Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and their unique ways of looking at the world, their excitement about their passions and their joy in the smallest of details. This is one of the good things about being an ASD family.
However, when you are ASD yourself, you often find that those things irritate you as much as you love them.
My family is self centred, we’re more like a group of people sharing a house than a family bound together by love and shared blood. This means that we have to work really hard to get along with each other.
For example, TOH and I have developed a friendly banter over the years and NOS and PT try to do the same thing. But to TOH’s ears it’s not banter, it’s sniping and nasty. Mostly because he can’t seem to hear the friendliness in their tone. I’m sure that to anyone from outside our immediate family, TOH and I’s banter sounds sniping and nasty too…
Anyway, back to the rant…
For the past 6 weeks, the kids have been off school for the holidays. It’s a stressful time for any parent, but for us it’s twice as bad as normal because we can’t escape each other, except by confining ourselves to separate rooms. So NOS and PT have been in their rooms a lot… however, NOS has his own room, whereas PT has to share with PW.
The noise coming from the girl’s bedroom has been phenomenal over the holidays. Everything multiplies by two and gets louder and louder as they compete with each other. It’s driven me and TOH crazy – we like our peace and quiet and both PT & PW are the opposite to us.
So the end of the holidays is bliss…
The other thing about being an ASD family is that unless they are directly asked to do something, they will always do their own thing over the top of whatever needs to be done. So PT doesn’t see the mess in her bedroom unless it annoys her in some way. The mess really bothers her father and he is always asking her to get it tidied up. But she won’t do it unless TOH or I nag / order her to do it.
This causes stress and unhappiness for everyone.
Now, most NT people will say “But all kids are like that…” and they’re right, they are, but most kids won’t get so stressed by the nagging that they break things or hit out.
NOS had a summer drawing project for his college course to do over the summer. He was anxious about it and every time he picked up a pencil, he panicked and nothing came out right (fairly normal occurance) so he started avoiding doing it, mostly by playing his games, but sometimes by doing jobs around the house.
Every time we reminded him about the project, he’d slap his head or punch his thigh because he was frustrated with himself; he got so bruised that he started limping at one point . Three days before the end of the holiday, he’d managed to get two and a half pieces done and he needed at least ten. Procrastination is one of his negative traits and it almost meant that he couldn’t do what he wanted to do and go to college!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that things that NT people do are the same as those that Autistic People do, but Autistic people take them to extremes and get so stressed and anxious by them that they would rather hurt themselves than just get on and do whatever it is.
For me, it’s been six weeks of sensory ups and downs. Too much noise, too many smells, too much TV, too many movements around me and added to the pain from my Gallbladder Disease and various headaches have made me, quite possibly, the worst mother in the world. I’ve spent so much time shouting and ranting about things they haven’t done, that I got a sore throat.
Next week, PT goes to school full time – I’ll have a whole day of just me, TOH and SB… I’m not sure that I’ll be able to handle that much quiet!