many autistic or aspie traits we have. I have lots of obsessive compulsive things and on the layman’s aspie test we all score high. The average female for example would be a 14 or 16, if the score was over 32 you’d be considered to be on the spectrum. My score was 29 and the other girls were similar. There’s a little bit in all of us. I could get a diagnosis of some sort for my Bridie if I really wanted to, she has selective mutism as well as dreadful behavioural issues. She’s not autistic though, I know that but she’d be pretty high up on the list.

In this day and age of freedom to explore, to be who we want to be there are those kids who thrive, who cope well and make the right decisions and will become good citizens of the community, caring for others and not being influenced by how other people perceive they should be. There are others however who need guidance, who need discipline, who need to be told no and what’s right from wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either way of raising your children if it works for you. I’m a big believer of minding my own business when it comes to others child rearing, who’s to say my way is the right way? I overindulge my kids, I let them get away with much more than others I know. I still however am their parent, not their friend. I believe my kids are fairly well behaved, they have manners and sit at the table during meals. They get told no many times. They don’t like it but that’s tough, that’s my job. I think there are a lot of kids around who don’t have these boundaries then act up when they get to school. The parents wonder what’s wrong, what’s happened to my lovely child, they’re not like this at home? That’s because they’re not disciplined! The parents think there must be something wrong with their child, specialists are called in and a label is given. Obviously this isn’t always the case but I believe that sometimes it is. These kids don’t cope with structure because they’ve never had it. School is reality, life is about towing the line, about doing what you are told, about being told no. It sucks but there it is. We’d all like to think that life is all about us but really, it’s not. (Except of course in my case where it is!)

Anyway off my soapbox! We took the kids rollerskating this morning. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s much easier for me to walk around in normal shoes than get pulled over by my giraffe of a daughter in roller skates. Beth towers above me, especially on wheels but she had a grand time and tried her best. Bill is getting quite good and Bridie too. It’s school holidays now so the fun begins. We’re off to see Kung Fu Panda 2 tomorrow. Just need to keep my sanity!

About Sarah

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