I need to do this today. Let me explain, this week I have visited a special school for autistic children as part of my due diligence in shortlisting suitable schools. I have also had our first meeting with The Monster’s Educational Psychologist today. Such events are emotionally draining since there is a constant reminder that your child is different and the nature of said events tends to focus on all the negative aspects of your child. This mornings meeting alone was 2 hours of discussing what I find challenging, what my concerns are and a whole host of systems and processes that both I and the nursery need to work on to improve The Monsters communication skills amongst other things. It’s hardly surprising I left the meeting with a headache and as usual after these kind of interventions feeling a bit sad. He really is different to a neurotypical child, something I forget for the most part as I tend normalise Everything as I know no different.
So, right now I need to shout from the rooftops some positive things about The Monster. There are obvs, a whole host of things I could choose but I’m going to try and whittle it down to five. After all nobody likes a bragging parent!
1). Laughing! He has a number of different laughs that brighten up the most rubbish day. There’s the uncontrollable laugh, this one is my fave and the most spontaneous, it’s normally when he is being tickled, or when he is making you laugh. Then there’s the mischievous laugh, this is probably the most staged laugh you have ever heard. It is loud and in short bursts, often done when slamming a door in your face…because that’s hillaire! There’s the delighted squeel, where he, as it says on the tin, squeels! The sound of The Monster laughing is my most favourite sound in the entire world.
2). Water! He is ace at swimming. He started swimming lessons at 10 weeks old and has gone weekly ever since. Actually it was at one of his first swimming lessons that I had my first ever “proud mum” moment. He loves nothing more than putting his head under water, so he’s pretty amazing at diving in, swimming under water, collecting diving rings etc. It’s not just swimming he loves, it’s water in any shape or form. Washing up, having a shower, water play, drinking water, puddles. If there is an opportunity to get wet, he’s there with bells on.
3). Good manners! He’s super polite. For someone who is non-verbal he is pretty darn good with his P’s and Q’s. He signs “Please” and “Thank you” in context. As an example, he likes to watch YouTube videos on my phone in our bed when he gets up. I will often wake up to a phone being held on front of my face and him dramatically signing please and thank you. This probably sounds minor to a parent of a neurotypical child but this is fab communication for him. He says sorry (well he gives a big cuddle) when he has done wrong. He blows kisses and he never fails to make us smile on a daily basis with the way he communicates to us.
4). Entertaining! He provides hours of entertainment. What I would give to spend a day in the life of The Monsters head. I could watch him for hours. The concentration on his face when he is lining his cars up and pushing them around the room systematically. The way he is intrigued by how everything works and when things don’t work he wants to fix it (he thinks you fix everything with a screwdriver), his fascination with technology / buttons / cause and effect. His quirky routines and ways of doing things. He’s a fascinating little boy and life is anything but dull when he’s around.
5). Happy! Everybody loves him. It’s clear to me that he is well liked by his peers, despite his differences. I love watching him in stealth mode when I pick him up from nursery, one of his little pals adores him and gives him oodles of cuddles and really looks out for him. I’ve never felt that he has been excluded and I believe this is testament to his jolly personality. I am super aware that this may not always be the case and I dread the day, if it ever arises that he doesn’t get invited to parties etc. Not that it would phase him in the slightest, he is genuinely one of the happiest children I have ever seen.
So there you go, there’s five positive things about my beautiful boy. Wouldn’t it be lovely to sit in a room with people and talk about all the things he is good at doing and all the nice things about him, the truth is though we would need a lot more than a two hour meeting for that ❤.