Friday, 28 May 2021

As my autistic son becomes a teenager

By the end of this week there will be an official teenager in the house.  Although it seems rather bizarre that I can have a child who is now legally old enough to get a part-time job.  Though let's be honest, I can barely get Anthony to empty the dishwasher and take the bins out - activities that he relies on to get his allocated screen time allowance.  His chances of taking up work are extremely slim I'd say. 

Yes, he's turning 13, but I'd say he's been 'teenager' maybe for a few months or so already.  He's extremely concerned about his ever longer hair looking right (and it's wavy by the way, don't even think to suggest it might be curly). He spends his free time on a device, in his room - with the door closed thank you. He participates in family time by lounging near by, on his phone. He grunts at many things, moans about a lack of privacy and insists on staying up later than his younger siblings (even if it's only by 15 minutes).

And I'm glad for all of it. 

When Anthony turned 11 they started talking about things like puberty and sex at school.  He did not like it.  In fact he still doesn't like talking about anything like this.  We aren't allowed to comment on anything that might suggest Anthony is going through puberty as he says it's 'rude'. That includes simple things like 'you growing out of your clothes so fast' or 'you've got so tall'. But he is very aware of how he 'should be', which is why he gets to stay up a bit later.

I guess he doesn't like the idea of his body changing, which makes sense.  Many people with autism don't like change and change of yourself must seem pretty scary.   One of the things he asked about his ADHD meds when he started taking them several years ago now was 'Will they change my brain?'  He was glad to hear they would not. 

On his first day of primary school, Anthony was so overwhelmed that he lay on the floor right in the middle of the play ground at the start of the day.  He waited until everyone else had gone into class and then lay there with his Learning Support Assistant for at least another 10 minutes until he felt he could go inside (or until he was finally coaxed in by something).  His speech was delayed and his pencil control constituted of being able to line them up in a very specific order only. 

When he left that school seven years later he cried.  He'd not felt like he fitted in there for a while.  His classmates were all crying as they were leaving friends and teachers.  Anthony was crying because he was finally leaving and he might now go somewhere that 'got' him. 

He was being assessed for autism just 10 years ago.  Back then we had no idea what his life might look like.  And now I see he's matured so much and I can't believe how far his has come from the boy lying on the hard playground tarmac.  

Truth is, we never know what the future holds for any of our kids.  But I'm delighted to see Anthony doing some of things a traditional teenager will do.  He will no doubt progress in his own way, but he's at a point where he knows where he is and that's great.  Happy Birthday Anthony (no hugs, no kisses obvs). 




3 comments:

  1. A heart warming post. Happy Birthday Anthony, I hope the teenage years are kind to you.

    Katrina x
    #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awww happy birthday and hope it is not to chaotic. X #kcacols

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy Birthday to your big lad! We're on our second year as 'teen parents' now. It is indeed fascinating to see how children grow and change in so many ways, and adding developmental differences into it makes it all the more interesting :-) Thank you for linking up with #KCACOLS! x

    ReplyDelete

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