Exuding Confidence: Create a Calm Environment for Children Living w/ Autism, Even if Your Faking It.

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Well J is back in school, it’s so hard for me to send him to summer program. I feel so bad. Every kid deserves a summer vacation. He does get one but it’s for about ten days at the end of June and almost two weeks in August. I still felt bad putting him on that bus this morning but the social aspect and routine keep him focused and calm. I really enjoyed our time over the past ten days, thus not much blogging from me. I wanted to focus every second I could on him. Of course we had some challenges and behaviors, everyday can’t be perfect or else how could you spot a perfect day right?

However the way J reacted to these challenges was very improved. With kids on the spectrum any little bit of progress is major, so to see my son tolerate small children in the booth adjacent to ours at a restaurant, was a huge accomplishment. The next morning not so great but the challenges were increased and relatively speaking he was amazing. I always get so much anxiety when I am planning a getaway with J. Will the place be too noisy? Will there be too many small children for him to tolerate? Will I be able to catch him if he bolts? Will people be understanding and accommodating? Unfortunately I can’t plan ahead for every moment, but being prepared always helps and believing in myself, that I can get him through this, as well as believing in J is really the best form of preparedness.

My confidence in J and myself are the best tranquilizers to any high intensity situation. I guess that’s why I missed him so much this morning as his bus pulled away. Our adventures brought us even closer and our respect for each other was visible in the smoothness of this morning’s routine. Compared to last year this is major, I had a child who fought like a wild alligator to stay home and my lack of confidence in his prior program left me helpless. Thus the year of home school before finding a program that worked for us.

It was tough to see him go this morning. I couldn’t share my feelings of  sadness with J, I had to mask them with the confidence of our routine. I had to show him via my body language and words that I was confident that he was going someplace I approved of. He reads the tiniest cues of body language and can decipher them to work to his advantage very well, he’s a smart boy. I find it fascinating that a child who hates eye contact can see so much. If I did relinquish my poker face he would realize he had an opportunity to guilt me into staying home and all structure would crumble. When he comes home and the day is done I will let him know that he was missed so he understands emotions better, but not with the day still in front of him. I won’t project, I won’t project, I won’t project 🙂

It’s always hard to let go, especially when your child can’t communicate his day fully to you,  third trimester pregnancy hormones don’t help either, it’s like my tear ducts are just ready to go. I have to remind myself he will return, we will have more time together and more opportunities to bond. I have to remember to keep busy even if it is busy relaxing. I have to take our time apart and better myself as a human being, get things accomplished and come back to him full and ready for more fun! Would love to hear if any of you have noticed your kids picking up on subtle body language and facial cues like J. Hope all your summer’s are off to a good start 🙂

-JRED

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