It was brought to my attention recently that I’m always saying sorry for things that my son does. At first I denied this but the more I thought about it these friends were right. And I asked myself WHY am I apologizing for everything that he does?! I don’t know. I guess I feel bad, guilty, even embarrassed at times for his behaviors. But you know what? I shouldn’t. Because this is who Sam is. So I’m not apologizing anymore! These are the things that make him unique. All kids are unique in their own way. Mine just shows his uniqueness more often than other kids do! When you have autism you will say things without thinking first that it may hurt someone’s feelings. Your actions and words may be upsetting to a friend or even an adult. You may not grasp this or you can’t explain yourself as another 9 year old would. When you go places you will make noises, you won’t keep still, you may stand too close to someone, you may hug them or even kiss them. You may grab someone’s arms or even worse do something more inappropriate. You will touch things they might not want you to touch, at their home, at a restaurant, at school, wherever. You just can’t help yourself. You may catch yourself and try really hard to control your actions, especially at school. But once you’re somewhere that you feel more comfortable you’re going to do as you damn well please. You may break things but not on purpose. You may put soap on a mirror and open the medicine cabinet doors so you can’t see yourself. You may stick your hands in a bowl of tortellini because it just takes too long to use the spoon to scoop them out. You will close the internet and laptop on your parent in the 1 second they walk away even though they were in the middle of working on something. No matter how many times your parents or therapists tell you not to do something, redirect you and teach you more appropriate behaviors and ways to interact with people, you may still struggle. This is just how your brain works. Even with a medicine to try and rewire it.
As a parent to a boy with autism this is my life every damn day. These are the things that my kid does every day. We constantly teach our son what is right from wrong and recently he just doesn’t seem to care. Or maybe he does but he just keeps testing us. I’m not sure. We can rarely have a deep conversation with him and get inside his head. It’s the ongoing puzzle peace to the mystery of autism. Lately the behaviors have been over the top. TMI but I feel the need to share…for instance he now has an obsession with itching his butt and immediately wiping his hands on me!! This totally grosses me out and if you know me you know that I am a bit germaphobic and want him to immediately wash his hands. But is he doing this for attention because he knows we’re going to say something to him? And he just gets a kick out of it? Again I don’t know but yesterday it was just the 2 of us at Panera. We finished eating and he itched his butt and immediately wiped his hands on me as we were sitting in the booth!! I was fuming! I got right up and told him he was going to wash his hands. He hid under the table!! I had to contain myself from not losing my shit at that moment and again told him he was going to the bathroom with me NOW!! I took him into the women’s room (sorry not sorry- can’t trust him to do it alone) and got him to wash his hands and I washed my arms. As we walked out of the restaurant I told him that he’s never to do that again to me. He got mad and told me not to talk about it. I let it go for that moment.
This is autism. I have many more stories but this is the one for today. Please educate yourselves and teach your kids to be understanding and caring individuals, have patience for others who may have difficulties playing with their peers or socializing in a group setting. They’re not trying to be mean, or do things to you on purpose. They just can’t express themselves like you can. It’s an ongoing teachable moment on both ends. Be kind and don’t judge as you never know what another mom or child is going through.
Signed- one emotionally exhausted mom