Danielle from Someone’s Mum was selected by our BISS July panel and in her guest blog opens up about what it’s really like to be an autism parent …
1. You are constantly scanning the area for potential sensory triggers and loud noises. Heaven help the person who sets off a hand dryer or a car alarm just as you are walking past with your child.
2. You know the details your child’s current obsession almost as well as they do – whether that’s the name of every character in Cars or the plot of every episode of Thomas the Tank Engine ever made.
3. There are some objects that you always have to hand. Leaving the house without them would be as unthinkable as leaving naked. Whether that’s headphones, weighted blankets, ear defenders or other sensory toys or aids – you know exactly the things that can sometimes help to calm your child and the special objects that they simply must have.
4. You develop lightning quick reflexes for averting possible meltdowns. You can spot a sandwich that is a millimetre off being perfectly square from fifty paces. You can hear the slightest nuance in a turn of phrase or action that could distress your child and you often stop or correct people before they have finished the sentence.
5. You have learned a whole new language of stims and noises and know exactly when a shout and a flap of the arms means they are delighted and when it means they are a second away from becoming too overwhelmed to function.
6. You never, EVER, go anywhere without the chargers – whether for MP3 players, tablets or DVDs. A dead battery is a fate that cannot be contemplated.
7. You learn not to judge others. When your child is behaving differently to their peers you learn to embrace and love each eccentricity that makes them unique – and to accept the same in others.
8. Some days are tough. Very tough. Some days you see the things that other children can do so easily and it sits like a weight on your heart. There are moments when that envy will engulf you, knowing that those parents, that child, will never experience the hardships that your child will.
9. But other days are filled with joy. When your child does something new or unexpected, develops a skill they have previously struggled with, takes delight in simple things – then you realise that those experiences are at the heart of parenting and, in reality, you are deprived of nothing.
10. You know that special children aren’t given to special parents – special children MAKE special parents.