Defined as “(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”

We do have to thank our blessings that we live in a country and society where a welfare system operates and those in need of support can get additional help to allow them to integrate and enjoy all (or at least most) of what can be experienced.

The social system, however, can be difficult to navigate your way through and the days of a single point of contact are long gone. Working to coordinate a sensible schedule of meetings and reviews can involve anything upwards of a dozen or more different organisations to provide a package of care. The challenge with using this number of organisations is balancing the need to maintain sensible and worthwhile contact and involvement, within the availability of the respective individual or department, who clearly are inundated with an ever-rising number of people in need.

Generally, we find that if an appointment is cancelled, there are between six and nine months before it can be rescheduled and so attending each one is important. It is alarming how many failed appointments we come across as we work our way through this complex process. I would urge everyone responsible for attending appointments, to do so as the impact of not showing hit’s those of us needing a consultation and having to wait as well as causing an unacceptable cost to an already stretched resource.

Anyone who is involved with Autism will recognise the challenge of waiting. Keeping yourself or the person you are with, focused, when routine and schedule are interrupted and you are in a strange and potentially (perceived) threatening environment and those anxious thoughts are raised even before you are called into your consultation.

This week we must travel to three different towns for consultations, appointments that require getting our son ready up to two hours earlier than we would normally do so, to wash, dress, feed and then medicate him even before we set off. The resilient carer will take all this in their stride and keep in a calm, happy persona to infuse that calmness across everyone you meet. This week we are quietly and privately frantic to get through all we need to, but that must stay private and not shown, if it is, we will set out son back and he will become very anxious very quickly.

Our horror deepened when our first appointment of the week was rescheduled to another consultant at the last minute – someone who did not know us, and importantly, our son did not know them – and was running 45 minutes late (which ended up an hour and ten minutes late when we were seen) We were given to believe, the cause of this delay was a previously ‘missed’ appointment that had resulted in the individual needing urgent attention and consequently it knocked on to others.

Again, you need resilience. We have learned through a painful period, to be prepared. Headphones and iPod with favourite tunes are a must to have with us, a small photograph album with key memory jogging images that hold his interest, a flask with coffee (always a winner) and above all, calming conversation to continually reassure and keep the mind terrors at bay. Even though we are meeting people to discuss the effects of Autism, we do get to question ‘why can we be in this position, surely, they understand what we are going through’ Resilience and patience win through.

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