Sunday, June 6, 2010
First I have to thank you all for your comments. Your words have meant so much to me.
Last night I was up a lot checking on my son. This morning he was back to his seemingly happy self, but I knew better. He'd said too much, he'd cried out too loudly, it couldn't be ignored.
Today I called all of the kids in. We sat in a circle. Joshua was by the window sitting on the floor. The sunshine was streaming in on him making him somehow look much younger than the young man that he's become. Or maybe it allowed me to see into his broken heart, the heart of a confused child.
All of the kids know that when these meetings are called that they are serious, thought out and they need to listen and participate. I began with questions.
- Who in this room loves Joshua? Every hand quickly went up.
- Who in this room would like Joshua to leave the family? No one moved.
- Who in this room dislikes the things that Joshua can do? Every hand went up.
- Who in this room would protect Joshua should he find himself in trouble? Again every hand went up.
Next I went around the room and had each child share their fears, their concerns, their insecurities. Joshua listened, he cried. His heart was open and with an open heart he was able to open his eyes. He was able to see that they, too, have pain. They have problems, they have doubts.
The other kids realized the depth of Joshua's pain. Yes, he's a pest, yes he's annoying, but he is hurting. He knows that he is different. He knows that people see him as different. He can't fit in, no matter how much he tries he ends up alienating people.
I wanted him to understand that we are taking his feelings seriously, that we love him, that he is a valuable member of this family, but that he needs to help us. He needs to take responsibility for his actions.
It's a hard line to walk trying to get a child, an autistic child, to realize that sometimes they are doing the same thing to others that they hate others doing to them. He needs to know he's loved, he needs to know he's part of the family, not the center of the family.
Everyone agreed to be more tolerant of Joshua. Joshua agreed to take his medication and to try to allow others to be themselves. So many times with autism there are no blurred lines, it's black or white, right or wrong. Everything is taken as a personal attack if it doesn't line up with their notion of what should be.
I hope that we made some progress today. Tomorrow I'll make calls to his doctors and his case manager. Tomorrow we'll come up with a plan. Tomorrow will be a new day.
But tonight I hang my head in shame. I have a confession to make to Allyson. It's been a stressful day and tonight I'm typing this while sitting in bed eating a Butterfinger.
In my defense, the only reason that I'm having a Butterfinger is that Dairy Queen was closed and I couldn't get a blizzard.