I was reminded of a funny memory the other day. It is one that crops up now again especially when there is a time of deciding what is realistically achievable for an autistic person.
Well for me it is learning what is possible and sometimes the only way to learn is to give it a try. A while back when Mr T was still at school he went through a stage of saying ' I can't do that I'm autistic'. I think they may have been having a project about autism at school, I can't quite remember what exactly triggered it off.
Whenever I asked Mr T if he would tidy his bedroom he would say ' I can't do that I'm autistic' or to finish eating his dinner, the same thing ' I can't do that I'm autistic'. I do remember at that time having to have a re chat about his autism with him to try and grab exactly why he thought he couldn't do certain things. I explained to him that yes he may struggle to do some things but not everything and sometimes it is good to try new things.
So he realised he could eat his dinner, except for certain foods and textures he doesn't like but he will try new foods. He will tidy his bedroom now because he realise it's a help to me and it is actually important to be in charge of his own space. He is a teenager and his bedroom reflects that like any other teenager but I haven't heard him ever say that he can't do anything now because he is autistic.
In fact just last week we discussed the possibility of being assessed for travel training. This is a scheme set up to enable people with disabilities travel by public transport. I know, if you're a fellow parent you may be feeling my pain right now because in one way I need to let him go and try and the other part of me is shouting 'OMG there is no way it could be possible'. It is finding a balance of of what is achievable in a real sense and thinking it's a cruel world out there sometimes and Mr T won't be understood.
There are other worries which I'm sure are quite normal such as a bus not turning up on time - would he be able to ask for help? All things that we think about but how do we know unless we try. He would go through an assessment to see if he could go for the training and then if they say yes then he would be taken through the process of travelling over a period of time until he can do it independently. When we asked Mr T whether he thought he could travel on a bus his reply was ' who knows, but sometimes we all have to try'.
So we will see, he wasn't too keen when we first asked him but then I think he mustered up some confidence and wondered what the Fat Controller would say. If you do watch Thomas and Friends you will see that there is some brilliant scenarios which result in a positive empowering message so I can't fault Mr T for watching that at all.
It is difficult to make decisions for any of us and we all question ourselves as to whether we can do something. For our young autistic people we have to be there to give extra support but try and unravel a little of that cotton wool we so want to wrap them up in. It is hard.
If you are in the Derby City Council area and would like further information about Travel Training then you can find it here:
Thank you for reading today, please join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now......
Every Saturday I will be talking about Autism and will review any useful information which may have been highlighted at any support groups in the week.