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Control. Some people lose it, some people need to be ‘in’ it all the time. Some people are pretty laid back and others are so uptight, their jaws quiver and teeth clench. It’s all to do with control, whether you obsessively have to have it or you are perfectly happy to relinquish it to others. Control is power, it affects our mood, outlook and abilities to function. Think of a TV remote, is there a family who hasn’t had an argument about who gets to hold it? Isn’t there always someone who sits with it on their lap (or hides it by their side)? Isn’t there always that slight nervousness when your newfangled TV actually has two different remotes (or is that just me?).

Our ASD/Asperger’s daughter’s control switch is a little wonkily wired so control is a fickle friend, sometimes ‘he’ is overpowering and in your face and on other times, he has rushed away in a second flat and cannot be found for love nor money.

Our daughter does have a strong desire to be in control but to be honest, I don’t really blame her (and I know exactly where she gets it from, ahem). Controlling a situation means she is not going to be surprised; nothing unusual or unexpected is going to happen and she can keep a level head because when things are uncontrollable, that is when the pressure hits, the anxiety spikes and the ‘overload’ is building inside her. If it was a Top Trumps card, control would annihilate unpredictability every single time. She has a lovely sweet way of gaining control though: she is charming, she flutters he eyelashes in exaggerated fashion, she says things like ‘oooh, now I am sure you will love this game’, she coerces, she cajoles and a lot of the time we do end up pretending to be a dolphin for her (or unicorn or old lady or robber or dog… you see where I am going).

As well as loving being in control, she despairs when ‘he’ goes out the window. Those moments are supersonic in their speed, magnificent in their sheer force and like a volcano erupting rather terrifyingly for those in her path. From sweetness and light one second, she can be shouting her lungs off, ripping off the ‘too small’ tights and flinging herself on the bed. More recently however, control has come back much quicker than before. ‘His’ escape is cut short and miraculously he returns to make her smile, joke and rush off to breakfast.

But ‘he’ is always there, swinging wildly backwards and forwards, waiting for an opportunity to retreat or force his wants to the front. ‘He’ is Jekyll and Hyde rolled into one, ‘he’ is yin and yang, ‘he’ is fire and ice. But the more we see of him, the more we can calm ‘his’ extremes, ‘he’ is getting milder and more understandable and predictable. Our daughter sees ‘him’ coming now too so, if we all keep looking out for ‘him’, we may be able to stop ‘him’ jumping out on us and ‘he’ will have to sidle up to us instead.

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