Yesterday a friend of mine posted a link to a video about a NON-verbal Autistic child who was assumed to be mentally deficit; however as soon as she was near a computer it was clear that she was not only completely aware of her surroundings, her behaviour and her disability, but she was able to describe it in a very eloquent and beautiful way. She was a wonderfully intelligent woman trapped in a body she couldn't control. The video is here.
It reminded me of something that D's therapists showed me one day in a team meeting. They were trying to get him to show what events or situations make him anxious and upset, and how he feels when they happen. They showed me a drawing he had made of how he felt when I rushed him for school in the morning. It was drawing of him, but his head was exploding, his eyes were out on stalks and his heart was pumping out of his chest. Up to that day, I thought that his behaviour in the mornings was just because he isn't interested in school, but to realise that it was because I was rushing him; well, that not only enlightened me, but also made me feel a little guilty.
I was thinking about this again last night: How I am constantly learning about him. Ever since D was a baby, bedtimes have always been a battle. Then last week, D (unknownst to us) was coming down with an ear-infection and a little more unsettled. We always go to sleep with him because we long realised he needs the physical contact of someone else to settle. He's tactile seeking and needs deep pressure to calm down. We have also found to our cost that no matter how basic the room is in furnishings, if he isn't watched then he will do something to injure himself. (Oh, how we have wished we could put him to bed, kiss him goodnight and leave the room).
However, as I was curling up beside him and he was bouncing around as usual, I commented that as he wasn't settling I was going to lie down next to him but listen to some music on my iPod. I was surprised when he asked if he could listen to. I would have thought that with the constant noise in his head, that more noise was the last thing he wanted. So I had one ear-bud and he had the other. Yet as soon as the music started, he immediately settled and within 15 mins he was asleep. It was a surprise and as such we tried this technique over the following nights. Same thing. It also turns out he loves "The Aussie Christmas Carol" album by Bucko and Champs. Yeah, I am not going to go there either...
So last night, I realised. That although he does have to deal with constant noise ALL the time because he can't filter, that to take ALL noise away is just as frightening. It must be similar to being locked away on your own; almost a sense of abandonment. It was a Duh! moment. As soon as I thought about it, it made perfect sense.
So, this post is to my darling little boy. Thank you for making me NOT complacent in being your Mummy. I know it's hard for both of us sometimes, but you make me the best Mom I can be. You are always challenging me; although sometime that's not always in a good way, most of the time, it is.
By the way, YOU are still paying for my hair-dye when you become rich and famous; just because I am thankful you are who you are, is still no get-out for the grey hairs I now have. ;) Just saying...