I am a mother to three gorgeous kids, the youngest of which has Aspergers Syndrome. This is my attempt to chart the journey we have taken together and share with you how autism has effected our lives...
If you had told me a year ago that our lives would be so good now I don't think I'd have believed you. Out of the darkness comes light and Munchkin has certainly lit up our lives and made things interesting. There isn't a day she doesn't make us smile and laugh with her antics :)
It will take me a while to get the blog up to date per se and the beginning will be hard to write for me as will bring me back to the dark place we once were, but I'm hoping it will help even one person at the beginning of their journey xx
Many of my blog readers will be sick of reading how important it is to have friends that "get it" and have heard me wax lyrical on many occasions about the friends I have made on Facebook over the last year and half, but once again I'm going to tell you why this is so meaningful.
Last weekend, two girls who I now consider close friends even though we only met a year ago, came to stay for a night with their three gorgeous sons. We had discussed this visit on our Facebook pages and pretty soon, another two mums decided to pack up their kids and head for the coast on an hour and half road trip to come have a picnic with us on the beach. We all met at my house on the Saturday at lunchtime so we could go to the beach together and off we headed, armed with blankets, towels, food and high expectations of having a great afternoon in good company. The sun smiled on us and when we arrived we parked ourselves close to the waters edge, ready to run as needed. Between us we had 9 children, 2 auties, 4 aspies, 1 under assessment, 1 with dyspraxia and a toddler. Add in copious amounts of ADHD and we were ready for a fun day out...
Before long one mum was shouting for assistance to come take her phone out of her pocket as she was wading out to retrieve her young man who looked for all intents and purposes, determined to head towards Wales without a backward glance. As she managed to drag him back to land he managed to slip out of his shorts, preferring to turn the local beach into a nudist one hehe. We all enjoyed seeing the looks of excitement on our little ones faces as they paddled, crawled, rolled in the sand and did what they do best, be kids. We attracted some looks on the beach but as we are all seasoned elephant hide wearers, none of us were bothered by the attention. At times it was poignant for me to see Munchkin want to play with a little group of girls, but lacking the social skills necessary for her to join in. Despite having a vast vocabulary and excellent speech, she still falters when it comes to joining in with NT kids as she struggles conversationally.
After we had had enough of eating sand sandwiches and the beach in general, we all headed back to my house to let the kids continue to play alongside each other while the mothers were able to chat and relax a little with the front gates firmly closed. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and when the ladies from the Midlands left that evening, there were four nudies jumping on the trampoline until it was time to come in and get ready for bed. Amazingly, all four kiddies settled well that night and us mums sat chatting in the kitchen until the wee hours.
The next morning, all four kids were in fabulous form and we decided to take them to the local play centre where they burnt off some of the copious amounts of energy they store in such small bodies! Afterwards it was off to MaccyDees to meet up with another lovely FB family who were visiting the area and more laughing and chatting over our fast food before the gang all headed back to their own homes. On Sunday night, I sat and realised how quiet the house was now and how I missed the company of the girls and their wonderful kiddies.
Most people would think that having that many kids with special needs in your home would be stressful, but it was quite the opposite in fact. Not having to explain why your child likes to do naked acrobatics or why the ice pop is the wrong colour/shape/brand is very liberating. Not having to explain your childs behaviour or worry that people will think its poor parenting to allow drawing on a brown wall (well it did look like a giant chalkboard!) is so refreshing. It was also lovely to see the "friendships" between the children evolve. Whoever says that all aspies or auties are not interested in having friends is talking through their posteriors... I saw lots of bonding and even if they didn't communicate like NT kids, they were certainly enjoying each others company!