So on a 3 day field trip with my daughter and I’ve learned a lot about her and how she navigates this world with Autism. She’s not the non-verbal, physically aggressive, low functioning child. It’s different in each person. But she still has her struggles.
I’ll admit, some days I think….maybe she was misdiagnosed. Nope….spot on. She is socially awkward (laughs only when others do but with extra effort), she’d rather keep to herself, she sticks to the rules and schedule 150% and doesn’t easily relax. She suffers in silence to be polite but gets very frustrated if pushed too far. Her level of intelligence surpasses my own and most adults. She loves attention but don’t touch her hair. She may struggle getting a point across but once you know what she’s trying to convey you see her brain has a hard time expressing her thoughts. She can’t do one simple thing and that’s stand up from sitting on the floor.
I had a hard time not stepping in when those struggles come to face during this trip. I wanted to talk for her. I wanted to insert her so she would be participating in group games and silly conversations and whisk her away when she was over whelmed.
Two reasons why I didn’t.
The first is she has an a amazing teacher who took care of any issue before I could because Momma Bear mode was about to ignite. For example: we were at a place that cut off an escalator as a path. Big no no. Meltdown in 5……4….3….2….. My daughter is afraid of elevators. Always has been. We take steps everywhere. Even to the 12th floor of a hospital to visit a loved one. Yes, 12 floors.
In this instance, her teacher made sure she was accommodated. When she was told that the escalator wasn’t accessible due to a private event, her teacher became Momma Bear. By this time, I was close to panicking myself. The teacher made it happen. Superhero in action! NaVia got to go down a red carpet event escalator. I was so grateful I wanted to cry and kiss her! My daughter is blessed to have others who recognize the need to meet her where she is if I’m not able to.
The other reason I didn’t jump in immediately is it didn’t seem to bother her at all when she wasn’t invited to play with friends. Most times it didn’t bother her. Other times I could tell she wanted to interact socially with the other kids. But didn’t know how. I asked her about it and she said “Well, sometimes I’m shy and other times they just make fun of me with their eyes.” My heart broke. I told her some people won’t understand that how special she is. Others won’t always know how to be her friend but we can teach them.
So, for the next month and a half at school she is going to use a conversation starter to ask to be a part of a game or talk with a new friend at lunch. I’m also modeling how to accept rejection. It’s inevitable, unfortunately. She may not suffer from some of the things others with Autism have, but one person living with Autism is that one person with Autism. No two are alike. She definitely suffers.
So she fortunately bounces back and it doesn’t bother her to long when she’s automatically accepted and put in an uncomfortable environment. I guess that’s the blessing in disguise. Their loss. And very unfortunate for them.