One thing I know for certain is there are an infinite number of ways in which a household can function, or not function. Since we all have different skills, experiences, needs, resources, settings and variables; then it stands to reason what may work for one, will not work for another. It also stands to reason, some things you haven’t tried, may work also. Autism is a lot of things, but one of its primary features is the guessing game you play daily. This game can be fun or frustrating and sometimes it’s both.
We as parents also long for acceptance of our children for life is short, and their childhood really shouldn’t suck. We spend a lot of time educating our own friends, family, the school, our employers, people at the grocery store, or anywhere we frequent. We spend a lot of time teaching, and accepting. But we have our own things we must accept ourselves. Sometimes once you accept something, you can then be less stressed about it. You realize, this is what it is, you accept it. This may mean there is additional work and therefore you just earned yourself a reprieve of some kind. Here are the top things I had to accept about my son’s autism.
He will not potty train at the same time as other kids.
This was early on, it was apparent he would not be able to at the typical time of age 2-3. I had to accept it was going to take longer because he didn’t have the same sensory system, or communication skills. This didn’t mean I accepted he would never learn it. If there are a few things a parent shouldn’t accept, it is that. Being able to go to the bathroom on your own is essential. But for Noah, it wasn’t until he was 6 going on 7 until he was fully trained.
He will not eat the same as us (for now).
I will have to prepare separate meals; this means I spend most of my time in the kitchen. So having a function kitchen is essential. Its not the same currency that other kids have. I had to let go the typical way of dealing with a "picky eater". No bribery, no bargaining, and certainly no starving. (this created more anxiety and FYI it took years to undo). For those things will work on typical kids, but he is not typical.
He has his own sleep pattern.
Try as I might to get him on a “normal person’s schedule” (I actually called it that once, gasp) It’s not ever going to be something I can count on. He may waken at a more reasonable time 4 days out of the week, and I have to be ok with this. He is a “night owl” that is his natural rhythm just as waking early with the sun is mine.
His memory works differently.
He is not going to remember to do most things without being either reminded verbally or by a list right in front of him, and even then, he will still need to be reminded. But as long as I am not all stressed out when reminding him, he is aok with doing what he has to do. But he will remember other information he was only told once. Like how to fix his bike’s chain, the details to Minecraft and how many passengers died on the Titanic (its 706).
He has anxiety.
Sometimes that makes him into a little monster, where he is disrespectful or angry. But that isn’t who he is. Anxiety is not something you can control, for that is the very nature of it. It exists to protect you. It is not something you control it’s something you manage.
We need more time to do things
Vacations have to have a limited amount of activities, or enough time built into them to allow for the inevitable down time, or day off from doing things.
He will always have autism, but autism won’t always have him