Monday 15 July 2019

When there is nothing to do but wait

Children by a clock waiting

I'm not good at waiting. I like short tasks and quick outputs if I'm honest about it.  Unfortunately there's a lot of waiting involved as a parent of a child with special educational needs.

Whether it's the wait for an autism diagnosis, other diagnoses, professional reports, appointments, or the queue at Alton Towers for a disabled access pass, there's a fair amount of waiting. Don't even get me started on how long it took to get our EHCP finalised.

It seems actually there's only one type of waiting I've got time for.  And that's the waiting for my autistic son David.

David's concept of time, like things for David, exists at it's own pace.  We were at a large family attraction last weekend and after waiting a while to get in it was obvious that the little while we had waited had been just been a little too long for him.

We enjoyed a few activities and then David's anxiety spiked and his patience vanished. I'm not sure what sparked his upset.  I say upset, it was really an autistic meltdown, but he's got so much better at recovering recently that I don't tend to think of them on the same scale as I used to.

He screamed, jumped on the spot and then ran off backward a short distance, probably about 15m or so.

Had this been a year ago I would have immediately run after him, fearing for his safety.  But, I've come to have a bit more confidence in our lad. If the area is safe, like it was at this family attraction, then I will allow him to run a short distance and stop.  He looks back at us... his eyes full of tears and his face askew.

And then it is time for me to wait.

It is time for me to wait until David is ready to come back to us.

It is time for me to wait until David feels he can continue with the day.

It is time for me to wait ... for him.

Sometimes he returns and takes my hand in a few seconds, although is always feels longer.

Sometimes he will underestimate him himself, return to me and then run off again when he realises that 'actually no, I'm not over this yet.'

But he does come back if I wait.  Approaching him usually makes it worse. So I sit and wait.

Often the rest of the family will find this frustrating. Our eldest also has ASD and ADHD and struggles to wait but he understands that actually this is the fastest way to get us going again. He just needs reminding of this. Jane often feels like her opinions and desires are the least important because her brothers needs seem to take president all the time.

After these small episodes, David is more likely to repeat this running away and standing on the same day.  I think he doesn't quite recover from the upset the first time and is just on edge.  Smaller things can then be too much for him.

But over a year ago,  he may not have been able to continue at all. We are used to turning around and going home. It's fine with us.. it can be what's best for us. But at the moment, I'm happy to wait for David.  And if he's ready, we can go on with more of the day.


  1. Waiting is difficult for sure. But great that you are seeing steps to him coping a little better x

  2. Aw, I can imagine it’s challenging to juggle needs of all the children. At the moment Baby F just goes with the flow but I do wonder what life will be like when they are older...and can run opposite directions, haha.x

  3. This really resonates with me. I'm not a fan of waiting but I do find that patience for my kids. I too need to wait for my eldest to be ready as pushing him before he is ready just doesn't work. It used to drive me crazy waiting for my son to finish what he was doing but now its second nature.

  4. it's so hard to be patient when you want things to happen yesterday. ive def been guilty of trying to push my son for things to soon and i need to wait. he does things in his own time. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

  5. You must need so much patience to cope, I'd find the waiting very challenging, I totally admire you. #KCACOLS.

  6. Gosh, this must be so hard. Parenting needs patience, but this is such a challenge. #KCACOLS

  7. This was so lovely to read, seeing how you trust him and how much he trusts you too. It must be so, so hard at times though. x#KCACOLS

  8. Nice post. Glad you found the rhythmn that works for you both #KCACOLS

  9. I'm glad that you do what works for you and your family regardless how others think and feel! Parenting has a way of teaching us patience whether we want it or not! I'm confident you're better at waiting than you realize now. #KCACOLS


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