A year back, our family relocated to a new country. Our eldest son has an intellectual disability and meets criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Since we are celebrating autism awareness day, I thought it was a perfect day to share why I feel immensely grateful that we found the person who helps us take care of our son. Our caretaker has high functioning autism. She has been a blessing and I am sharing below the reasons why we feel we have been very fortunate we found her (and honestly, this is just top of my mind. I´m sure if I took a bit longer-which I can´t because the kids are on Easter school break!- I could come up with a few more)
6 Reasons why I feel fortunate we found our caretaker who is on the autism spectrum
- She understands how our son feels better than we do. We can all rationally understand and empathize with how somebody is feeling. But nothing compares to the level of understanding and insight that comes from experiencing those same situations. So, if my son bangs his head out of frustration, I can analyse the situation that triggered that reaction. But I’ve never felt that way myself. My caretaker has felt that need in specific situations, and she is just able to control it. She can feel what he feels, and relate to him in a way I probably will never do.
- She always has interesting insights on situations that are new to our family and that we experience as our son shows new responses or starts a new behaviour.
- She often comes up with specific tips or finds resources that our son may benefit from. For example, a few months back our son went through a phase in which he needed to bite or chew things. She suggested the possibility of a sensory need to chew and found an online supplier for the type of product he needed at that time.
- She has mastered the art of “not reacting”. She always keeps her cool and is able to talk to our son in a calm and serene way in situations when it would be easy to show annoyance or irritation.
- She has helped our daughter start a friendship with another girl who is a sibling to a kid with autism. I’m sure once she is a bit older she will find it extremely useful to be able to share how she feels with somebody in a similar situation
- I always feel she goes the extra mile trying to help us with our son. Thinking of games he may enjoy, browsing online for causes to symptoms or issues that arise, bringing stuff she feels our kids may enjoy (we went through a phase of doing baths with coloured water!). She has made working with kids on the spectrum her “mission” and devotes herself to them wholeheartedly.
Happy autism spectrum awareness day to everybody!