A fellow blogger, and autism mum, First time valley mam, recently wrote a post asking when it gets easier. It got me thinking about my life as a mum of a child with special needs. For me, it has got easier, simply because I'm forever learning.
That is what makes it easier, honestly. I'll give you some examples, but bear in mind, these lessons were learnt the hard way. The VERY hard way.
Ajax doesn't cope well with change, however, our house is always changing. We've learnt to do things when he's not around, or do it slowly. Christmas is a perfect example of this. We start decorating early, I may start with ornaments towards the end of November, then the tree at the beginning of December, followed by any other decorations a couple of weeks later. It doesn't become overwhelming for him then, it's a gradual change.
He finds a lot of toys over stimulating, but owns a LOT of toys. We have overcome this by utilising storage. I have shelving, filled with coloured boxes, all through the house. He plays with everything, but very little is visible. Every now and then we'll have a swap around of boxes, if his interest is starting to wain with the current choice.
Shopping used to be a nightmare but, thanks to us learning new ways to cope, he actually asked to come with me the other day! We avoid aisles that may be too much for him, we go at quieter times, we have set rules before we go. This has all been a natural learning curve, over many years. I can also read his mood, so I know what he can, and most definitely can't deal with.
It really does get easier.
He will always be autistic, and the professionals that we deal with agree that he probably won't be able to live independently. However, that doesn't mean we stop trying! We don't know what the future will bring and some problems may be solvable.
Today was a perfect example of that. We had an appointment with an occupational therapist. For those not in the know, this is someone that can help Ajax with the normal everyday tasks he struggles with, for example: getting dressed, writing, using cutlery. An OT helps with far more than that, but those were the reasons we were referred.
As it turns out, there isn't a lot she can do, because the problem is more to do with his hyper-mobility. However, she was able to offer advice that would help, and WOW what a simple solutions!
Cutlery is one of the main problems, he's never quite figured it out. It turns out cutlery is hard because of his beautiful long fingers and mobility, her solution: change the cutlery! She gave him a special set to try and I've never seen him cut anything so easily. The OT has sent me the link to the cutlery, and we've already ordered a set like these:
|you can find these here: caring cutlery|
They have a special shape, so he knows where to put his fingers, to give him a better grip. She also suggested that there is more to the problems with writing than simply physical. Things don't come naturally to him, so she has suggested pencil grips, even though he can hold the pencil, it may be a useful distraction.
See? Always learning.
That's the only reason it gets easier. As he grows, his needs change, so I will always be learning.
Being a parent of a child with additional needs will never be boring!