It’s noon and my daughter is dressed in mis-matched pyjama top and bottoms, with unbrushed (never brushed) hair hanging over her eyes. She’s been awake for half an hour. Her bed-time and waking time are very different from most kids her age. It’s okay.
My daughter has a very specific list of things she absolutely will not eat and things she absolutely loves to eat, and often. It’s okay. We respect her choices and provide her food she likes, whenever she likes.
We have friends over to visit, and she becomes overwhelmed and wants to be on her own. I help her set up space in a room alone with the doors closed, watching her favourite youtube channel. She rejoins the group play when she’s ready. It’s okay.
We seldom go out, because outings present so many unexpected variations in temperature, noises, bright light, strange overpowering smells, unpredictable other people, but it’s okay. We have a fulfilling home life of play and natural learning and following our interests. When we do go out, it’s for something we really want to do and enjoy. Supermarkets deliver 😉
My daughter is often in constant motion – jumping, tapping, climbing, eating, picking her lip, chewing bubblegum, creating new storylines with her toys and family. It’s okay. Stimming is great fun, helps her feel good, there’s no need to force her to sit down and shut up. She’s free to be how she needs and wants to be in her own body.
I remember a time when I wasn’t sure if this was all okay. When I was full of panic and alarm at the differences between my child and most other children. This was a time when I didn’t know about neurodiversity, or what it meant to be autistic, or that being autistic was okay.
I knew that I wanted my child to feel loved, accepted, respected. For her to have bodily autonomy, choices over her life that matched *her* preferences, not someone else’s limited expectations for children.
We met other autistic families, we discovered radical unschooling, we changed our expectations and lifestyle to meet our daughter’s needs. And guess what? We’re okay 🙂
In fact we’re better than okay. We’re happy, thriving, joyful, contented and guess how my daughter described our life the other day? Peaceful. How awesome is that!? 🙂