Changes

I think people probably hear about children with autism being resistant to change, and, in our case, it’s true.

One morning this week, in order to get as much done at once before the children left for school, I decided to try to brush Frances’s hair while she ate breakfast.

She had an immediate meltdown: crying, screaming, and complaining to Pink Cup Dad that I’d interrupted her breakfast.

That was completely my fault: I hadn’t thought about the fact that brushing her hair during breakfast was something we’d never done before. 

She notices even the tiniest changes in an environment — whether it be her piano teacher’s studio, her school classroom, or home — and her reaction ranges from complete distraction to meltdown.

With Christmas approaching, I will have to put up decorations slowly, and there is a meltdown every year when I have to take them down.

When the presents are under the tree, it is just too stressful for her for there to be “objects everywhere”. 

On Christmas morning, we stagger gift opening, and we try to clean as we go along to minimize the visual stress for her. We do our best not to have guests on that day.

I think that Christmas brings just so much change for Frances — including the stress of anticipation — that, if I could, for her sake I would avoid it altogether.

She may enjoy Christmas without stress one day, but, at eight years old, Christmas (and the change that it entails) is difficult.

Advertisements

Lessons

 
Last Saturday, we drove to Frances’s ballet lesson, but we also tried to have a bit of a leisurely drive as well.

I’ve written about it before in a lighthearted manner, but I don’t mean to trivialize the fact that it is very difficult to drive with Frances. 

It is hard to admit that the constant chatter is, well, constant: the questions come at us so fast and furiously that I will not drive with her if I’m not also a passenger.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t endearing moments — such as the funny questions that I frequently record — but I would be lying if I said that I always feel patient.

I don’t know why it took me 1.5 hours to think of giving her my telephone. It helped to quieten her for that final half-hour.

At any rate, it was something of a relief as we pulled up to the grand, ancient building in which her lesson is held.

We waited together, Pink Cup Dad, Pink Cup Sister, and I, without talking in the tacit anticipation of one hour of absolute silence.