It’s amazing how something that can seem so simple becomes such a challenge with a kiddo on the spectrum. We have had a lot of challenges that I would consider “funny” but this one, at least for now takes the cake.
We were out searching for a sledding spot in the snow with no access to a bathroom and had just walked our way down a valley that would work. When I hear those dreaded words “go potty” which are normally a welcome sentence at home. I told him ok buddy let’s go over here to which he replied “no over here” repeating over and over loudly. I finally get him over to a tree trying to convince him peeing in the snow would be fun. He was screaming at this point at the top of his lungs and I felt ridiculous. Eventually though he did it and did enjoy it in fact went up to my wife and had no problem going for her. This brings me to the reflective moment.
One of the things we have strived to do with Hezzy is to force him to try new things. Without the ability to effectively communicate what he does and doesn’t want to do this has been our only avenue to help him in many areas. In fact some of the things he enjoys most now he screamed that he didn’t want to do them. As parents if we don’t push our kids to at least try new things we are effectively hindering there growth. Sometimes we can hand all of our biases unknowingly to our kids, which makes things increasingly difficult for special needs kids. Instead of saying he can’t do that he is special needs or someone asks me do you think he can do that I smile and say we are about to find out.
In my own life I find myself trying more things because it has had such a powerful effect on my son. Do you feel like you have held your child back out of fear? Has this affected your life and you feel like you haven’t tried new things yourself. Nothing crazy or weird just something new. There are limitless possibilities look at your challenges and your child’s challenges as opportunities. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees and sometimes we just haven’t taken the time.
Hezzy was anxious on this walk there was a lot of people it was bright and really noisy he put his “scarf” on his head to hide him a bit and wanted my arm over his head while we walked. He lit up and said “I want bridge” it was the first time he showed any interest in anything.
I think a lot of us hide who we are for fear that people won’t like us and then we question how genuine those relationships are. I don’t feel it wise or beneficial to just spew every hurtful or negative thing that comes to mind but do feel that a lot of people are missing out on deeper conversations out of fear. This year I am working on finding that bridge to sharing who I am with a limited few. Do you need to find your bridge this year?
Hezzy occupies so much space with the therapies and special classes and other things that it makes it hard to give our youngest a equal amount of time and energy but we do our best. We also have to be really aware of not leaning on him to heavily as he gets older. He has been the big brother since he was 3 years old and has a special connection with Hezzy that is sometimes hard to put into words. He is bright, really coordinating and loves to push boundaries. He can be Hezzy’s best friend and greatest tormentor in the span of a few minutes but that is all brothers right lol. Here are some things we have learned in having a typical son after having a child with ASD.
- It has brought balance for us and has helped us to see the beauty in both of our boys that we wouldn’t have fully understood otherwise.
- We had to relearn how to parent. Hezzy has never lied to us Matty did almost as soon as he could talk.
- We allow for his own space when ever we can. One thing we noticed is we tend to think Hezzy needs a lot more attention then he does. There would be moments where we were hovering over Hezzy and had Mattox standing by us. I know that he is much more affected by us not paying him equal attention, Hezzy a lot of times doesn’t even notice.
- Doing things together is sometimes harder to do but usually pays off in dividends later. Using opportunities like therapies to take him to a coffee shop or biking with 3 people instead of 2 allows for equal time without having to set a side more time.
- He is not the parent of my ASD child but he can be his best friend being purposeful in building that is so rewarding I would like to inspire everyone I can with that.
- This has affected how my wife and I look at relationships in general accepting others differences and appreciating them where they are at but also trying to gently encourage them to progress in the journey at the same time.
Are you debating whether you should have a child if your first born has been diagnosed with ASD? How do your kids interact do you give them equal parts of your energy and time? How has this affecting how you look at friendships have you pulled away from the world or have you embraced others differences?
There are days in every parents life that feel overwhelming. With a child on the spectrum it feels like those days can be closer together. The one thing that would help is other people the problem is we convince ourselves that only professionals can help us. From there it progresses to convincing ourselves that we know better then professionals after all we spend more time with them. Pretty soon we have become lonely islands that feel that can’t take anyones advice and we never get out because no one can help us. I realized I can’t help my son if I don’t even try and sometimes I was rejecting advice just because the person didn’t know anything about ASD. A great quote from one of my favorite songs.
“Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.” -Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann
When I saw my wife and I doing this I did a funny thing I gave up…. on going it alone! This gave way to an amazing community group, family and friends that helped us through the worst part of our marriage. From there it allowed us to be more brave when it come to trying new things with our son from swimming to a 30 mile bike ride and more. It’s easy to turn around and see how all of these things are inter-connected and helps us leave a better life its another thing entirely to take the first steps.
Do you feel like a lonely island? Do you have a handy friend that has offered to help around the house or a family member that has offered to baby sit? Have you rejected help because you have convinced yourself you didn’t need it? How purposeful are you about making meaningful relationships?
It’s amazing how much a different perspective can change things. As a parent of a child with ASD I am constantly forced into his world and it’s different. I found i have this conversation with lots of people centered around what we focus on.
When he is having a good day I can say “what did I do to deserve this?” and look at all the unique and positive things about his condition. On a bad day I can say the same exact thing with a different perspective “what did I do to deserve this?”. They are identical on paper but couldn’t be more different in meaning and how they effect my attitude and day.
Let’s take this example and then daisy chain all those positive days together what would that life look like. Do the same with all the negative days what would that life look like. Which would you rather live; looking at your own life in which story do you find yourself? The only difference between the two is your perspective. Let’s live we are unchewable and choose the positive story and live a life better lived.
There will be moments in your life where it feels like the sky is falling and sometimes it won’t be for you. It will be family and friends that you are there for but can’t change their circumstances. In those moments it feels like life is speeding up faster and faster the best remedy for that is to slow it down and make an ordinary moment feel extraordinary. I feel like even if you go to a park for just a few minutes regularly you would be surprised at how it can affect you.
I wanted to show the positive, beautiful side of autism and my son.