Living with a child with ASD
Did you know Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 1 in 68 children? And boys are 5 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed.
When I was at school there were quite a few kids that would have defiantly been classed as being on the spectrum, 1 in particular a boy called Gareth. When we were in Science one day he stood on the work bench swinging a bike chain around causing absolute chaos whilst the whole class was banging on the tables shouting Jerry as the teacher was trying to negotiate with him and talk him down.
My son George is on the Spectrum he’s 8 years old and was statemented at the age of 5.
I always knew he was different, I know you shouldn’t compare your children but apart from sleeping which he’s always been amazing at he was difficult. I took him on holiday at 2 years old and after 2 weeks all-inclusive I came back and had lost 4lbs from running after George the whole time keeping him off the stage, stopping him from running off and from diving head first into the pool. Thankfully for kid’s club and my amazing mum I did get some times to just chill a little. But other holiday guests made comments about how he was behaving and how tired I must be from running after him and they made me feel like such a bad parent out like I had no control.
On the way home was the worst our 2-hour coach transfer George slept which was fab, but then I had to wake him up to get him into the airport and all hell broke loose and he screamed, tantrum for about 40 minutes whilst everyone just sat there staring at me.
George was at speech and language for 1 year through the nhs and I was paying privately. But he had no attention span, you would get 5 minutes work in a 30-minute session. He was clever and would understand when you told him to do something but he missed the first of last letter off a word so cake would be ake.
When he started school he struggled with playtime, his school have 90 kids mixing between 3 class rooms at play time so George would sit and do extra writing drawing or colouring. At home we had tantrums all the time not getting his own way, frustration from not being able to do something just anything that was abit out of the ordinary.
School is really good for George its really structured so he copes with that he still struggles with playtime especially things like hide and seek if people don’t keep to the rules, whereas at home we don’t have a set routine and we spend a lot of time with George crying.
Everything is a struggle getting George to do homework Is a 20 minute build up for him to sit their crying and making up stories over what his teacher has said.
We have made an incentive in the house for everyday George doesn’t cry he gets £1 I think he makes about £2/3 a week. He will cry over the cereal not being the right one, not being able to open the can of beans, having to do the dishwasher, having to put his washing away and bed time is the worst. Because his brother goes to bed an hour later George will cry the whole time until he knows his brother is up there even though he knows that as a rule that is what happens every day.
Wednesday’s George does cross country at 5am, 530, 6, 630, 7 he is in my room reminding me we have to leave the house at 10 to 8 because he starts at 8.
There isn’t loads of support out there when it comes to these behaviour issues and considering school get more money for him being statemented he doesn’t receive any help at school because he’s clever and we do not receive any support at home because it’s out of school’s hand and I don’t think there’s enough training for teachers about it. George’s needs are getting more intense and a a single mum of 3 it’s so hard to give everyone the same attention when he takes up all your time and it’s hard for the others as he can be very shouty and I find it hard dealing with the crying let alone kids that don’t understand what he’s going through.
There are the good parts of ASD with how black and white life is which is worrying for when their older. He is very loving and caring and just wants to be liked but struggles in friendships. He asks or says things that are really random and sometimes really inappropriate to where you are for example being in Tesco and a very large size man is on a mobility scooter and George asked him “are you on that because your too fat to walk?” I mean a black hole wouldn’t have been big enough to hide me from how I was dying inside.
Another was doing someone’s hair at my home salon my ex had picked the kids up from work George walked in and said “what’s that disgusting smell, it smells like dog poo and sweat.” I was mortified as my client didn’t smell great, he then went on to get the air freshener out and overall sprayed it saying “this isn’t helping at all”
We were in London once (we go all the time) and the tube pulled up which was jammed packed so we decided not to get on…. But George did I was trying to open the doors and get him out and some very nice lady was waving at me saying “Next stop” my ex wanted to find staff but I just wanted to get to the next stop them 3 minutes were the longest in my life, when I got to the next stop the women was standing there with him a quick thank you to her (a hero in my eyes) and a massive hug with George who wasn’t even really fazed as he said “ you told us we have to get on tubes quick” which is what I always said to them so they didn’t mess around.
It is hard for a partner to take on especially if they aren’t the parent. It’s intense a lot of the time and explaining new situations and how George won’t look you in the eye when you talk to him, He cries a lot and he’ll probably come out with something compleltey random and maybe slightly offensive.
I would love to live his life for a day to see how it is for him, I just hope that as he gets older it doesn’t affect his life and stop him doing things and that he’s still not living at home and crying at the age of 40.
So please if you see someone stuggling in supermarket , on a plane or on holiday don’t stand there and judge them for being a bad parent because you do not know what is happening In their life or how that child is struggling.