Today was a particularly hard day with Harley. For the better part of the morning he was an emotional wreck. He was an explosion waiting to happen and I wasn’t about to be the one to light the fuse so I walked on egg shells for all of our sakes.
The only method that worked here at home with the boys was the ole divide and conquer. I sent each of them to their own rooms to play separately.
I really HAD to do this otherwise there would be no point in keeping Harley home for a circuit breaker day. I simply couldn’t afford to ruin it by allowing them to bicker and argue all day, it was the best option of all.
This afternoon though, I did have to take Lucas to the paediatrician for a basic follow-up appointment after his formal aspergers diagnosis back in March, so Harley had to join us for that. I went prepared with the boy’s DS’s the iPad and some pens and paper. They both behaved brilliantly in the waiting room and I was SO proud of my boys.
Not long after we arrived another mother walked in with two little boys of her own and sat down beside us to wait. She smiled at me but she looked absolutely exhausted. Her eyes were almost hanging out of her head and she looked like she had the weight of the entire world on her shoulders.
I recognised that pain. All too well.
Her youngest son (who was 4) asked her in fragmented speech if she would help him to do the puzzle that he was holding and she sighed in resignation and lowered herself to the floor to join her son.
But he jumped up and waved his arms about frantically shouting “No Mama, I seat on your knee I will, no you on the floor”.
She looked up at me and rolled her eyes saying “The things we do hey!” as she climbed back up onto the chair drawing her little boy onto her lap.
I nodded in agreement and smiled back at her.
The little boy (his name was Steven) glanced at me shyly, frowned and then buried his head into his Mum’s shoulder whimpering. “That scary lady look-ded at me”
The mother smiled at me apologetically and offered me an explanation to her son’s behaviour : “I’m so sorry about that – my son is still learning how to be around other people” she sighed sadly and took a deep breath….“He has autism”
“I know he does” I answered. “It’s ok….really”.
“You do…..I mean….How did you….what did…I mean, I KNEW you looked familiar, but….can you remind me how I know you though, I’m so sorry but my memory is letting me down lately”…..she trailed off sadly.
“No, we’ve never met” I giggled gently, “Well to my knowledge anyway, it’s just that…..I recognised the signs” I ventured hesitantly.
“Wow…..How?” she asked amazed.
At that point I gestured to Lucas and Harley who were sitting in the corner with their heads down focussing intently on their Ds games. Harley was also rocking back on forth on the spot and Lucas was humming to himself.
“What do you see” I asked her….
She studied them for a bit and then she almost shouted:
“Oh my goodness! …. Are your boys….. I mean, have they….Um, do they also have autism?” She asked shyly.
“Yep, sure do” I answered. “Both of ‘em”.
“Wow…..I would have never have picked that” she said and then stopped herself abruptly……“Oh my God, I just did that EXACT same thing that I HATE other people doing to me”
“I HATE it when people tell me that my son doesn’t LOOK autistic and now I’ve gone and done it myself! It’s SUCH an insult when they say it to me….like I’m lying or something!”
I laughed again and assured her that it wasn’t a huge deal. And then a few minutes later it was our turn to go in. I said goodbye to her and waved at Steven who had now warmed up to me and walked into the Doctor’s office.
The appointment went brilliantly!
He did the usual weight, height, blood pressure checks and then we started to chat about Lucas’ therapies.
He asked me about his early intervention group and I told him that it’s working out wonderfully.
He asked how he was going at Pre-school with his aide…..and I answered: brilliant again.
Next the Dr wanted to know if we’d finalised a school for next year and I answered that yes, that was taken care of too.
He also wrote down the names and numbers of the best speech pathologists that he could think of and sympathized greatly with our dilemma after the last one fell through.
We were just about to pack up and leave when he started to tell me about a social therapy group run by a wonderful lady that he described as a miracle worker for children with an ASD.
And yep….it’s the same awesome lady that I wrote about *HERE* and Harley has been attending for almost 2 years now.
The Dr looked at me intently and made a remark that has put him in my top 5 all-time favourite people in my children’s medical life….he said:
“Fiona, can I just commend you on how much you do for your children. It really is so wonderful to see a parent like you that has taken your son’s diagnoses and run with them and given it your all. I have no doubt in my mind that your boys will be functioning so well once they reach adulthood that they you will barely remember the harder years that you are in the midst of now. It is only up from here on.”
Well, you could hardly wipe that grin off of my face after that!
I can finally tell all those people in my life who criticise me and my efforts – that it doesn’t matter what they think because my children’s Dr thinks I’m awesome!