Where do you see yourself in ten years time? What is it you want from life? What are you aiming for?
What did you answer?
I remember being asked this question (a good few times in-fact) the one time that really stands out though, was being asked the above as part of a job interview. I was just eighteen at the time and pregnant with little man. Was I scared at the prospect of becoming a young mum? “I don’t really think I actually considered myself to be one at the time” , Though yes eighteen is very young and I would soon become a teenage mum, I felt excited for what lay ahead.
I knew what the interviewer was thinking, you could see it from the moment I walked in the door! I knew it was a waste of time, and though it wasn’t the best job in the world “Being a bingo assistant” It was a job, and when your on such a low-income with a baby on the way, you grab anything you can get.
So where did I see myself in ten years time & what was it I was aiming for?
*Giggle* “Mmm… a successful career woman, who was also a mummy to a few beautiful kiddies, a house covered in ivy that was picture perfect, my prince in toll and a few horses to make up the numbers!”
Of course I didn’t say this! No…. I rambled on about this & that, all the normal interview talk about climbing the ladder.… Blah-blah-blah.
Well, needless to say I didn’t get the job! Who wants to employ a young lady and her bump, who would be wanting maternity leave a few months down the line!
I’m now 28 years old and yep, its ten years later (I have the bags under my eyes to prove it) I may not have the complete picture perfect house in the country. I certainly don’t have the career! But I do have three beautiful children & do you know what? “I’ve discovered my passion! Raising awareness for autism spectrum disorders, campaigning for change! ” Who gives a horses *beep* about the ivy covered cottage with the high-flying career?
When I discovered little man had Aspergers I knew I had to search for every bit of info I could (No matter how small or insufficient it may seem) It was like stepping into a whole new world that was both amazing, yet heartbreaking. “What the hell is wrong with him” or another common one… “How can my own son act so emotionless towards his own mother?” How many parents of children on the spectrum have asked themselves that very question I wonder? Now I was beginning to understand why!!!
So many times I questioned things, so… many things: “Why would he ask for padlocks for his birthday? What’s with the tiptoe walking & the refusal to wear certain clothing? Does he really need to get naked as soon as we step through the door???? The thing is when a child is on the more “low functioning” end of the spectrum, it’s that bit clearer to the outside world that, “Yes this child doesn’t seem to be developing as they should be” With the child that is on the opposite end of that spectrum, the child who meets or even exceeds many of their developmental milestones, will not likely encounter such views! I’m not saying those children who are said to be “Classic Autistic” have it easy, Hell no! These children are often seen as little toe-rags by many despite how profoundly autistic they maybe. There is no way of getting away from the ignorance of society. I’m merely saying that when your child has Aspergers, it can be hard to get those you need to listen to do so!
So… My point is ten years on, things are a lot different then I ever imagined! If you had asked me how I felt about having a child on the spectrum a few years back, you would have been greeted with a blubbering woman who couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. A primary school who reported no problems, a mother & a father who endlessly thought up tactics & strategies to get our child into his bed of a night (Sleep is another matter all together) The need to give the never-ending reassurance little man required to lessen his anxieties… “Yes, daddy is fine, his not going to get hurt when his not with you” or “of course mummy will cross at the lights” Yet enduring his inappropriate use of language and insensitive remarks when he tells you, “GET OUT MY FACE MUM, YOU SPY, YOU BITCH!” The heartbreak you feel every time your child looks at you and tells you in the most serious of faces, “I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU, I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU”, worse still “I DON’T LOVE YOU” All the time there’s this little boy in there and something is making him feel so angry that his screaming inside, his sat on a step hands together asking.… “god, why is she doing this to me?” when you’re trying to be consistent in dealing with challenging behaviour. He goes into full meltdown, resulting in you “the parent” asking god that very same question that he did.. “GOD, WHY IS HE DOING THIS TO ME?” some six hours later, while sat in a crying heap on the floor.
No denying it! It’s one road that’s long and full of road works a long the way. But having that, “Label” somehow makes it so…. much easier. I’m not talking about public services (though this help) I’m talking about the change in yourself! Your now able to read, read, read.… because you have a focus, something to go on! With every page or website, new friend, fellow parent you meet, you find an answer for one of them many questions you’ve asks yourself! Like most things in life the answer to a problem, ultimately gives you the solution needed to “mend it” & others well you turn them into positives… “Obsessive interest can become tools to engage the child in learning or used as a meaning full reward..e.g.” It’s no easy ride, and though I’m more confident in parenting my son, “more than I was before & in the early months following his diagnosis” I still find myself having one of them “Low” days, when ignorance bloody makes my blood boil & one more stupid, insensitive, dam right judgemental comments will push me off the edge of the cliff I’ve been stood on the entire day, week, or even month. “I’m used to it” I mean “ignorance” I spent too much time worrying about the probability that the shop assistant, teacher, parent…. would think his a “Brat” or “Devil child” (Yes his called this, comments referring to the three sixes on his head et.…) The worry about your parental skills being looked upon. I become sick of the worry and self loathing. Now I smile a cheesy smile. If I feel the need to explain a behaviour I will, but only because.… “I FEEL IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED!” Though things are so, so tough at present, with part-time schooling due to his complex needs in school, leading to constant exclusions, and the ongoing statutory assessments, I’m sane!! (Just about) and extremely happy and proud in broadcasting to the world that… I HAVE A CHILD WITH ASPERGERS & A LONG WITH HIS SISTER AND BABY BROTHER, I THINK HIS AMAZING & MY GOD I LOVE THAT LITTLE ASPIE MAN OF MINE!
This post has been linked to the awareness campaign:”All bloggers unite for Autism” created by Tammy over at Autism Learning Felt. Instead of participating in the Autism communication shutdown that also takes place today, Tammy decided it was better to be heard then be silenced and therefore went about uniting all mum bloggers to blog about autism and contact the blogs together to form a chain of great articles and better autism awareness.