Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t accept compliments too easily. I find them tough to hear. So I’m acutely aware of the danger of this post sounding self-inflating, or self-congratulating.
But I just want to say: It Doesn’t Happen By Accident.
It doesn’t happen by accident that the Boo you see seems ‘normal’ although I’m ultra-aware of how lucky I am. Behind it sees hours upon hours or hard work, preparation, teaching and second-guessing.
It doesn’t happen by accident that Boo will hold things together until he gets home, although I know I’m fortunate that he’s well-behaved at school. Behind it is a little boy who only feels home is truly safe. Behind it is a coping strategy that exerts an enormous toll on his very being.
It doesn’t happen by accident that despite having ASD and Twins in the mix, my children, generally get on, although I know I’m lucky that their personalities generally gel. Behind the scenes are reward charts, effort, repetition, teaching and guidance.
It doesn’t happen by accident that my ASD son isn’t violent, although I’m so very aware of my fortune here, and the angst borne by the parents of his more physically volatile counterparts. It’s taken years of constant teaching how better to handle emotions, and fear that he puts it all on himself instead.
Yes life has thrown Boo, and therefore us, a curve ball. But his ability to pass as ‘normal’ in a bewildering social world is not all luck. Any parent of Autistic child has their workload multiplied again and again by those innocuous letters: A-S-D. What you see is their success.
If the child has a public meltdown, know that their parent mitigated 999 before that one slipped through the net, through second-guessing, preventative strategies, love and damn hard work. If the child can’t bear the feel of the label in his trousers, know that at least those trousers could be bought to ‘give it a go’ after years of failures.
Parents of children on the spectrum want the very best for their children too. They want them to grow up to cope and function in this world. The reality is they have a steeper mountain to climb. Where they are now – it’s success, even if it’s not the summit. Success from a completely different starting block, with mammoth gains. And that success, it didn’t happen by accident.