As a parent of a teenager with Autism, working out a normal, daily task like going shopping, for me has always been a complete nightmare. Just stepping into town to go and buy some new school trousers, for example, was a day that would somewhere along the line see a tantrum of some kind. Jon’s main overload is crowded shops. The noise of the shop music, chatter from other shoppers going about their day, bright lights and masses of colour sends Jon into a flat spin. To get him through the shop, get the trousers and out the other side meant he had to grip the back of my clothes, bury his head into my spine and shuffle mumbling or chanting. This usually meant that we would walk through the shop not looking too dissimilar to a pantomime horse much to the giggles and huffs of shoppers. They must have thought I was the worst mother on the planet as I couldn’t possibly control my growing teenager!
When Jon was small, I could get away with laughing off the tantrum in Tesco’s but as a strapping 15 year old who now towers over his 44 year old mother, I am usually on the receiving end of scolding looks, stares and oh yes, my favourite; whole families running in horror in the opposite direction.
There was a time, when I would scowl back, but of course this only confirmed their heightened suspicion that I was indeed, the world’s worst mother for not being able to control my own child. So that tactic didn’t last long…
After one occasion where, yes, this is true, a mother came storming up to me threatening to call the police because my wonderful son had just said the F word at the top of his voice (for no reason) in the crowded high street, I finally gave up trying to justify my like on planet Earth. I have now what I have found the perfect deflect for this regular scenario, and I am pleased to offer it to you too.
I devised some flyers.
As the safety of Jon is paramount when he is having a meltdown rather than stand and discuss the whys-and-wherefores of human behaviour, I have found that smiling and placing a flyer in their hand is the best idea. Then they can read it at their pleasure while I become a hurtling gust of wind attempting to keep up with my wailing and stressed out son.
I have added them here for you to download and use to your hearts desire if you would like to. They have helped me enormously in times of anxiety when all I want to do is care for Jon.
I have hoped by using these flyers that they have allowed people to stop and think and perhaps learn a little more about this condition which affects around 700,000 people in the U.K alone. My passion is that if we educate as many people as we can then we can send our fledglings out into the cold world as adults with the hope that there will be some understanding and some patience.
In the meantime, I continue in my quest to find ways through psychology to help empower our children to integrate into society as best they can and manage their own difficulties when we are no longer around. So far, I have studied (and got a Diploma in) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and been to the U.S to study Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I won’t rest until I come up with some strategies we can all learn and pass onto our children.
They have brilliant minds, hearts and integrity. Let’s put them into a world that lets them hear their voice.
Thank you 🙂
The following link will take to the page on our site where you can download they flyer for your use.
Having problems, or just need a shoulder? Please feel free to get in touch using the form below and I will get back to you as soon as I can
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CBT helps us realise that we have a choice to feel either good or bad about something like a situation that makes us feel anxious. What the child is feeling is real and right.
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