Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hating Waiting Rooms

Last night I decided to do a little blog reading . . . I checked out Heather’s blog – she’s one of Thane’s former teachers and she has a little boy with autism who is about a half year younger than Thane. In her blog, she wrote about things she doesn’t like:

* waiting rooms- no matter what the response I get from the other people in the room towards Brian I don't think I can be happy- "every child develops at their own rate", "nothing seems wrong with him to me", and of course the staring and rolling their eyes---- okay, sometimes I have had good conversations in waiting rooms but today i'm feeling bugged by this

This one jumped out at me because I feel so much the same way. No matter what someone says about Thane, I tend to feel irritated inside. If I explain that he is on the autism spectrum, I will get comments similar comments to the ones Heather mentions, or sometimes be met with sadness and pity which bugs the heck out of me because my son is wonderful!

One of my worst experiences in a waiting room was a time when there was only one other gentleman in a large waiting room with us. He was trying to be nice to Thane, who was crying because he hates the sight, smell, look, long wait, etc., of a doctor’s office. He can be okay in the exam room, though he often goes and hides in the cabinets under the sink or some space where only a little person can get into. On this particular day, Thane was wearing a pair of appliquéd overalls with a pirate design on them. When the gentleman couldn’t get my then pretty much non-verbal child to reply, he decided that Thane must be a “bad pirate.” The tone was one that was mixed with an effort to sound funny with air of “what a brat you have there.” I looked at him with my eyes burning and said, “No, he’s a scared a little boy!”

Once at horseback riding this summer, I got a comment from an older woman that Thane just wasn’t what autism looked like, especially when she was younger. No, he isn’t what autism looks like. He is what Thane looks like, and Thane happens to have an autism spectrum disorder. Are there some children who are more profoundly disabled by their autism? Yes, definitely. Are there some who have it easier than Thane? Probably, yes. But you know what? It doesn’t matter! It isn’t about comparing this kid with that kid or anything like that. It’s about Thane being the best, happiest, healthiest little boy he can be – for him. He deserves that.

I get so many comments about how hard it must be to drag him from therapy to therapy, to live with him, etc., and then all the comments to the opposite about how silly to do all this to him (note the use of to, not for him). It’s a tightrope that any parent has to walk . . . how much do you push? Where do you push? Why do you push? Some therapies or suggestions aren’t ones I consider important for Thane, while others are. I’m willing to bet that where each family sways on that tightrope varies – and that is okay and as it should be. Trust me to do what it is right for my own child – believe it or not, I actually know him and will do my very best to support him. When I’m pissed off and preoccupied with being judged, I’m not as available as I should be. I need to, as my friend Alicia says, “Be a duck. Just let it roll off.”

1 comment:

Heather said...

Great post!! I definitely thought about making a post just on my waiting room thoughts... I could probably make a whole book about it actually lol