There is nothing more exciting than summer vacation. For months you see it as a mirage, the light at the end of the tunnel, the reward for your hard work during the long dark winter – and you can’t wait for it to come. As it gets closer, you start counting the weeks, the days, the minutes, while dreaming about how you are going to lay in the sun, enjoy some piece and quite and just relax. Ah… relax! How amazing it will be. And then, at last, the first day of summer vacation is upon you. At last, some piece and quiet. And then your kids jump onto the bed.
Autism is still a widely misconceived concept but Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) even more so. In my last post, Why Parents of Autistic Kids Get Judged and What to Do About It, I touch a bit upon the topic where I wrote: “78 percent [of those with autism] have problems related to sensory processing disorder (SPD) where things that most of us can easily handle, such as bright light, loud sounds, how different textures feel against our skin etc., can turn into a negative stimulus and become a major issue.” I don’t have SPD myself and therefore I don’t know exactly how it affects people. However, my sons do have some sensory related problems and thus, I want to elaborate on the discussion in my last post.
This post is derived from my last post “Mothers, Let’s Not Judge Each Other” but is more directed towards autism and how parents of autistic kids are sometimes judged by other parents, even verbally accused of being inadequate parents in some occasions. This may come as a surprise but one has to consider the many ways autistic kids and their way of expressing themselves differs from that considered “normal” and “socially acceptable”. And when someone diverges from the norm, it unfortunately often brings out judgmental reactions from others. So what is there to be done?
Recently, I’ve started to notice more when people rant about other people and how they should live their lives – particularly when it has to do with parenting. Remarkably, everyone seems to believe that their own methods are superior to that of others. Even though this goes for both genders, we women seem to have a greater tendency for judging each other and what’s more, talk about it with other women, which is why I’ve decided to address this post to mothers in particular. It is so easy to point a finger at others, isn’t it, but can we afford it? Doesn’t it say in the Bible: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”? I’m sure every religion has a similar line.
Last week I reported that this blog now has well over 1000 followers (and in fact it’s now well over 1100!), something I am still very much amazed about. And what a coincidence that in the same week, I was contacted by Autism Live, a network focusing on everything autism related, that broadcasts online on weekdays from 9am to 12pm Pacific time, for an interview. Apparently, they had stumbled upon my blog and found it interesting enough to contact me and ask if I was willing to be interviewed live via Skype. And I agreed.
I am amazed that my blog now has well over 1000 followers! I’m so thankful and humbled for your support! I can’t believe it was only in February that I decided to go ahead with this blog about my two sons, their autism diagnoses and how autism affects the family. I had been thinking about it for weeks but was a little doubtful at first if it was a good idea to open up to the world and letting everyone in on my little family and our life. But there was something that told me it would be for the better. It most certainly was and I haven’t regretted doing it for a single moment! It has had great therapeutic effects and I think that those close to us have also gotten a better idea of the things that we’ve been going through. Thus, I want to thank my husband for getting the idea in the first place and then urging me on and believing in me. But first and foremost I want to thank you all that have supported me by following the blog, by leaving your amazing and so so appreciated comments, and last but not least by sharing my posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. You have truly been an inspiration and your support means the world to me. So thank you all so very much!
Lately, it has become more and more apparent to me that I’m being mean and unfair towards myself pretty much all the time. I seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle that I’m having trouble getting out of. You see, I feel guilty almost all the time. It can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a mother, it can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a wife, or that I’m not efficient enough in my studies, or that the house is always a mess, or, or, or… I always feel like I have to be doing something and when I do, I always feel like it’s done at the expense of something else I should or could be doing. It’s a vicious circuit that leads nowhere. It’s a fight with my unconsciousness that I can’t win!
Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while probably know about the extensive sleeping problems of our V and how they’ve been affecting the family. As explicitly explained in my post Autism Sleeping Problems, my husband and I have practically not had a night off together in months since one of us has been stuck in the bedroom, trying to get the little gorilla boy to sleep – without much luck! It wasn’t unusual that he was still awake at 11 pm after more than three hours of “Lie down!”, “Stop playing and go to bed… now!”, “Stop standing on your head!” (see video below), and “Honey, will you just please fall asleep now! PLEASE!!!”. It has been a nightmare!
When asked “which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” I always choose the bad news first. I guess I always want to get the worst part over with and then start focusing on the positives. Which is why I’ll start this post with the negatives of marriage, namely the divorce rates. When searching the internet for statistics I found that the general divorce rate in the US is approximately 50%. While these are striking numbers, I’m sure they’re not far from the statistics in most western countries. For years, rumors of even higher divorce rates of parents of autistic children have circulated where numbers as high as 80% have been frequently mentioned. Not an encouraging thought and I could not help but wonder: is this really true?
In my last post, that was mostly about the impact nice weather and exercise has on one’s mental health, I also mentioned that V has already started in a new kindergarten, namely his big brother’s basisgruppe. As already explained, it’s this Danish name of an institution that, along with being a normal kindergarten, has a special department of 6 children, all diagnosed with autism, taken care of by four employees, two of which are experts on working with children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). JA started on his birthday in February and V just finished his second week. And boy oh boy, the extent of the difference is nothing short of remarkable!