Sunday, 29 January 2012

ECHO, echo, echo, echo......



My eldest son has autism.

If you know, or have lived with, someone with autism you would know that sometimes it can be challenging to say the least. Caring for a child with special needs can be, not only exhausting, but heartbreaking and madly frustrating too. I love my son more than words can possibly express, but there are times when I would love just to be able to pack him away in a cupboard. Not permanently of course! Just long enough for me to refresh, recharge and regroup.

As the autism spectrum is so huge, no two autistic children are the same. Even siblings with autism can be totally unlike in their difficulties. My son looks like a entirely 'normal' child from the outside, as he talks, he plays, he gives eye contact and is affectionate. Mostly he has trouble with anxiety, social interaction, has sensory sensitivities, and is quite delayed in his gross motor skills.

He also has little quirks, little oddities if you like. They tend to change from time to time....as he gets older he stops doing some things and begins doing others. For example, he used to flap his hands and twiddle his fingers when he got stressed or excited. He also used to sniff every mouthful of food before he ate it, not willing to eat anything if he didn't like or approve of the smell. He no longer does either of those things (except for the occasional smelling of food if he is trying something new), but instead he jumps! He jumps up and down on the spot when he's learning and concentrating (as it helps him to regulate and focus), and he jumps when he's excited and happy. He will, no doubt, grow out of that too.

The latest little quirk started a week or so ago, and I have to say that I find this one quite fascinating! He has started talking with an echo! A typical question from Master 6 now sounds something like this:

"Mum, can I have something to eat (eat,eat,eat)?"
"Where are my shorts (shorts, shorts)?"

The first day I began hearing the echo, I decided to ask him why he was doing it, but he couldn't tell me. He just said he didn't know. Obviously he must like the sound of it. And I can't blame him....it's kind of catchy! In an annoying kind of way.

Just like the other 'things', we don't draw attention to it. We just ignore it, and in time, it will probably occur less and less, until it stops completely. Then we'll hold our breath while we discover what comes next.

I have to treat each day as an adventure.....a chance to learn more about this unique being my husband and I brought into the world, and more about myself and the strength within. I always say, with a smile, that I believe my son was put on this earth to teach me patience.....


                          .......and he's DAMN good at what he does!




6 comments:

  1. lovely story about a beutiful little man. hes a gift in every way trace. beutiful story hon.

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    1. Thank you Jen, and yes he certainly is!

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  2. Love the story Tracey! My boys are nothing near the autism spectrum, and my first real experience with kids who have it was in my boys' Cub Scout programs. It was extremely challenging for me to deal with those boys, and I would happily nominate *most* parents with autistic children for sainthood. That said, I had parents who would drop the boy off at my house or even for a week-long campout without offering to stay and help, and that was very inconsiderate, I felt, as well as making me think about what was on their mind at the time? Ryan's troop/classmate can't even go through a whole day at school without a para with him every step. Why would his parents think that I could handle him for a weekend camp-out? /rant, and sorry for hijacking!! :)

    Kris G.

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    1. Don't apologise Kris! I have to admit that I can understand why those parents would want to just drop off and run, as they probably rarely had a break! Having said that, I would never do it. It's so not fair on other parents, especially when they don't understand what is involved or needed to properly care for that child. Rant away! :)

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  3. My kids don't have autism, and the cupboard looks inviting on most days. I think I might just hide in there though!!! It's dark, quiet and peaceful!!!

    Parenting is hard enough, tests every parents patience to levels that we thought that was never possible and then some. I admire every parent who then needs to face disability, sickness and disease on top of what is already the most challenging job on the planet.

    You are amazing Trace xo

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    1. Thanks Bec.....all parents are, as you so eloquently pointed out! That includes you! :)

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