I’ve found a problem with taking a respectful approach to parenting my autistic children.
It’s great that as a society we are becoming more aware of mental health challenges and the impact they have on peoples lives. Words like depression, and anxiety are part of our conversations now, and the stigma around them is reducing. But there is still some misunderstanding about what they actually are, and even more so when we mention anxiety in neurodivergent people.
In my article “Behaviour Management” I said,
“There is a different way to support change in a child’s behaviour than imposing our own will over theirs. It begins with letting go of the temptation to manage behaviours, and replace it with the goal of meeting needs.“
All my life I have wanted to blend in. I have wanted to be understood, to feel safe, to be able to tolerate a bit of vulnerability without needing to retreat for days to recover, and to be accepted for who I am. I have tried so hard to look the part, talk the talk, be one of the gang. It’s possible people do actually perceive that I have achieved that, but in my mind I have not. I have always still felt on the outside and uncomfortable, no matter what I have done to fit in.
Do you live independently? Yeah. Me too.
I live in a house with my partner. We both have jobs. I buy food, pay rent and bills, and drive my car. I am raising six children. I care for our pets. I clean the house, wash clothes, garden, and grow some of our own food. I go to appointments, deal with necessary bureaucracy, and I vote.
Earlier this year MissG and I were to participate in the annual Autism Positivity Flashblog. The topic was Acceptance Love and Self-Care. I hoped to ask MissG some questions about how she looks after herself and submit her answers, but as you will see the discussion didn’t go as I thought it would.
We pulled into the parking lot at the huge shopping centre an hours drive from home. We always have a lot of things to get done when we come here.
There are a lot of definitions of success, and consensus over what is successful seems elusive. As a society, at least from where I sit, it looks like while we consistently see some things as signs of success, we do acknowledge that different things are regarded as measures of success in different situations. But I also see evidence that there are some things that are definitely not considered to be signs of success.
From time to time, I notice a resurgence of the “letter to the new ‘autism parent’ from the experienced one” sort of articles in the blog/facebook world.
I get why these posts are popular. When your child is identified as autistic, it seems expected that people go through a period of feeling sad and overwhelmed. These letters tend to focus on that and give strategies to deal with the “awfulness” that life is with an Autistic child.