“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet”
I’d like to think that I maintain a positive outlook and it’s true that our son will pick up on the slightest emotion that my wife and I show, consciously or subconsciously. His emotional wellbeing is so dependant upon us, regardless of what he is doing at the time. If we smile, he knows things are calm and safe, if we frown and hold a stern expression, he questions, “is everything alright” ? and we have to quickly and confidently recognise this and change, to exhibit a happy smiley face and demeanour.
He attended a review in the last couple of days. A clinical psychiatrist and speech and language therapist kept him (and it really was a feeling of being ‘kept’) for over an hour and a half, questioning this and questioning that. For me, I thought many of the questions were asked without any regard for his learning disabilities, which just served to increase his anxiety at being there. Looking ever more frequently at me as if asking for help, without uttering a word, I did eventually bring a halt to it as I could see a meltdown happening and he had been there way too long.
True enough, the wild and uncontrollable temper, coupled with severe upset followed and it was all that I could do to get him home and go through our ‘safe’ routines while keeping a smile and calm voice throughout.
The specialists need to know what progress has been made in a relatively short space of time, but for our son, it seemed like it went on forever!
We have been told that he hasn’t developed at all since we were there last and that many fears and anxieties had been amplified. A backward step. Medication changes had been responsible for some input to this as well as a lack of adult care support for those over a certain age with Autism and additional complex needs. In short, if we don’t, nobody will.
We have come out armed with more techniques, ‘Talking Mat’, ‘Room Diary’, ‘Audible and Visual event slideshow’, ‘Short trips’, ‘Happy pictures’ so on and so on …
I’ll not knock any of them as they all have their place, and many we have used successfully but I do get to regret that his autism was not identified at a very young age, but rather struggle through the last 30 plus years and now trying to re-educate his mind to develop coping mechanisms that will last and not forgotten at the slightest change.
It is through times like this, you need to have a mind-set that you ‘walk in the rain’ and not ‘get wet’ as the successes and achievements, no matter how small and brief are well worth the continual effort that is needed to achieve them and though you may feel alone against the world with the ongoing challenges, your not really, and to quote a line from a movie … ‘help will always come to those who ask for it’ …
That help invariably comes from your friends 🙂