One thing I love to do is look after people and this is one of the reasons I adore being a Mum (and one of the reasons I went into teaching). I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that before I actually endured childbirth, I wanted lots and lots of children; lots of packed lunches to make, uniforms to wash and iron, and dinners to cook.
Owen, however, is the most independent child I’ve ever come across. He hates it if I try to help him; one of the first Makaton signs we learnt to use was ‘help’ and he promptly learnt to sign back ‘no’!
On ‘diagnosis day’, his consultant handed me a pile of leaflets about assisted living. Owen was three at the time and I decided then and there that I was going to prepare him for the ‘real’ world as much as I possibly could. The world isn’t going to suddenly become an Autism friendly place so he needs to know how to cope and how to cope well.
This is going splendidly! This morning for example, he has dressed himself for school, made his packed lunch:
Done the washing up for me:
And made his bed…
He also fed the dog!
I’ve had to learn not to interfere but it’s so difficult. If he wants help, he comes and asks for it. Generally it’s with things like the buttons on his t-shirt or if he can’t reach something. If we get the train somewhere, he presses all the buttons on the ticket machine, feeds the ticket into the barriers etc…if we buy anything in a shop, he scans it, packs it and pays for it. I’m beginning to feel a little redundant!
As independent as he is though, there’s still that difficulty of understanding danger. I’m sure he would love to iron his own uniform and he gets as involved in making our dinner as he can but letting him do these things at the moment (even supervised) would probably result in a trip to A and E!
There are also things that just require a little more understanding – I don’t let him brush his own teeth because he doesn’t quite understand the importance of making sure they’re clean properly etc.
So making packed lunches is one more thing crossed off of the ‘list of Mummy’s jobs’…..I’d feel sad but if it buys me the extra time for another cup of tea in the morning, who am I to complain?
All I want to know is, it too soon to get him hoovering?