Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An unlikely obsession

Sorry I haven't been around for, oh, a year or so.  I've been in training, sort of. 

I have been learning about Asperger's Syndrome.  I've welcomed therapists into our home.  I've done my stint as the parent in the courtroom. (That is the parental curse coming to fruition.)  I've regained weight I have lost.  I've lost the self that I thought I had regained. 

Rather than sinking into a depression, I have had something of a rebirth.  Oh, I dipped my toe into the deep of depression.  Thankfully, I didn't dive in.  Instead, I seem to have found a new purpose.  I am seriously considering going back to college to become a psychologist.  I want to help other parents.  I want to reassure other parents with autistic kids that it's okay.  I want to be able to talk to other parents and share methodologies.  I want to be a shoulder to cry on or another parent to laugh with when your child does or says something totally off the wall.  I want to make a difference without burning bridges.  I want to help someone else not to always feel like it's us against the world.

One thing that has recently come up in our home is a pseudo-regression.  Items and activities that never were a huge issue have now become a huge issue.  For example, I've never had a real problem with my son getting dressed.  I have set out clothes in the past and he would put them on.  Last year, at the urging of a therapist, I stopped setting the clothes out and I made him pick his own.  My son did not put up too much of a fight.  He struggles with the comfort of his clothes, so some days were better than others, but he would still get dressed without incident.  Today, he refused to take off his pajama pants.  He wasn't in a particularly obstinate mood.  When he finally did get dressed, he didn't finish the job.  When that happens, I have to start reminding him that we are running out of time and that he needs to do as he is told NOW!  Subsequently, it is the younger kids that miss their bus, because it comes earlier than the older kids' bus.  I've had a lot of conversations about "natural consequences" with a close friend.  We both have children on the spectrum, but our children are very different.  Additionally, I get very defensive when she starts to discuss parenting practices because those conversations usually end an opinion that I have failed as a parent. 

I think there is a comfort level from our years of friendship that gives us both the freedom to speak frankly, but sometimes it just hurts.  I don't think she wants to hurt me, but I absolutely think she gauges her own parenting against mine and uses that as an ego boost.  Although we both have a child on the spectrum, our lives are very different.  I believe that it is comparing apples to skyscrapers.

It is for that reason that I want to help other parents.  So, I am going to run a parent-to-parent support group for parents with kids on the spectrum.  My counselor has offered me the use of her office and she will spread the news for me.  I am so very nervous and excited all at the same time. 

Today, Life on Elk Meadows is moving forward...

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