I spend a great deal of my blog writing about how my life is impacted by my child’s diagnoses. And it has changed my entire life to say the least. It has changed the person I am today and the mother I am today and the mother I wanted to be. But this post isn’t about me, it is about her.
How does autism affect my child?
I wish I could say it didn’t. But she is at a point in her life where she has an awareness of the world around her. Not a lot of awareness but enough to realize that our world is different and it separates her from people.
She spent her summer at home with babysitters when she wanted to go to camp. This is probably the most devastating part for her, being isolated from her peers.
While she centers most things on her own self, she often notices little things that make her curious or things that make her sad. She asks questions. So not only does it separate her, she wants to know why.
For instance, she has experienced a great deal of anxiety over the past month as she stressed out about Kindergarten. Do you know what her biggest concern was the night before? Will anyone like her? Will anyone be her friend? Will anyone play with her?
Her tiny little voice asked those questions. Do other five-year-olds worry about these things daily? Do they spend more time isolated from her peers than without them?
Do other five-year-olds ask analytical questions like: Was Jesus a Zombie?
Now as she assimilates to her new routine of making it through seven-hours per day at school, I am left asking again, how does autism affect her?
Well for one, when she can keep it together but only for so long.
Only until the lights are too bright or she is trapped in the gym with kids pounding basketballs against the floor.
She has experienced after-school restraint collapse. So basically, she has to come home after school to veg out.
Transitions are tough for her whether they are life transitions or just changing activities. It seems that learning to tolerate typical activities is what makes her appear to thrive and sometimes she puts on a good show and sometimes she doesn’t.
She needs things to help her get through it, like sand timers for time-outs, brushing teeth, and so she knows how long I will brush her hair.
While she tries so hard to hold it together, she can’t always succeed nor can she be expected to because this is how it affects her. Sometimes she is completely incapable of functioning and needs a break from demands, a mental health day.
Sometimes she has to be told twenty times in the morning to brush her teeth and get dressed and sometimes she just does it before we ask.
She still puts her shoes on the wrong feet.
She won’t wear pants with buttons.
Doesn’t tolerate sweating or her clothes being wet or dirty.
Her entire life is impacted by something people can barely see and some days she can put on a good show, and others she fails at pretending to be typical.
This is just the beginning of what is going to be a very long journey for her.