To all those Autism parents out there, we’ve done it.
We applied to become competitors for the Amazing Race Canada.
Many people have asked us why on earth we would be interested in going on a show that often displays couples at their worst, creates tension in an otherwise happy relationship and puts one through a series of rigorous challenges that pushes you well beyond your comfort zone.
Why? Good question.
Because we believe that living life to its fullest requires going for adventure; pushing yourself to your limits often and being proud of whatever it is you accomplish.
Because if ANYTHING has shown us to keep things in perspective…its Autism; to live in the moment and to stay positive in the face of adversity…It’s Autism. Daily we have found the humour in every situation…in its purest form….through an unfiltered mouth and an innocent mind. If we let things get us down, we wouldn’t be near in fighting form to accomplish this goal…but we have committed to each other to always be talking, always be behind one another, always helping each other get through those crap days.
IF we get selected for the Amazing Race Canada, we would be thrilled. Not just for us. But for the potential of “representing” our parents who are going through the same thing we are and demonstrating JUST how kick ass all us Autism parents are!
Like a tigress stalking her prey, she stealthily creeps into our room and maneuvers oh-so quietly to lie in between us, sneaking under the covers without us hardly noticing…until that moment that “thwack!” She hits one of us in the head with her elbow, knee, or best yet a good ol’ kidney kick with the leg.
N is 5 years old and you could say that this is a fairly normal habit, however I believe that the result of her coming into our room for a “cuddle” is often precipitated by her older brother getting up early, heading downstairs to watch Super Mario How-To Videos. That’s right, not “PLAY” Super Mario but he very much enjoys the 80’s style instructional videos in which he acts out what’s happening on screen…usually with a “hi-yah!” Usually loud enough that we’re not going back to sleep.
I started thinking recently of what is different in our world since we have adjusted to having a child with Autism.
For those parents doing as we did and researching how life changes with Autism, here’s a few excerpts from our daily life…
We hear “Do you know Super Mario Galaxy 2??? You can get it at the game store. Can you put that on my home list?” an estimated 20-30 times/day.
T’s need for instant gratitude (patience is too abstract at times) has resulted in a new “list” developing. Your Christmas list, your birthday list (both he understands means waiting for a special date) and now his home list. His home list are those things he wants now. As in let’s go get it RIGHT now, “like now ok?” ..he might be flexible enough for after school but that’s about as far as his home list wait time reaches.
How we communicate
We don’t yell. Not that we really did anyways but T’s response to a raised voice is one that can set him off for the day and create an entire meltdown within seconds. So we laugh. And we try often to look at the humour of a situation cause it is so much about perspective with Autism. Crap can get you down daily (School boards, other kids and the way they treat your kid, how your child can lose it over the most perplexing situation) that we find ourselves reminding each other to keep perspective. We have two children we are completely smitten with, we love each other…nuff said.
We have a lot of pairs of crisp new jeans. I try…so often cause he looks so flippin’ cute in them but he says they feel like sandpaper. Wow! Nothing that adds to a mom’s guilt than thinking she is putting her kid in sandpaper pants. I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely friend named Vicky Bisson who is with a company called Peekaboo Beans. We spoke about sensory sensitivities in Autistic children and she mentioned many of their clothes are designed to really support sensory sensitivity and their pants/jeans are lined. This could be our answer to getting out of sweatpants! We talked about trying some of their line out to see. If you want to check out Vicky’s page, Click here. Stay tuned as I am sure I will be shouting to the rooftops if this option works.
We get up early
T’s brain is active and often sparks up between the hours of 5-6am. This has led to all sorts of tactics…1) We’ve tried to lie beside him to get him back to sleep 2) I have taken him for a run with me when I am heading out that early 3) We have taught him to get his own cereal 🙂 I like Option 3 a LOT!
The Louis Vuitton bags I have under my eyes are impeccable and I have just come to terms that it will be like this for a long time…
We get creative
Motivation is often different for T. We recently discovered that daring him to prove us wrong when it comes to doing his homework makes him laugh and very proud of his accomplishment. Trying to explain to him that skating away from the play during hockey wasn’t good finally connected when we talked about the fact that he wasn’t just quitting himself but quitting on his team. A key focus for us is simply that its REALLY important to stay, line up and shake hands with the opposing team at the end of each game. To get the social part of hockey as much as the sport.
This is not what we expected but then what parent is having an experience with parenting exactly as they imagined?
Life is full of surprises, I realize that more and more each day and these are just a few we have encountered so far in our day-to-day with Autism..