There are some days when being a mom of a boy with autism is challenging. What turns challenging into frustrating is when you have to battle Family as much as you have to educate the general public on what it means to have a boy with autism. What turns frustrating into maddening is when Family who know just enough to get themselves in trouble, begin to tell you what’s best for your boy with autism, like “wouldn’t it be better to just not let him play with other kids?”
Yes. THAT HAPPENED.
So, kids, with nerf guns, at a party, are being little (I won’t use the word I so WANT to use right now) “aggressive,” not following the “rules” that the hostess made a giant deal about when there were 5 kids there, and no adults are doing anything about it, because, “they’re doing it to everyone.” The behaviors are deemed acceptable and my child is just, and yes I quote, “really sensitive.”
Yeah F YOU!
Then, to have now labeled “really sensitive” kid’s grandmother say, “well maybe it’s best if he just doesn’t do these things” is just mind blowing to me.
Yes, of course I tried advocating for my son. What’s MORE important is my son, ADVOCATED FOR HIMSELF!
So if you have ever read any of my writings you know I am a person who HAS to find the positive part of every story, it’s what allows me to live in this horribly depressing universe with horrible and depressing people. I find the beautiful sunset just before the dark kinda girl!
So here it is. Not so long ago, if my kid had been shot several times in the face/neck, laughed at, and teased relentlessly, he would have lost ALL control in a split second instant and beat the living crap outta that kid. (Impulse control issues) OR depending on the hour or minute of the day, he would an uncontrollable meltdown (hello autism) heard in the neighboring states. Neither of which happened.
When it got to be too much and he was done with them trying to rip HIS gun out of his hand (which they were not doing to the others), when he was over them cheating during the game (staying in when they were out, stealing bullets, etc) and when his words stopped working (hey, don’t shoot me in the face, dude) he simply, walked away.
“Mom, can I please just sit here for a little bit, and take a break? This (pointing to the nerf course set up) isn’t working for me.”
Self-Advocacy for the point.
He articulated everything happening in there and that he felt it wasn’t nice or fair.
Articulation, impulse control, advocacy for the safety and empathy for others: point, point, point, point.
“Ok Mom, I am going to give it another try wish me luck!” He put on his safety goggles (with OUT being told to, mind you) and went back in. Point. Point.
“Ok yeah, no Mom, this isn’t working, can I please just go get my iPad and sit out, oh and I’m hungry, can I please have some pizza?”
Point point point
“Of course!” I quickly replied to all three very well articulated requests.
But that’s not all
After playing on iPad, after eating, after breathing… HE WENT BACK IN! 3-point SHOT lil man!
I’ll admit he wasn’t in long. During this last trial, is when the “they’re not being mean, they’re doing it to everyone,” and “he’s just so sensitive, what’s that called? Sensory overload?” comments all started flying. And that’s when we decided, TOGETHER HIM AND ME, it was time to leave the party.
Point total = A WIN!
A while later, talking about it with his grandparents, is when I got the question, “well wouldn’t it be better for him to just not do those things?”
No, you see, kids like that will have to deal with kids like mine, for the rest of their lives so if I hide my son they will never learn that there is no price to being kind to someone who may be different than themselves. If my son doesn’t spend time with (a world I don’t want say here) like these kids he will never learn that there are mean people that HE will have to deal with his whole life.
You see darling Grandmother, much more was gained here than lost. Did you see how when he had a problem he came to an adult got help? Did you see when he couldn’t take anymore he didn’t hit someone he instead chose to “take a break” did you see that he spent 20 min on his iPad alone instead of the WHOLE PARTY? did you see, did you see did you see????
“yeah, so? What’s the big deal, why do you always make a big deal over what is just normal?”
And this is where MOMMY’S SELF-ADVOCACY kicked in…. “common kids, it’s time to go!” Mommy needs to leave!
As a special-needs mom, there are times when you have to throw in the towel. There was NOTHING I was going to say at that party, or with my mother that was going to change anyone’s perception, so it was time to walk away.
In the car ride home, both kids said, now we know why we’ve never been to any of our cousin’s birthday parties, yeah, his friends and their parents are just mean.
Later, my little man asked me as we said our nightly prayers, “mom, why didn’t ANY of those parents make those kids stop behaving like that and make them follow the rules?” I simply replied, “I don’t know, honey, but I am SOOOO proud of how YOU behaved today! You made YOUR Mommy, very proud!” Then we prayed for more kindness and tolerance in the world.