|completely unrelated photo but I like a photo in the post!|
She was asked if she, or her mum, would like to come to a future training session to talk about ASD. She asked if I would do it. At first I thought, I'm no expert... how could I give advice to anyone? But on thinking, in the last year I've researched a lot online, read most of this book by Australian Tony Attwood (which I can recommend highly), worked my way through New Zealand's health system trying to get answers and as much help as we can, I've had some great advice from a couple of other ASD mums and I've learned to take one day at a time - actually one minute, one hour sometimes - such can be the fickle nature of things.
I've shed way too many tears, harboured too much anxiety, learned that I have to be strong, and that I will make it my mission to help him find the best life he can have.
I can advise the volunteers that those with ASD frequently need information up front and in small bite size pieces. Too much at once creates overload and that equals stress. Stress is to avoided! I can advise them they may not engage in much conversation and to think of asking questions requiring a one word or short answer. I can advise them their minds may wander to their topic of interest and they may have difficulty focusing on the topic at hand. I can advise them not to judge them by their style/clothes. They may not be dressed as expected. They may like certain comfortable clothes and be completely unconcerned about the weather or fashion. I can advise them not to be offended if spoken to in an offensive way as that is usually triggered by stress and usually not meant. I can advise them that they may have noise and other sensitivities. And the list goes on.
It's overwhelming at times and bewildering. I'm certainly no expert but I have a year's experience behind me now. What people need to know is that people with ASD are usually very bright, intelligent individuals. I've learned so much from my son. I love him to bits and wish the rest of the world could get to know the real young man behind the quiet facade outside of home.
If I can help tell the world about my experience with ASD, then I'm going to embrace the opportunity.
I repeat that I'm no expert in this area, and any opinion is entirely my own.
PS - I just read this to my hubby before posting, just to make sure I was doing the right thing...and I burst into tears, such is the emotion that goes with this life of mine. I also wanted to say that I'm careful how I record this in my PL pages. After advice from other mums, I have eluded sometimes to difficult times, and written on the back of cards, so the story is recorded but not for all eyes looking through the albums. I'd love to hear from others how you record your story.