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.