There was no leaving the house today. At some point yesterday Jack heard something about the storm coming across the UK. I’m not sure exactly what, but it was a reminder of the importance of being careful what you say around autistic children.
I don’t know if he overheard the weather report or me and Natalie talking about it. Last night Jack wouldn’t go to sleep, because he was worried about the storm. He was sat with his phone on the weather app, continuously reading it off to us . He was under the impression that we were in great danger, because it said “warning” in a big red symbol on the weather map.
We told him that it was fine. The storm wasn’t here yet, and when it is here, we will look after him. He came back downstairs a few times. We just repeated the message, finally some time after 1am he finally fell to sleep.
I was up late today. When I checked on the kids, they were both in Jacks room. The wind had picked up. Nothing major, but stronger than anything Jack and Lily can probably remember. I could tell they were a bit nervous. They were distracted enough playing computer games, so I left them to get breakfast ready.
After breakfast Jack kept getting more and more agitated. Kept saying “I don’t think we can go out” and “I don’t think we can see Mack.” The Sunday routine of going to my parents, and seeing their dog Mack.
I s something Jack really enjoys. So it was clear it was really bothering Jack. He was starting to get short and snappy. He got annoyed with the TV and his phone, knowing what the problem was we sat him down for a talk. With the thought in our minds, be careful what you say.
We told him that we are all staying at home today. We will all be in the house and perfectly safe. Thankfully this reassurance calmed Jack down. The anxiety just seemed to drain away, and he’s not been bothered since. Even watching from the window when the rain and wind really whipped up.
Lily didn’t say much until she started crying in the afternoon. When she said she was scared of the noise of the wind. It was getting loud at times, so it wasn’t surprising she found it difficult. As long as she had someone sat with her, she was alright.
The storm itself would have caused some problems. We don’t have many here. I can’t remember that last time we had anything significant. Even this one hasn’t been too bad, so far. It was another reminder to be careful what you say, and that what Jack and Lily hear they will take literally. He heard the word danger. He then thought he was in immediate danger. It took a lot of convincing to get him to think differently, and even then it’s only because we have stayed in the house.
Be careful what you say
This sort of thing happens a lot, especially with me. I am very bad at not thinking about what I am saying. One example that drives Lily mad is, since I was a kid, and I guess it came from my parents. I have called a persons nose, a beak. Every time I say beak Lily just looks at me funny. Tells me I’m stupid, says it’s a nose not a beak, and then tells me I don’t make sense. I just can’t get out of the habit of saying beak, as much as I try too. To the point it’s annoying me now. Does anyone else have these problems? Or do I just need to get a grip?
Lily is really starting to get very annoyed with it. So I am trying to stop it. But a 30 year habit is not easily broken. Trying to talk so autistic people can not just understand you, but also not become confused is so important. Yet so difficult when you have slang terms, idioms and metaphors engrained in your every day language. The other day I kicked open the living room door, and shouted out “there’s an elephant coming through”. When I looked at Lily she looked completely bewildered. I realised what I had done, as Lily cautiously leaned over to look through the doorway. She then turned back to me looking confused and said “Where?” So I was explaining myself again.
Their is an autistic author called Michael Barton. He wrote a very good book called, It’s raining cats and dogs. Which I found helped me understand the difference between how I hear things, and how the completely logical mind of Jack and Lily hear things. It’s so important to be careful what you say, as confusion isn’t good for anybody. Like I said. I’m still not perfect, but as with everything when you are bringing up autistic children. I am always trying to learn, and always trying to get better.