One of the hardest things about being a parent of an ASD child is that they are so isolated. With an a-typical child, you normally get invites to birthday parties, play dates, invitations to tea, you know the sort of thing. With an ASD child what you get is nothing. A few years ago, at a meeting for parents with a disabled child, I turned up and was the only parent to 4 professionals all there to help and inform. At this particular meeting, one of the ladies there was from the council, and the point I made above is the one I made to her. Eds whole world was school and home, nothing else, except the odd visit to family. From that, I was put in touch with an after school play scheme, that the lady from the council had just commissioned, that included children with special needs, (thats where he is at the moment). I also shook the tree and Action for children fell out, so Ed has a group he goes to every other Saturday morning, and a one to one respite carer comes every other Sunday to take him out for four hours. So I have done my best to try and broaden his social horizons. But I still wanted more for him.
Just before they broke up for the easter holidays, in his book bag I got this note. It says:
This is an invitation for our son Harrisons 8th birthday party. This year we decided to invite his classmates and friends from school to our house to enjoy party games, dancing, something to eat and hopefully if nice weather to play in the garden.
Due to his ASD he doesn't get to enjoy many play dates with school friends and the fact that the school generally has the children dropped off its difficult to know them and you the parent of his friends. As such your are invited to stay on the day to facilitate a fun time and to ensure your child is comfortable in their surroundings.
We hope you can join us."
You know sometimes you just get wrapped up in yourself and your immediate surroundings, and it kind of made me shed a wee tear that here was another woman going through exactly what I am, and to see it outside of yourself it really brings home how sad ASD can be. Of course I immediately called her, and on the day, we are both going to sit down with our diaries and bash out some play dates together (fingers crossed they get on) so that is a nice little social gathering on the horizon, and it made me really happy.
And then the other Sunday, something else happened that REALLY, REALLY made me happy and cry at the same time. Lauren who takes out Ed on a Sunday had just come back with him from Odds farm. Its a play-farm that I bought two annual tickets for. Apparently he had be playing in the sandpit with out his shoes and socks, and just got up and ran off. Lauren quickly got his shoes and socks and as she turned to run after him, found him hugging a mans legs. The man asked Lauren nicely if Ed had any issues, and she said he was ASD. By this time the mans son had come up to see what weirdo was hanging on his Dad. The man told his son that Ed was like xxx's son. "Oh," says the boy, holding out his hand, "Come on Edward" and they both ran off and played hand in hand. The family must have been meeting friends because more children came on the scene, Lauren heard the boy say "He's like xxx's boy.'' "Oh,'' Say the other children, and just like that they all understood and adapted for my wee weird boy. Both Lauren and I stood crying in my kitchen for the big step that Ed had taken and for the kindness of strangers.
Buoyed by this leap forward, I took him to the park during a play session the local church was running. Edward helped lots of children down the slide and then followed up by two knees in the kidneys as he came down while the other children were still on the slide, and them got stuck up a play-frame that I had to fireman lift him off. I came home feeling like 100!
But at least there are big steps forward happening, and if it happens once it can happen again. At the moment he is a lot more calm, and the ladies from the play scheme have all commented on how much better he has been emotionally and socially.
I had thought that I had cut back on his intervention treatments, but actually I have him on quite a bit. He gets about 5 grammes of benzonite edible clay which has settled his tummy, He has a B12 + 10 other B vitamins patch, he has 2 grammes of VitaminC, a multi-mineral, iodine, Kefir Water, magnesium oil rub and coconut oil rub after school, we are still doing our NAET, and last but not least we have a session of reflexology every other sunday, which he absolutely loves.
Will let you know how the party goes. XXX