Today I am grateful the time I spent with other parents who have children who are 12 to 15 who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. While our kids were in a skills and social group sessions, under the care of professionals, rather then sit for 90 mins in the reception area, we managed to get away for a coffee and a chat.
All of us, kept our phones out of our bags and on the table, just encase the clinic needed to contact us, or in case our other kids needed us. We shared survival tips, stories of heart ache, frustration, small victories, what we have dealt with. Things which we have had to endure which usually we can’t talk to other parents about as it’s upsetting for them but is just part of our narratives.
It was also reassuring to share the things our kids do and did have in fact in common, things which usually separate them from other kids. “Oh, yours does that, yes mine did that to, or still does it, ” cue story about that issue and how we try not to laugh or roll our eyes, or get angry when we have to deal with it. It really normalises our experience as parents, which is so needed. We are not alone in struggling to manage our teens and trying to teach them to self manage.
One thing which came up, again and again was that, our lives would be easier and that of our children would be less miserable if ‘normal’ kids were not as cruel. We have enough to be dealing with, with out the damage to our children’s self confidence, self esteem and self worth, which comes from their peers. Esp in school environments, which we have to send them to, which they can come to view as not safe places to be in.