Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Side of Autism: New friends!

I had no idea how relieving it was to make a friend.
Of course I'm happy to say I know several people that I consider friends - both near and (very) far!

But I'm also happy to announce that we finally have a friend that is also in a similar situation as us.
I reached out in a Facebook group of mothers in my area asking if anyone knew someone with an autistic child because I could really use the peer support.

Not that SH isn't a great listener but I'm sure he's busy thinking of a hundred other things than to be bothered listening to me nag, complain and worry about everything regularly!  So in the end I just feel as if I'm nagging his ear off.
And who wants that?!

I have inquired about peer support from our social worker and we had been invited to events where it's for the whole family to join but because it's strictly in Finnish and my Finnish is so not ready for intensive discussion about jumping, teeth grinding and climbing and food snatching from strangers - that we haven't gone.  That or something else has come up.
I also find it a bit intimidating (yet exciting a bit!) to go to these group events, especially with a potential language barrier and not knowing a single person there.  But that's just me.

Right, so I reached out to a local foreign mothers only group and right away got a message from someone saying they knew someone who could probably use a friend like me too.

I got in touch with this lady, KC and turns out that her boy "Tops" as she calls him in her blog also has autism - diagnosed about a year ago.
Turns out we have a mutual friend through the university - so that's nice too and it also shows how tiny Jyväskylä can be! :)
We quickly got chatting on Facebook and it was just a huge relief to know someone and getting to know someone personally (as opposed to just reading complete strangers' you might be doing by reading mine... :) ) and we seemed to hit it off right away.

Well, last weekend we decided on a play date - or as much play as the kids wanted with each other and met at a local fenced-in playground.
Tops and A-Man deciding which is the most dangerous route to take!
It was great to chit chat with another parent in a similar situation and I think for me it was very therapeutic!
The first thing I noticed about Tops - who like many autistic children come off as quite neuro-typical for the first five minutes (at least to me) -  is that he has the most happiest personality!
He was super happy, very kind and extremely clever with climbing and balancing!  I think so much that A-Man tried to follow him!
Also the first thing I heard was the grinding of teeth.  And for that moment - it wasn't MY V-Man!
Of course V-Man did some teeth grinding, along with munching on an apple - but it was nice to meet another parent who has to hear it too! :)
For me it's the equivalent of nails on a chalk board - I can't stand either one and having it come from my kids' mouths but ah well.

We were able to discuss when our children were diagnosed, how did we know (or not), how we felt about autism and the diagnosis by doctors of "mental retardation", whether or not autistic children could truly benefit from having siblings, and so on.

So if you're able to find another parent with a similar condition as your own child - I truly recommend it!
It's a great way to vent, learn and exchange ideas and in general I think it's better for one's sanity - just knowing there's someone else who's going through a difficult patch that you can talk to - makes the world of a difference than being alone and bottling it up.
And it's so nice because they understand and they're not judging your child for playing with odd objects, screaming or walking on their toes or flapping their hands or being obsessed about particular things!


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