When you mention that your child has Aspergers Syndrome, most that have some understanding of the syndrome, just think the characteristics are a lacking in social interaction skills, literal understanding, or an intense special interest. There is so much more to Aspergers then this! One of the main difficulties for Little man is learning independence skills, the most basic everyday things that a “typical” child masters in the early years of life, such as tying their own shoe laces, Little man is only just beginning to do at the age of 11 years.
We have always struggled when it comes to daily hygiene, basic teeth brushing and hand washing are a few amongst the list of difficulties Little man has. This is due to a combination of factors such as, sensory sensitivity (which is defiantly the case for brushing his teeth, and reluctance in letting me cut his nails) to lacking the basic skills needed to do what you or I can only describe as the most basic of tasks.
The hard thing for us as a family is the fact Little man is more than aware that these are skills he should have mastered by now and yes it make him very anxious and upset.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to wash his face & hands, like I have said this is just a basic skill his lacking, which is why we use visual aids in the bathroom. Little man just needs a visual reminder to remind him of the order in which certain things need to be done!
So, here’s my worry… shouldn’t Little man have mastered the order of play by now, not be relying on visual direction as much? This is something he cannot be doing as an adult and as we reach the years of puberty (oh god I’m dreading these) this will become an even bigger and more needed skill that he must acquire.
When Little man was much younger, even though we struggled to obtain a diagnosis, then a statement of sen… things such as these were much easier to cope with! Now my Little man is growing fast, before I know it he will be 16, what then?
Like any mother, I only want the best for my child! I want him to grow up, get a job, a wife, have a family of his own! I’m not stating he can’t do these things, I know he can! What I need to do is step back and help him to help himself!
It sounds harsh, yes, I know! But he is my son and I love him! I am guilty of doing what many mothers of children on the spectrum do… helping him that little bit too much! If Little man finds something hard to cope with, it’s easier for me to remove the source of the problem, yet in the long run how will this help him? I’m not just taking about hygiene now… I’m taking about everything, from sensory overload, when we take a visit to the supermarket or fighting with his sister (there is only so many times you can remove a child from the situation after all)!
Yes, such issues are true struggles for my child, however it must get to that stage where in order to help my child cope with the things he finds most difficult I need to slowly introduce new techniques to help him acquire better skills for his future, I’m gonna have to start now… before my child is relying on his mum, come age 21!
I just wish these things were easier… that’s all!