One of the toughest things as a parent of a child with special needs is not being able to be “inside their head”, to not be able to be welcomed into the intense focus that so often takes up their entire world.
You flit between being so happy that your child is relaxed, happy and content being totally immersed in their special interest, and then at other times you can be as equally as upset that their repetitive, obsessive, overwhelming need to be in their own world, focused on their interest can be so all consuming.
I saw this quote yesterday posted by another mum of an autistic child and it describes beautifully what Autism is.
As a parent I’ve got so upset at times that I feel I can’t reach him. I can’t fully understand what is happening in his special mind.
I have to remind myself that actually in his own time, his own space – he is happy. That’s his own little world where he feels safe and settled.
The challenge I guess is always the balance. The balance between giving him the space to be immersed in his world, and bringing him into ours.
The reality is that the huge, often unforgiving world out there doesn’t recognise these intricacies, quirks and differences.
I wouldn’t change my Bear for the world and I celebrate every part of his being, quirks and all. What I can do though is help him to build a protective armour. Build resilience to deal with challenges that school, social situations and interactions will throw at him. Build strength of character to be confident in himself.
I have this vision in my head that as a neurotypical parent with an autistic child you both have different pathways to getting to the same place – you just have to do your best to cross paths every now and then to best support each other and ‘get’ where the other is coming from. This takes time, lots of talking, and recapping and talking again. We are gradually getting there, further along that path.
It takes time, patience, love and understanding.
Who knows if I’m getting this right? I just do what I think is best.