What It's Like Being Oliver's ParentsWe feel fortunate that we haven't missed out on an emotional relationship with Oliver. Oliver comes to us voluntarily for hugs and kisses. He will put his hands on his mum's face and say "I love you mummy."
Oliver and his mummy share a quiet moment together
Oliver has never slept through a night. He had colic as a small baby and woke every two to three hours for years. Since going to school full time, after an active day he may sleep for 5 hours. He still does not understand that being awake is not the same as 'time to get up.' On many occasions we have still been up at 2am with Oliver because he was not ready to go to sleep. On other occasions we rise at 3.30am because Oliver has got up having had enough sleep. Sometimes both of these situations occur in the same night!
The safety equipment we installed when Oliver became mobile has so far prevented accidents. He seems to have accepted that certain drawers and cupboards do not open for him and he has not persisted in trying to open these.
Like all parents Oliver makes us feel very proud when he does something new or masters a skill e.g. when he used a spoon to eat, wrote his name or rode his bicycle for the first time. However we do feel sad that he does not experience the magic of Christmas. He does not understand the hype and excitement in the lead up to the day and does not display surprise or wonder when he sees his pile of presents. He views Santa Claus as just another stranger.
The anger, frustration and disappointment on finding out that our child has a lifelong mental handicap is still with us. However these feelings drive us and give us energy to fight for Oliver and to help him all we can. We see our role as helping Oliver to function the best he can as Oliver (a child with autism). We do not attempt to inhibit Oliver from displaying his traits in order to mould his behaviour into what is considered a 'normal' child. This attitude is very much in contrast with the aims of the Higashi method - on this we must beg to differ.
We have found the following book an extremely helpful resource: Parent Survival Manual - Edited by Eric Schopler ISBN: 0-306-44977-3. It contains hundreds of instructive anecdotes to help find answers to common problems (examples being communication, sleeping and aggression). It is recommended by The National Autistic Society and is available from their publications department.
The Peace Family
"A Son is warmth, hope and promise. . .
the pride of your heart and the joy of your life" - Robin St.John