The greatest joy of springtime for me has always been looking out for the first baby lamb and seeing the snowdrops push though the winter soil to delicately hang their heads. I am a country girl at heart so Spring seems to be related to my well-being on a constant level. Winter has gone (but I’ll keep my gloves and scarf on for a while longer), the dark mornings have dissipated (but I still need a lot of coffee) and Summer, my favourite season, is nearly here.
So, what on earth does this have to do with our lovely little Aspie girl? Well, this Spring has been a revelation for us as a family and the seasonal shift has mirrored the mental status of us all. Winter was hard, filled with turmoil, dark and mysterious but the ‘diagnosis’ brought a thaw. The ice melted, the days lightened and lengthened and we felt the warmth of the sun on our backs. This last fortnight has been particularly magical with four meetings that have each given us a reason to smile, to believe and to feel empowered.
Suddenly, I feel I can do it, I can tackle this head on and really make a difference, my focus has shifted from the ‘what is making it worse’ to ‘how can we make it better’. I am no longer thinking ‘I really hope she doesn’t have a meltdown tonight’ to ‘if she does have a meltdown, we can deal with it together’. I had meetings with both Enquire and Mindroom both of whom provided genuine care, support, potential collaboration and a feeling that if we all pull together, we can make a real difference to the awareness, diagnostic route and access to support for all of the currently struggling parents.
The meeting with my daughter’s school was another moment of joy. They have been superb this academic year and have listened, taken time, shown genuine interest in our daughter and are working collaboratively with us (and our daughter’s superb BCBA). They are going above and beyond; they are adapting and willing to mold their routines, structures and timetables to accommodate our requests; they are even suggesting new ways to help which is wonderful. So, things are now getting put in place, our daughter’s teachers have been informed and we await the results.
Most importantly, our little love has shown, in the last couple of days, a genuine understanding of what has happened and what the ‘diagnosis’ has meant to her. She read a fabulous book called I am an Aspie Girl and you could physically see her body relax as the realisation dawned on her that someone else (the main character Lizzie) feels the same way as her. Hers is such a valid way to feel that a book has been written about it. When she has a very sudden burst of anger, it is dissipating faster and we can discuss it in context of being an Aspie girl. She knows it is just a part of her, just a wee part of her like her wonderful blue eyes and the kindness with animals – it is an important part that makes her an individual, an individual who is starting to realise that there is a bright future just around the corner.