Friday, 8 February 2013

Don't Take Life for Granted

It's the little things that make so much difference with autistic children. Turn away if you like because I'm more than aware that the little things mean nothing to most, yet they mean the world to a special needs parent. I've noticed recently that Amy seems to be doing more for herself. She's 13 now, so I suppose it's expected. But there are significant limits on the independence we can bestow on our children, and even at 13, there are many things I wouldn't let Amy do that the average neuro-typical child will just do without thinking. She's starting to think about things more, consider what's ahead and plans she may need to make. She's flourished at school and staff only have good things to say about her, but at home it's always been somewhat different. She doesn't have the structure that she has in the classroom. Here, she's free to do her own thing and entertain herself, within reason of course. There are many things I wouldn't trust her to do like stir food in a pan on a hot stove; Amy gets fixated on things you and I would take for granted. She will stand at the sink and watch the water run from the taps until it overflows onto the floor; she will unravel the toilet roll until there's nothing left but a cardboard tube, then she'll block the toilet with it. She'll draw on a wall if she has something she needs to write down urgently. She knows how to cross the road yet after she's recited the mantra of 'look both ways', she'll forget what she's doing then walk into the road anyway, despite the fact a double decker bus might be heading towards us. The last time I asked her to stir beans in a pan, she watched as they bubbled and bubbled, until they burnt the bottom of the pan, something she thought was fascinating. Hence the reason I don't allow her to stir anything in a pan anymore. I will, of course I will. One day.

The little thing that made me proud recently, apart from hearing nothing but praise from school, happened this morning; Friday. We're spending a short weekend at my mum's and I was packing her things in a bag before she went to school. I pointed out she may need to open a new tube of toothpaste when she went to clean her teeth. I never thought she actually would. Yet when I went to clean my teeth this morning I noticed her toothbrush was missing from the glass. I didn't put two and two together. My mistake. For when I packed my toothbrush away, putting a new tube of toothpaste in the bag also, what did I see but Amy's blue toothbrush and a new tube of toothpaste that she'd used earlier. She'd put her toothbrush in the toothpaste box with the tube of paste, just like I always do. She'd also put her hairbrush in the bag, something she panics about if she can't find it. They may be little things to you, but to me, this is yet another rung on Amy's ladder to living an independent life. Something many autistic children and adults will never achieve.

29 comments:

  1. Oh I love this. I love how you celebrate the small things that most parents do indeed take for granted. Beautiful post
    xxx

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  2. I think celebrating the small things are very important! Love this post! x

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  3. I love noticing the little things too and often forget to write about them so you've prompted me to memorise them on my blog too.
    I must admit I laughed at the burnt baked beans though :)

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  4. What a beautiful post. I totally appreciate the small things; Sausage may not have Autism, but she's had her difficulties and watching her achieve things that other kids do without thinking makes me proud to bursting point.

    I must say, Amy sounds like a wonderful girl and I think I would find her fascinations with things fascinating in turn. In a way, her watching a sink overflow or beans boil dry is another form of not taking things for granted. You and I would see something like that happen and turn off the tap or the hob to stop the messy consequences, but hearing how Amy analyses the minutiae of these things is wonderful to me.

    Maybe we'd ALL look at things differently if we weren't so preoccupied with consequences. The world would probably be a terrifyingly disordered place, I'd imagine, but it's an interesting thought nonetheless!

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  5. smiles...it is cool to see those steps that she is making...esp toward independence...that is awesome...

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  6. I think we should all celebrate the little things. That's what life is made up from isn't it?

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  7. nice one Amy, another milestone ticked off.

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  8. That's wonderful. You do have to celebrate those little things, we should do in every life.

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  9. Lovely blog, I know I need to appreciate the small things more. This morning, on the school run, the sun on the trees over the fields was amazing, but I struggle with things like watching the pan boil dry, but, like Jayne says, I guess that's another, little one's way of not taking the small things for granted. Magic moments, and so quickly gone.

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  10. Great post - I can 'feel' your pride. Well done for noticing and celebrating.

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  11. Children always catch us off guard when we are not looking. They are always learning and achieving and it's always the small things that show us that. I agree never take anything for granted. Glad things are positive for Amy x

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  12. The little things ARE important, it's just that most people fail to notice and appreciate them. Well done Amy :)

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  13. Well done Amy. The little things always count for so much and they are sometimes a sign of huge progress. What a lovely post, I can feel your pride xx

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  14. Rungs on ladders - that's exactly what it's about. A little step at a time, with encouragement from you, The Farmer and school :-) Jo

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  15. Great!
    Congrats to Amy, and to you.
    Little by little, CJ, you will get there. I'm so glad the school has only good things to say about Amy; that's how I think it should be. Hope you had a good weekend.

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  16. Congratulations to Amy. One more short step.

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  17. Amy is doing so well in every thing.I'm sure you had a big part to play with the way she has turned out.
    I wonder if it is easier for autistically inclined girls than boys?
    My 16 yr old grandson is not doing so well and college is always complaining. They did assure my daughter they could cope with him but now it seems that they are obviously comparing him with *normal* students all the time and its not doing his self esteem any good at all.
    If I had to pick one little achievement he's made ...... then I would say that he can now go into the canteen and buy food and eat it there. That is a hurdle for him.

    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  18. Congratulations on another step towards independence. I so appreciate what happened here and why it is so wonderful even though I have no first hand experience with autism.

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  19. Crossing the road safely and cooking are things I take for granted with my children.When my oldest went away with the school last Autumn he never had a clue about packing a suitcase.I had to remind him several times to put in his comb and toothbrush.I hope you all had a good weekend away.

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  20. Bless her. You must have been so pleased. As she gets older, step by step, these things will mount up. You must need eyes in the back of your head sometimes though! I had not appreciated fully what autism entails, which is why it is so good to read your blog and become more aware.

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  21. Tall oaks and acorns and stuff eh? Great stuff xxx

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  22. Well done Amy, so lovely to hear.

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  23. Those little things are the best thing we can be proud off. Congratulations to Amy!

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  24. Little things mean Everything...I know you're proud of her!
    hughugs

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  25. CJ, you have lightened my day. I am really thrilled to read about Amy and what she is up to. I get those small steps 100%. Lovely post.

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  26. That is rather amazing! It is so lovely to read. Hubby works with Autistic young adults, it does upset him sometimes that there parents never seem to encourage them to want that independent life. Although I understand the protectiveness, they should be given the chance to be all they can be, even if you do it without meaning too! I hope that makes sense! Great post! x

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  27. What a truly lovely post, it's so great to be able to record these precious milestones on the blog isn't it? I can only imagine how wonderful it was for you to see Amy doing this, of her own accord :)

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