It is no surprise that Daniel has been having a hard time lately. It is expected – I anticipated it. However, it was implied that my anticipating such things causes them to manifest. Halt! These types of “implications” are clear indications of people who have no understanding about how the neurological system works. They have no comprehension of how difficult it is for a brain with sensory processing dysfunction, or the inability to process emotions rapidly. Those are only a couple of factors that play into it let us add developmentally delayed, but well in tune with things as well. Well attuned to emotions that you do not understand, or fears that you cannot articulate. There is much more to add, but I will leave with those tidbits to chew on.
It is not a simple task of “just do it.”
I would share this awesome image in hopes of people gaining a perspective, but honestly, I am not sure it would help.
Click on it and it will take you to the larger photo at Karla’s ASD Page, where I have found some useful resources. (So go click the “like” button on FB, if you want to receive them.) In my attempts to try to get others to understand lately, I have been telling people what is going on instead of being evasive. I have been giving details because telling me “Just put him in the car” is completely unrealistic. Telling him that he does not have a choice is not an option. Speaking to him in a “You have to listen to me because I am the parent and I said so” manner is ludicrous. Not only do I find that offensive and would not say that to my children anyway, IT WILL NOT WORK!
So… I have been trying to get people to understand what has been going on.
The fact that I have been sharing that he is having a hard time has brought up a whole bunch of other thoughts. I know why he is having a hard time and I am doing everything I can to help him. It is not about him in that sense; it is about me sharing with family and others what actually goes on. (Let me say that everyone is trying to be sympathetic, and that is why I have been sharing - sympathy is not needed. It is helpful.) I have another post that I had planned on writing about some things that have brought me great confusion in the last few days dealing with public humiliation. I hope to write it out tomorrow so that I will stop looping.
It made me very sensitive about sharing Daniel’s behaviors with people.
I have limited what I share because I understand what and why he is doing it, and trying to explain it can be difficult at times when it is so foreign to people. I have felt such emotional abandonment when trying to share. My words get cut off, implications get thrown about, or simple words like, “It’s going to get better now.” With the hint of, I have taken the matter up with God, so He’ll fix it now. As if I did not pray, plead, beg for several years. What about all of my prayers? I will not go into that. I have several sarcastic comments that I will not share, but I confess I am thinking them.
I seem to be the only one who understands.
It can make it very difficult for me at times, and I will be honest – I get tired. I get exhausted and I feel like no one understands what he or I go through. I want someone to understand. I also want others to know that Daniel is NOT just throwing a fit. He is NOT trying to be obstinate, or difficult. He is NOT just refusing to get into a car, or not listening. I want so much for people to understand. How to do you explain to someone that a child who used to ride in the car with no problems has become terrified of it?
How do you explain “car anxiety?”
I tried and people do not get it. In my attempts to share, I exposed Daniel. I noticed this morning when I was talking that he was listening to me. I think I was more attune because I have been researching public humiliation/manipulation, emotional abuse, and about the “new” types of discipline that parents have been doing with their children using social media. It made me wonder if I was making him feel uncomfortable by sharing the information about him. I looked at him and decided to talk to him about it here is the conversation.
Me: Daniel is it bothering you that mommy is talking about this?
Daniel: Uh, huh.
Me: Does it make you feel bad when I share this stuff?
Daniel: Uh, huh.
Me: Do you get upset when you do those things?
Daniel: Uh, huh.
Me: I know you try not to do those things. I am sorry Boo; I will stop talking about it.
Daniel: Ok (with a smile)
Me: Daniel do you know why I have been sharing that information with people?
Daniel: No, why?
Me: I want other people to understand what you go through. I want them to know what it is like for you. I am telling them how you have responded so they understand how hard it can be for you at times.
Daniel: Oh, ok, but I do not want to talk about it.
Me: Alright Boo, you know that mommy understands don’t you?
Me: Do you want a “squeeze’um?” (Deep pressure hug)
Daniel: (giggling) Yeah.
I have tried to be evasive when talking about Daniel’s “meltdowns” on here.
I would hate for him to read it when he is older and feel like I was humiliating him in anyway. I plan to explain to him anything I share has been to help me discover others who know what I am talking about to better help him and me. Or that I feel by my sharing the information that it was helping others. Sometimes though I share because I have nowhere else to go. I need to write it out and make it real for me so I do not fall into thinking that I am overreacting or something. My intentions are never to get sympathy or to make Daniel feel badly -EVER! I will tell him that too. I believe he knows this, and will when he gets older.
However, with all of this floating around in my head it has made me very aware of my words.
It made me very aware of how differently I see the lifelong commitment of being a parent is compared to a vast amount of other people. Not to compare in judgement it is an observation of how differently I can think compared to others. It made me step back and evaluate how I speak in front of my children, about them and about others. It made me fall into my past and see how often no one let me know that it was ok after my meltdowns. After my meltdowns, I was made to feel like a brat, selfish, wanting attention, or purposely trying to be difficult. These things were said in front of others. It made me feel ashamed or embarrassed. I am not saying it is ok for a child to be out of control, and require no discipline or helpful rules. There needs to be balance, but I think empathy goes along way. I think if the child feels heard, and understood, or in the very least accepted the communication can stay open.
I am happy that Daniel felt safe enough to tell me not to talk about it.
I have explained to him that I do need to at times though, so people will understand to some extent. He is ok with that. I plan on working with Daniel to see how he would like me to express to others how he is feeling. My hope is that by modeling it he will be able to for himself. I am going to try to talk to him and see what plan we can have together to share with people why he responds(ed) in a certain way. I want him to feel understood, accepted, and if he knows why he was having a hard time, that he feels safe enough to share. I think that it is important that we talk about it with people who are willing to understand. I also believe that it is my responsibility to ensure that he is not feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or shameful in anyway. (I know I cannot protect him always, I am referring to my own actions, and words. As well as other authority figures that come into his life.) I wish I could make people understand. I wish there was an easy way to explain things where people did not have preconceived notions about a child “throwing a fit.”
In my experience with kids, many times they are not just acting out.
There are some who are, but many of the cases that I have encountered there was much more going on. How did I discover that? I sat down with them, and talked to them. I showed them how important their words were, and who they were mattered to me. I do this with my kids too and I forget that other people do not see kids in the same way as I do. There are many people who do not look at my children and think that they have something of substance to contribute to the world at ages seven and six years old. I do, I and will try to help cultivate their voices, and their confidence. I think this is a huge milestone for Daniel. He expressed himself clearly – short and with few words, but clearly. Even though he was not able to go beyond asking me to stop, he still felt safe enough to say so.
I will respect that and do my best to ensure he knows I listened.
Side Note: I wrote some of this last night, so the conversation actually happened yesterday morning. I do not know why I feel I must tell you all that bit of information, but I had to. My head is very fuzzy today. I am not feeling all that well so if this post seems off, or doesn’t make sense somewhere just let it slide. I will come and edit it when my head is better. M’kay!