When our kids were very young and first diagnosed with their autism, I listened to every piece of advice I was given. By their doctors, their teachers, their therapists, online forums, other parents, the Guy Who Dressed Like Jesus in Burbank and rolled a 6-foot cross up & down the road, all day every day (yes, the cross had wheels on the bottom. But I digress...)
After a few years of this, I stopped driving myself insane and started listening to my instincts. After all, I was the one who was with them 98% of the time, who took care of them, fed them, cuddled them, gave time-outs when necessary, all of it.
And it made me realize that some folks, even if they have a whole lot of experience, are full of it.
At least as far as my kids are concerned.
Yesterday I had another meeting with the potty training lady. OK, she's a Behavioral Therapist, but, to me, she's PTL. And she was chock-full of not only advice, but disapproval of some of the ways we do things around here. Fine. She's entitled to her opinion, she knows what has worked for her and many of her clients, and she has a great track record.
However...that doesn't necessarily mean she knows what's best for US.
After she left, I felt like the Worst Autism Mom In The World. Then, as the day went on, I moved from guilty to plain ol' pissed off. And lemmee tell ya, that felt GOOD!
Because she's here once a month for 30 minutes, while the kids are in school. She's never even MET them, fer cryin' out loud! I'm glad she's hyper-organized, thrilled she can run her own facility practically single-handedly while keeping up a private client base of 30. Terrific, mazel-tov.
I'm not that way. I will give my kids a schedule and structure, but I REFUSE to schedule every second of their day! Because you know what happens? The moment we deviate from said schedule, even just a bit, we hit Meltdown City.
I pride myself on the fact that my kids can go out in public and not freak out. That we can take a vacation with them and they're excited and curious, not scared. Is it always sunshine and rainbows? No. But we can do it, and I think that's fantastic.
The thing that got me was that she was knit-picking. We've worked hard to teach our kids things that come naturally to other kids. If WG wants to bring a snack into her room because it's noisy and chaotic in the kitchen, and her cousin is driving her nuts? Fine with me! I'd rather sweep up crumbs than have her become completely overwhelmed. She now knows ways of calming herself, and one of those ways is to go to her room. It took YEARS for us all to learn that, and I am SO PROUD of her for doing so! THAT is more important than keeping her in the kitchen while she eats her snack.
And, sorry, we cannot remodel the entire house. First of all, it's not OUR house. Secondly, we cannot afford it. Lastly, they are very adaptable kids; they learn, and have learned, to make ultimate use of their living space. Sure, I would LOVE to have a home "gym" for them, with a ball pit and a mini zip line and therapy balls, but who the hell can afford THAT?
Finally, we will make OUR potty training schedule, thankyouverymuch. What worked for you 20 years ago doesn't work for us, now. And when it happens, and it WILL happen,
it will happen on HER time, not ours, or yours, or anyone else's.
Once again I am reminded of the quote "No one can make you feel badly without your consent." Well, I'm done. I will take the advice that makes sense for us, and leave the rest.