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All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sandy's Story

I have 3 sons with autistic traits/tendencies and they are 12 (HFA), 10 (AS/ADHD) & 8 (ADD) years old.

They love us dearly despite what they might say at times during meltdowns, they love computer games of any description including PS2 and wii and the younger two love running around outside with the neighbouring kids pretending to be soldiers, cops or whatever the flavour of the day is.

My boys are really good at avoiding all responsibility where possible, reading, sports (Master 10 & Master 8 especially), eating (except Master 10 who has serious food issues) and playing games on computers, PS2 or wii.

They all struggle with social interaction with others outside of the family and have trouble understanding social cues like personal space and when to talk/take turns at something.

Sometimes I, as a parent, find it hard when they are all being intense at the same time and my husband who has a much shorter fuse than I do goes off at them which only makes matters worse. I struggle to keep my own temper and my voice even at times and also get tired of feeling like I'm the only one who has to play the adult role and be in control of situations constantly. A self-confessed control freak, I get upset when my boys are having a power struggle and I lose my temper and yell at them. I also get frustrated with having to go through the same things over and over sometimes, and with feeling like my boys aren't learning very quickly if at all about behaviours.

But then I think about the special moments, like:
Master 12 had a sudden language explosion at age 3 when he gave us three sentences at once one morning where previously we had only had the occasional word like "Mum", "Dad" and "Car". He has literally not been quiet since and although that can be annoying at times, I would rather he dribbled verbally as a constant than return to a single word occasionally.
Master 10 declaring around age 5 that he liked "plain" pizza... could only get him to try it because I told him it only had tomato sauce on it, then the neighbour told him it had cheese on it, he stopped eating it but not for long. Could see the cogs turning in his mind as I told him he had been eating it for months and the pizza hadn't changed and was still yummy. He eventually overcame his foibles and tucked into a piece, now declaring that he loved "plain cheese" pizza. It has been a struggle to get him to eat all his life as he simply refuses to try new things and has restricted his diet heavily.
Master 8 comes up to me after a violent meltdown, wraps his arms around me and says "I'm sorry Mummy. I love you". All I want to do sometimes is push him away but I can't do that because he doesn't understand as he has little memory of his recent behaviour.
When all of them use the beautiful manners that we have hammered into them and I get complimented on their good behaviour and nice manners, all the while thinking "if you only knew" :)
Any of them proudly handing me a certificate from school or after school care with their name on it rewarded for good behaviour.
The phrases I live by these days include "you are never given in life any more than you can handle" and "only special parents are given the care of special children like ours, as they are the only ones qualified for the job". I am grateful for my own wacky sense of humour as I feel that is one reason I have survived and been able to get up on my board and surf the tide of autism as well as I have, not that I claim to be any kind of an expert. I am also grateful to my husband for being as supportive as he knows how, and for acknowledging both his and my ASD tendencies and making light of them, as it all helps make our unusual world go round.

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