Today marks two years since Max was diagnosed with ASD and so I felt like now was a good time to sit down and write a little update about the past year. I did write a one year update last year which you can read here.
I’d love to be able to say that his diagnosis has helped and that things have gotten easier for us, but that just isn’t the case. Maybe I thought that a diagnosis would solve all our problems which was clearly very naive of me. I don’t regret the diagnosis because it’s what we needed, we needed it for us. To know that we weren’t just failing parents that couldn’t cope with our child, we needed to know that it wasn’t our fault. Not just that but I wanted other people, particularly his school to understand why he behaves the way he does sometimes. It’s like I was scared of people judging us and thinking my son was just naughty. I need to be able to explain to them why he comes across that way sometimes.
Rereading last year’s post I sounded fairly optimistic that we were handling things and hopeful that it would get easier. This year I don’t feel quite so positive. These past few months have been our hardest yet with Max and I wish I could say I know why that is, but I don’t. I do think that he has found year two to be quite a challenge, which is understandable because it is very different to year one and there is so much more expected of him now. So maybe school is the reason for his behaviour or maybe it’s something else, but either way we’re finding him difficult to handle right now.
I’ve noticed that his friendship circle at school is becoming smaller, he is suddenly very aware of his differences and the fact that he doesn’t like a lot of the same things that the other kids like. He won’t pretend just to fit in, he speaks his mind and I do love that about him. But I also worry about him not having many friends. He is lucky that he has a couple of really good friends who have stuck by him since reception and that’s fantastic.
There have been a few occasions recently where his teacher has said that he’s had a bad day, he’s struggled to concentrate, he’s been very distracted and loud. This has only started happening over the past couple of months and it worries me. I’ve always said that he loves school, gets on brilliantly academically but is challenging at home. As tough as homelife can be, I’ve always found comfort knowing that he is doing well at school but now it seems he’s playing up there more and more.
Another thing we have really struggled with recently is getting him to get dressed for school and out of the door on time. It’s something that we’ve never found easy but it’s become much more difficult recently. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t have a child like Max but he basically just won’t do as he’s asked, everything is ‘in a minute’, he has absolutely no concept of time. We must ask him 20 times to get dressed in a morning, he won’t let us help him and he won’t even let us be in the same room as him while he’s getting changed. It’s like we have absolutely no control over the situation and every single morning I end up losing my temper and shouting. We’ve tried removing the iPad, he’ll play with toys instead, remove the toys and he’ll sit and stare into space instead. We’ve tried setting timers, getting him to race against his sister, reward charts etc. All of these things work temporarily but it never lasts.
I am already terrified about him starting secondary school, which is still five years away! Because I don’t think he’ll cope with the change and I don’t know how I’ll be able to get him to school. If he refuses to go, like he sometimes does now, how on earth can I physically move a teenage boy? I guess it’s a case of crossing that bridge when we come to it but it’s already there in the back of my mind.
I hate to moan, and I’d really like to be able to end this post on a positive note but I’m struggling to be honest. We have good days and bad days and we carry on, we have to. I just wish there was more help out there for us.
We love our boy dearly, we love his individuality, his little quirks and how loving he can be. But my goodness it’s not easy raising him sometimes. I live in hope that it will get easier one day.
Thank you for reading.