At Frances’s birthday party a few weeks ago, one of the well-meaning coordinators remarked that she couldn’t tell that Frances has ASD.
Well, being very high functioning does help her in public, but here’s one of the (many) things that people can’t see…
Frances won’t go into a room, or stay in one, by herself, and it has been this way for several years at home and at school.
She developed differently in that respect. As a toddler, she didn’t respond if I left a room, and she didn’t mind being in a room alone.
As she aged, this changed dramatically, and it affects her life profoundly. Now, at the age of nine, she follows me from room to room (even waits outside the washroom), and refuses to play if someone isn’t in the room with her. We’ve tried a number of ways to help her overcome her fears, but nothing so far has worked.
High-pitched screams, nonstop crying, repetitive complaining and panic, prevent discussion in the moment; discussion outside the moment has not been remotely successful.
This week, we moved her dollhouse to the upstairs hallway so that she could play outside the rooms and not feel alone (and Pink Cup Sister, Pink Cup Dad, or I could still do our own things). It’s not ideal as someone always has to be upstairs, but it’s a minor improvement.
Because she won’t enter or remain alone in rooms, and she won’t sleep alone, she is my very cute, very constant companion.
She now has a behavioural therapist (who specializes in ASD) who comes to our home weekly, and we think that this could be a very positive thing. She has only had two sessions to this point, so it is too early to expect any changes.
Still, I’m hopeful because some change, no matter how small, always helps in some way.