I don’t know about you, but there are definitely days when I lose sight of long-term goals. I become impatient. I forget to respect the process… whether it’s my own, my husband’s, a friend’s or either of my children’s. I just don’t. I want things to happen on MY time frame. I like when things happen in exactly the way I imagined they would, with the speed in which I hoped for. I LOVE when things happen even faster or in a way I couldn’t have imagined and end up even better than I thought. But when things meander along, taking their time, going at a pace far too slow for my liking I have trouble… My father used to say to me, “You want what you want, when you want it.” This was NOT meant as a compliment. He was right. I am impatient. I prefer when things I want to happen, happened yesterday.
I used to think I would become more patient with age, but if anything, growing older makes me even less patient as I’m more aware of my mortality and that there really is an “end” to all of this, or I should say an end to me(gasp!) and therefore I have to hurry if I’m going to get everything I want done, finished. You know, things like changing the way people perceive autism, changing the way society treats people with disabilities, changing how our education system works… little stuff like that… *Big grin.
So when I’m hit with a wave of impatience, when I am most definitely NOT respecting the process, whatever and whomever that may apply to, I must remind myself of my tendency toward impatience and that I do not control much of what happens in this world. Everyone can let out their breath now; I know that was something most of you were concerned about. *Said with a big smile and a generous dollop of sarcasm.
Respect… this is something I think about a great deal. My daughter’s life is no less worthy of respect than my own. Respecting her means, listening to her, finding out how best to communicate with her, I have to respect the way she learns, the best ways for her to express herself in any given situation, the way she takes in information, the time she needs to move from one thing to the next, the clear instructions she needs so she can do what is being asked and honoring her as a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity.
Musings of an Aspie wrote a post the other day entitled, (Not) a Little Slow. It’s a terrific post, one I wish was part of a “Welcome To The Tribe – Things You Should Know Handout”. I wish this handout existed for all of us when we receive an autism diagnosis, whether for ourselves or our children. Actually this imaginary handout should be made available to every human being on this planet. If we treated all humans with the kind of generosity, respect and civility practiced at Autism conferences where Autistic people are not only in attendance, but are largely responsible for the creation of the programming and planning, this world would be a better place.
Em & Laura on the subway
Clearly, this handout should be created. And then it should be shared widely.
Oh this is something I think about often. Will try to make this a reality!
Several years ago I read a post by an autism mom of an adult who was explaining that many persons on the spectrum are “late bloomers” and start to come into their own “after age 35”. At the time I found her words rather discouraging, even though the mother viewed it as the silver lining. Since then I’m learning to appreciate that every person has their own developmental timing, and there are some things which just have to be experienced personally by the individual. In other words, our kids (neurotypical and not neurotypical) have to make many of their own mistakes and pave their own way in order to fully appreciate their life’s lessons. I find this to be one of the big parenting challenges, and like you, I often feel little patience for the process!
Yes! I think this is very, very true and it brings me great happiness. Now if we could all live to be in our hundreds…
Some days I get really tired of trying to convince people that it is demeaning and wrong to treat grown up autistics like little children.
Yesterday is one of those days and I wrote this:
Accommodations allow people to participate in society.
People who can’t walk use wheelchairs. People who can’t see use Braille to read. People who cannot process multiple voices on a phone conference call use one of the video chat platforms.
When a wheelchair user encounters an unnavigable course we do not expect him to get up and walk over the rough terrain. When a book is not available in Braille we do not expect a blind person to have the sight needed to read a typewritten book. When videoconferencing is unfamiliar or inconvenient to others an autistic is expected to do the phone conference.
Society does not respect the neurological curb cuts autistics need. They want us all to be self advocates, but when we say what we need not too many people believe us or they think it is optional and we should just suck it up and act normal. This becomes a major barrier to autistics participating in society.
Thank you so much for writing this Judy. I’m sorry you have had more than your share of days like the one you’ve described. People do not know and they definitely do not understand! Hoping all of us will see that change in time!
Ariane, I sympathize with this so much…I am definitely in an “But I want it now!” mode right now….
Ha! The bane of my existence!!
Thank you for the shout out. 🙂 The response to that post has had me smiling for days.
I know what you mean about the struggle to let others go at their own pace. This morning my husband told me was “having a meltdown.” He didn’t mean it literally, but it was his way of saying “I need some time to do this thing at my own pace and if I need your input I’ll let you know.” And because he put it that way, I understood perfectly and found it easier to not try to fix stuff that I couldn’t possibly fix anyhow. Not that I didn’t still want to, of course, but I kept my mouth shut at least.
Yeah, well it definitely resonated with many!
PS I think I may have to use that with my husband… It’s perfect code for “SPACE!” without condemning or blaming anyone.
A lot of those (Not) A Little Slow points fit children too with just a little tweak. 1. Treat me as a competent child, and so on. I loved all the points and I should tweak them for my child and pin them to my refrigerator.
I am really impatient too. With just about everything. You are not alone!
I’ve printed them out!
ah, yes, pacing ourselves for the marathon and not the sprint. hard to do with so much to still be fixed. fyi, the ‘want to know about autism, ask someone who is autistic’ tab on my blog *is* the hand out I use for folks when I meet new parents. and thanks for the reminder that I wanted to add Musings post to it. 🙂
I will have to go look at yours, not sure I’ve ever noticed it!
I’m doing a week of favorites for my blog next week. I absolutely love the way you write, but more than that I enjoy reading your insight and perspective on y’all’s autism journey. Very eye opening…gets my mind turning. I would pick one of my own favorite posts to feature but there are too many. Can you send one of your favorites?? Thank you!
I’m so sorry, just saw this now. I’m not very good at picking… I tend to be pretty critical of my writing. But I am so flattered that you want to include me in your post!
I like the way that sounds…. “Respect”… a simple word for everyone to understand and teach. Just… respect. Oh, and I totally agree with your list of things you want to accomplish….the need for everyone to understand Autism and the spectrum, and how special these kids really are. But I do believe when we are in public and I get those weird looks, I will now say “please respect him, he’s in the autism spectrum and communicates differently from you.”
I like that!
I too want what i want when i want it I’m working on being patient it’s not easy though
A buddhist teacher I know said, sometimes just “noticing” when I am and approaching those moments with curiosity is a great way to “take good care of it.” (Also not easy for me to do!)
Hi Ariane. I have a question, and I don’t know if you or any or your readers might have some insight. As we’ve started doing more academics, I’ve noticed that my girl’s eyes seem to wander and not focus together. We’ve wondered in the past if she had vision problems, but all eye exams were negative (as much as could be done without her verbal response). But the “lazy eye” has become pronounced and so is her difficulty focusing at times. I have an exam with her eye doctor, but we don’t really have a specialist here, so I guess I’ll be looking for one. But do you know anything more about eye issues and autistic persons? I’ve noticed quite a few people with them, but I hadn’t really made the connection.
Thanks so much. And sorry for taking space on your blog, but I’m a bit worried now.
I really know absolutely nothing about visual issues and whether there’s a connection to autism. However a quick google search did come up with a couple of interesting links such as this one – http://stevens_mom.tripod.com/id48.html
and this one –
As with everything to do with Autism, there’s a lot of crap out there. But doing a quick scan of these two links they looked okay and less offensive than many of the others. Let me know if they’re remotely helpful. Maybe someone else will be able to give you better thoughts about this.