When little things seem big

Will struggles with change, and missed expectations. Transition difficulty is a big part of autism for many with the diagnosis. Will is no different. The need to feel as though he is in control is another ear mark of Will's autism manifestation. So, when I came home from work today, and announced I was needed longer over the next two days than had been expected, I anticipated a meltdown. I was surprised when I was met with nonchalance. I thought, okay, he's handling this all well.

Then, he refused to let Mack look at the Pokemón book for coloring page ideas. We tried to work through the refusal, but were only met with half explanations and resistance. I knew there was something else causing difficulty. I gently assured Will that Mack would be gentle, I knew there was something going on, but he needed to let his brother look. Cue explosion.

As usual, I allowed his time to decompress and process. I hugged him when he was ready. I told him I knew there were a lot of changes. I reassured him I was doing what I could to prepare him. I reminded him I chose not to stay at work today because I knew that would cause him difficulty, and I want to minimize that struggle. I told him my plan--to add contingencies to the schedule for when work might need me longer. This way, he would know what the expectations were whether I was home early or not.

My ability to adapt to unexpected changes is well developed from years of practice. Will's is far underdeveloped because of the way his brain processes. I can bridge the gap, and allow his brain to focus on the more important aspects of being a kid while helping him learn the adaptations. I don't need to force him to roll with unexpected changes at age 10.

My goal as a mother has always been to meet my kids where they are, and help them grow to where they need to be. Each of them starts in a different place, needs different help, and will end in a different place too. I have to be able to adjust to each of their individual needs, and avoid the temptation to box them in. Mack, Rory, and Kae all adapt pretty well. Will doesn't. I can help him where he is.

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