I collected my niece from school yesterday. Prior to leaving the area for London I had to run around the shops. Faced with an unfamiliar layout I asked for help to find the items I needed. Alongside me just behind my ear was this noise, . ‘You said we were only getting one thing!……..’Why are you asking for pistachios, you said you only wanted a cucumber?’ and so on. The shop assistant who was trying to assist me gave me a sympathetic look. I understand that the poor child wanted to get home, however as I informed her, I had to get things for other members of the family. Life was not just about her. It took us 3 hours to get home, as it was a bank holiday weekend and everyone was going somewhere.
I am an impatient driver and cannot stand traffic jams. So after driving at a snails pace for the longest while and seeing an equally long queue ahead, I came off the motorway at the next slip road stopping at a petrol station to ask for directions. It had been hot for the first time in a long time. In fact the whole weekend was forecast to be hot, so I bought a drink for my niece and what I thought was an ice lolly for myself. However, it turned out to be ice cream. As I am trying to avoid dairy I expressed my desire to change it. My intention was thrown off course by my niece’s nagging and being 1 hour behind the destined time of arrival, I consumed the ice cream. Amazingly our journey on the alternative route home was traffic free. When we finally arrived home I had my niece try on a pair of light-weight shoes for school. I find the hardest thing about my niece is her immediate rejection of anything that has either been bought for her or suggested. From my perspective one of the difficulties in dealing with someone with high functioning autism is they are adamant they are right. That can be quite draining as there is little room for discussion of opinions. She rejected the shoes, she rejected some beautiful slippers her mother bought for her, etc. I managed to bite my tongue throughout this 3 hour ordeal, sorry journey, knowing that if I lost it the poor child would be very hurt and confused, having not foreseen the likely impact of her behaviour.
When she was three and undiagnosed, she was adamant that she would not do ballet classes. The reason I tried but failed to encourage her to take up ballet, was because it is great for setting a child’s posture. At six she was adamant that she did not want to go to drama classes. When I could not locate the drama school, she was elated that I was lost! A hint at her condition was when she finished her first drama class, she asked if she could attend the next one? I was confused by the change of mind but thought this was just a difficult child with a strong will. However, unbeknown to us autism was showing itself in the form of anxiety.