So several months ago big girl was diagnosed as being Autistic. Whilst it wasn’t a huge shock, as obviously I’d requested the assessment, it was none the less still quite a bit of tough news to digest.
Over the last few months big girls struggled with many things, mostly school related. There has been worry about certain events, anxiety about seemingly small stuff, there’s been sleep problems, relationship issues and problems with her peers at school.
Big girl finds it very difficult to process her emotions and this results in sleepless nights, frustration, anxiety and self harming.
I’ve wondered over the last few months if knowing she was Autistic might help her to understand why she sometimes finds things a little more difficult to handle than others or why sometimes she doesn’t understand the world around her as clearly as some of her peers, I wondered if knowing she was ‘different’ might make her feel less ‘rubbish’. Big girl doesn’t see herself in a very good light, she often uses the words ‘rubbish, stupid, bad’ when she’s feeling frustrated with herself, so I thought maybe knowing she was ‘different’ she might take some of the pressure off herself.
I asked the advice of friends and they suggested some very good childrens books aimed at explaining Autism to Autistic children and their siblings. I pondered for months over which book to get, how I’d broach the subject, the words I’d use and the words I’d avoid, how she’d react and even whether telling her was the right thing to do.
So the other day in the car I told her. No book, no planning, it just seemed like the right time. I explained carefully about the reason for all the appointments we’d had last year, I delicately explained what Autism was and how it might mean that sometimes she’d see and feel and hear things a little differently to other people but that she also had this wonderful skill at remembering all sorts of historical facts which is something that many other people would struggle to do.
I don’t know if I said the right things, I don’t know if I used the right words because I never got round to buying the books, but I did my best and I felt that right there and then, that moment in the car, when she was feeling relaxed and we were chatting, I felt that was the right time to tell her. I was still filled with dread at her reaction, how would she take the news, would she be upset, would she be angry, would she cry, would it make her feel even more ‘rubbish’ and more to the point, would she understand.
Her response, the one I’d spent months worrying about, was simply:
‘Ohhhh ok…….*short pause that felt like hours to me…… erm mommy will we take the shopping home before we collect them from school or won’t there be time?’
Every day my girls are teaching me that sometimes what we see as a big deal, really isn’t a big deal to them, and vice versa, all those pointless things she’s spent hours stressing about, were a big deal to her.
I’m going to buy the books so if she does want to talk about it some more some time, I’ll be better prepared 🙂