Thank you all so much for all your comments and friendship (Jenn,
your comment box did not work for me...). It has been a great
encouragement to write again.
What I'd like to explain today is that yes, autism is a lifelong
disability and there are hard and frustrating times. But in my
family we can also laugh about it. You just cannot help when
it comes to some situations.
Cirwen went through a very long period of having nightmares
and night tremors every night. She could only tell us that she
was scared of "The Dark". "The Dark" however, was not the
darkness as such, because she was happy to play in the dark
room. I think it was to do with the fact that at the time we
lived between two pubs and unfortunately not the best area,
so she could hear the arguments and fights in the street.
Therefore to me "The Dark" was a personalisation of violence.
One day in town, we visited a shop with comics, collectibles
and such lovely stuff. There, Cirwen saw her first Dead Doll.
She was very fond of a little doll and begged us to buy it for her.
I was rather reluctant since, as much as I liked them too, I
wasn't sure if it was appropriate. I gave in, when she told me,
she needed her own monster to scare away The Dark. Well, I was
desperate to have at least one uninterrupted night so we bought
the ghostly doll with a noose around her neck... Guess what?
Cirwen slept all night for the whole month despite the noise
Not long later we had to visit the psychologist for an assess-
ment and Cirwen had to talk about The Dark and even drew
a picture. The psychologist listened to the story about the
dead doll, as we were asked how we dealt with it. He politely
did not comment... But his face was a picture!
I should also point out that at the time Cirwen was obsessed
with Disney Princesses and did not leave a house if not dressed
in pink from top to toes.
The collection grew after a while once she decided that the first
one "needed help, because The Dark got used to it"...
She is now 11 years old and turning into a little Emo Princess...
Autistic people take everything very literally. Especially kids.
You do have to avoid the ambiguous situations or language like :
"Come on! Spill the beans!" because most likely , like my girl,
you'll they'll answer you "but I don't have any beans!"
One day, when Cirwen was about 6, she saw a man with a dog
while she was crossing the park on the way to school. She ran
ahead of her dad to watch the dog. The man seemed to call his
dog several times and when it didn't move he said something
sharply, picked up the pooch and walked off. Cirwen ran back
very excited and shouted "Dad! Dad! Do you know what this
dog's name is? It's called F...k it! That's a really good name -
- F...k it isn't it?..." and she was going on and on ( just to say
the word probably) until her dad explained to her , what
actually happened and that it wasn't the dog's name.
My poor husband almost chewed off his lip not to laugh.
My advice for today: don't suppress obsessions - make them
work for you. Give in sometimes to seemingly outrageous
requests and they might solve a problem.
We are all strong, just don't realise it until we must be.