When you enter an autism home you may see and hear many different things. Depending on how many hours of sleep the family had the night before, or how the school day went, or if there was a change in the daily schedule. You could hear peace and quiet or see all hell breaking loose. Every child with autism is different. You may be able to relate to some of the these behaviors and some may even come as a shock to you. As an autism parent, it takes a lot to shock me.
- The living room/family room might be a sensory room. You might see a rocking chair, swing, hammock, weighted blankets, calming bottles, stress balls, bubbles, and play-doh. All of these items can provide the child with sensory calming sensations. The stress balls work great for parents too.
- You might notice that clothes are optional. Sydney has gotten a lot better at this. Due to the tags, textures of clothes and sensory needs, she would run around the house not wearing much. It always seemed to happen whenever the doorbell rang.
- Every TV in the house is probably on Disney or the child’s favorite station. Sydney senses are amazing. If you change the tv or turn it off she comes running to check it out. Five years ago that would have caused a meltdown, now she is better at handling it.
- If Sydney is watching Inside Out on the tv, she must also have it playing on the iPad. And then she goes on to color or read but she still wants the movies playing.
- When watching a movie for family night, Harrison and I are prepared that we might not see the end of the movie. Syd has to pause her favorite scene and act it out. Sometimes she will just push play and continue the movie. But there is a 50/50 chance that she will restart the entire movie from the beginning.
- Sydney has always been a great eater. I have learned to have her staples on hand. Ribeye steak, Jimmy Dean sausage, egg whites, spinach and mushrooms. Oh, I can’t forget Pop Tarts. Don’t try to give her the store brand. Not happening.
- You may see her toys lined up on the floor. She will give you the look if you move one by accident. She likes to line up her movies and books. It is hard to identify the pattern only she knows why they have to be lined up a certain way. She has a certain way of preparing her blankets and lamby before she goes to sleep.
- You may hear screams of terror. Which sometimes are squeals of happiness. So I am always running around to see what is really happening at that moment. Makes me wonder why I am not 20 pounds lighter?
- You will see sleep deprived parents and kids with fake smiles on their faces. Trying to plan a day of activities that will hopefully tire out their child. And constantly watching the clock for nighttime to come.
- As you look around our house. You might see picture charts, emotion charts and schedules in each room. This is for all of our sanity. Just don’t change the schedule without notice or we go back to number 8.
I could continue to add to the list piles of laundry but I think we might all have that in our house on a random day. When children with autism visit your home. They may want to explore. In Sydney’s case she may be searching for Australia in case it is too noisy. If you don’t mind sharing your wi-fi password that would be greatly appreciated.
Autism keeps you laughing, crying, and on guard. Each day I find out a little more about Sydney. Even on our toughest days, I can always find a positive moment or celebrate something new that she learned. Our greatest joy comes from her increased communication.
Embrace Autism: If you still want to know more about a child with autism and how to interact with them, just watch their sibling and follow their lead.