Today's guest post is written by Miz Kp, the author of Sailing Autistic Seas, an eloquent blog that provides insight into one family's journey through the sometimes smooth and sometimes tumultuous seas of autism with her 5 year old son Angel.
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First, he would turn off the lights. Then he would open the door to one of the therapist’s office during her session. The icing on the cake was when he insisted that he wanted a red apple that he had discovered in the main administrative office. Of course, I could not let him have it. So this resulted in him thrashing on the floor and kicking on the wall as he screamed.
What made this situation even more stressful is that we had an audience. There were five other parents in the waiting area. Some of them were with their children and some were waiting for children. All of them were looking at us. My face grew hot and tears welled up in my eyes. I just could not get Angel to listen.
I looked at my watch. Yep, my son was having a meltdown and I looked at my watch. “Five more minutes until his session,” I thought. Those were the longest five minutes. I admit that I could not wait for his therapist to come and take him into the gym.
Then one parent said, “When I was younger, all my parents had to do was look at me and I knew to act right.” I glared at her and turned my attention back to Angel.
I wondered if these parents are “Autism Aware.” Do they know what it means? Is this the moment when I should’ve asked for some empathy and compassion?
Soon I was able to calm Angel down by giving him some juice despite the “No Eating Sign” in the waiting area. I also let him watch a YouTube video on my phone. Within a few minutes, the screaming stopped.
When his therapist finally came to get him, I guiltily breathed a sigh of relief as she took him away.
For 30 minutes, I gave myself time to let my heart rate return to normal. Then the tears welled up some more. This was not what I had in mind after a long work day. To be fair, I am sure Angel would’ve preferred to have been at home playing with his toys. But he needed his occupational therapy, so here we were.
I am not sure what got to me more. Was it the fact that I was not able to soothe Angel right away or the fact that we had an audience? I think it was all of the above.
Before the evening was over, I had already decided that we will not get to the gym so early next time. Now why didn’t I think of this before? I had to finally accept that I can’t always be early to everything. Waiting is not one of Angel’s strong points and I need to realize that and act accordingly.
That following Thursday, as I was waiting for Angel to come out of his session, another child said to me, “Angel did well today. He listened.” I really did not know how to respond but I guess I can take some comfort from that.
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