Autism flows like the ocean, at moments it can be so calm and peaceful. The sun setting perfectly over silent waves, filling us with tranquility and hope. Sometimes it will come crashing our world down all around us, hard crashing waves that seem relentless. And sometimes it’s a rouge wave, we never see coming that knocks us down and tries to pull us out to sea.
The waves of progress cause us to rejoice in hopeful smiles as the under tows of setbacks bring us to tears. As Autism parents we begin to just expect the unexpected. We seem to know that when things are going well there is often a storm brewing off shore, one that we cannot yet see that will bring the waves crashing down on us once again.
Things have been a little tough lately for Mateo. As he ages, I can see every day things affecting him more. Once my easy going joyful child, is now often obsessed with games on my phone, he is often breaking down when told no, and frustration building inside of him as he turns more and more inward. As he gets older I can see how his sensory processing disorder is affecting him. I see how excess noise, groups and chaos pushes him far beyond his comfort zone.
Halloween has always been one of his favorites. Every year he would stay out for a couple of hours trying to get as much candy as he could. This year, he had a short time frame before he was done, asking to be back in the comfort of his home. And I wonder, is this the start of things to come?
I see storms brewing inside of him more often and I see him trying so hard to cope. He had a bathroom accident at the gym daycare last night. Things like this paralyze him. He refuses to leave the bathroom. He refuses to stay in wet clothes and is horrified to be draped in a towel. We talk the understanding gym staff into letting us leave out the locked back door to avoid further embarrassment for him. My husband struggled to get him in the car, he was worried he didn’t have everything, that he left something behind. I can’t imagine the feeling inside of him, but the panic and fear on his face crushed me.
So as parents we sit and wait, and wade through the storms. We find a work around to help things be just a little easier for our children. Let the waves not break them, but come down and wash over them. Help them to move on from the difficult day, and hope tomorrow brings calm seas.