Sometimes, freedom is the only thing you need to make a difference.
Not hours of occupational therapy.
Not thousands of dollars of interventions by professionals to change behaviours.
Not the stress of spending each week driving to multiple appointments.
Not buying trademarked packages of interventions to get in early and change them hard and fast.
Not changing their diet or feeding them herbs or purifying their water.
Not getting them special glasses with coloured lenses.
Not buying hundreds of dollars of ‘resources’ to fill the pockets of businesses.
Not reading and researching the latest from ‘autism experts’ who are not autistic themselves.
Not sending them to programs to prepare them for school where who knows what will go on behind closed doors?
Not visual planners or aromatherapy or gluten free diets or bleach or crystals or organic food or magnets or prayer or boot camp or parenting school or toxin removal or mega dose vitamins or therapeutic horse riding or ABA or spinal realignment.
Just freedom to be who you are.
A year ago, we were in a different place entirely. We barely left the house with our four year old because the world was too much for him. Instead of doing all of the things above, we supported his needs to stay home and be where he felt safe.
Sometimes resentment snuck up. Four years without my husband and I going out alone together is a long time and we miss it. From time to time we burrowed deep in the ‘we should be able to….’ territory and it never did us any good at all.
But we left him to it and mostly got out of his way, supporting him where he needed and when he showed us that he wanted our help.
He’s 5 in a couple of weeks and we are going on our first family trip – 3 nights away and a plane trip. If you don’t have autistic kids, this won’t be a big deal to your family. This is a HUGE deal in our family. This is five years in the making to get to the point where our son is ready and able to leave behind his house and stay somewhere else.
The trip away won’t look like a trip your family will take if you don’t have autistic kids. I mention this because I don’t want you to think I’m making a case for time ‘curing’ my autistic child. It hasn’t. It never will. I wouldn’t want it to. Our trip will be packed full of autism – facts about planes, last minute meltdowns, headphones to reduce sounds, hiding in the hotel and darting out to grab small pieces of action, eating bread and nothing else, special science interests, demands that need sorting NOW, tears, laughter, wonder and downtime. Returning home to hide in our comforts.
We did zero therapy in the last year. We searched for zero ‘cures’. We read zero textbooks about autism. We attended zero seminars. We bought zero speciality products. We enrolled him in zero classes. We did zero things to try and change him or improve him or adapt him or make him more like his peers.
He wore what he wanted, he ate what he wanted, he structured his day how he pleased. We didn’t move forward into his world and fill it with our agendas. We stepped out of it and tried to trust that he knew what he was doing.
We just let him be.
He’s following his own trajectory now, with us alongside for the ride.
*Image on meme by Quint Buchholz