- “Oh, I Got an invitation to the newest Ladies’ Bible study at church! Awesome!”…I go to Bible study. Time comes to share prayer requests. Ladies start to share their requests…”my son argues with me”… “my daughter wants to wear inappropriate attire.”… “My husband is out of town again”…and so on. My turn, “I um [my mind realizes there’s too much to share in given amount of time and no one can understand my life as an Autism parent anyway] Please just pray for our family and for Tyler. Thanks.” First and last visit to Ladies Bible Study because I feel like I’m in another world and I don’t want to feel that way again.
- At counseling session for depression and anxiety: Therapist: “I strongly suggest you attend an Autism Support Group I learned about in our area. Here is the Info!” I say, “OK…I will try to go.” More anxiety heaps up because I’ll have to leave Tyler with someone so I can actually go…who do I leave him with? Days pass, and I found a sitter. At Autism Support Group Session: Sharing time. Sharing from other Moms there something like this…”my daughter is screaming every morning because she wants to wear the same outfit every day…” , “my son is always requesting videos about animals and we can’t watch another one! AHHH”, “the other kids are leaving my son out of play time because all he wants to talk about is the latest computer game he played.” and so on. My turn to share, “Well um… [all it can think of is angry things like AT LEAST YOUR KID CAN COMMUNICATE! MY GOD! REALLY??!!! … but I can’t say that. So I say] …My son is severe and can’t communicate. So yea, that’s what we deal with mostly.” ~*silence in room…everyone is thinking of something to say but don’t say anything*~ First and last visit to Autism Support Group because I feel like I’m in another world and I don’t want to feel that way again.
- I discovered that my best friend since middle school lives near and she has 2 kids about the age of my 2 oldest. She invites us over for a play date. I pack up kids, go to her house. Older kids and my youngest get along great. Tyler wonders off upstairs to her daughter’s well organized and tidy bedroom. My friend and I are in kitchen sharing stories about husbands and house decorating. Tyler upstairs sees bookshelf full of Golden Books all neatly in rows. Tyler pulls all books off shelves and piles them up and sits on the “mountain” of books happily. We decide to go check on Tyler. We see Tyler on book mountain he made. My friend: “Tyler, get off the books..” yells at her daughter, “come up here and put these books back on the shelves right now!” I said, “I’m so sorry, I am sure Tyler did that, I will work with him to put them back.” Friend: “No, let’s go downstairs with Tyler. She’ll do it. ” Her daughter has sad face and shows frustration about the whole matter. Tyler is clueless & now downstairs has discovered stored away markers under couch and proceeds to remove all the caps and throw them. My friend: “Tyler, stop that. Those are not for you.” I say, “Hey kids, let’s pick up all the things neatly and get going…mommy has some things to do.” My thinking has turned to having to remove ourselves from this perfect setting and apologize for Tyler’s behavior. The next day I receive a phone call from my “friend.” I tell her , “I think we shouldn’t come visit with Tyler any more.” She agrees, “Yea, I was just going to say that. Not a good idea to bring the kids over here.” This was last visit to her house because I feel like I’m in another world and I don’t want to feel that way again.
To rest of the world, generally these thoughts represent the inside of the mind of an Autism mom. Be aware of these things..don’t judge them for declining a play date invitation and not sharing their thoughts. Just be encouraging, invite them with no expectations, and hope they can come. If they do, remember they are in a different world than you. Be accepting, patient, and kind. That’s it..it is as simple as that.