Last night I like most other Autism Mom’s that I know tuned in to watch Fox’s newest show Touch. At first I was not sure how well this show would go over. Single widowed dad, son who can’t speak, throw in a mysterious knowledge of numbers, and a social worker and you have Autism right?? I think this show is all about the mysteriousness of autism that we will never understand. Our kids will never be exactly like your average neurotypical child and in my opinion that’s okay. I am glad this show is for showing people about autism. That being said when it starts again in March I hope the writers make it somewhat more realistic. As a parent with a child on the spectrum I move from one extreme to the next. There maybe days when my son can carry on a complete conversation and other days where all he wants is to spin or jump or run. For my husband, daughter and I that in itself is often a mystery. What drives his body to do things that we can not possibly do? for instance he can spin in circles for 10 to 15 minutes never getting dizzy where as the rest of us are dizzy after 5. He loves to play computer games and often picks ones that are complex and sometimes beyond the level of my husband or I. At times when he chooses he makes his sister the center of his world and focuses only on her and what she wants to do. This is without the dread meltdowns no one wants to hear about. When I ask him to comply with a simple task however you would think I was requesting that he be forced to do hard labor. He does not play well with others so the fact that he does so with his sister is amazing in itself. I am convinced that you will never see the messy side of Autism either. Seriously who wants to think about poop being cleaned up? Certainly not me, but it happens as most who have a child(ren) on the spectrum know.
In fact that is what this post is borne of. See my son as wonderful at expressing himself as he is since he became verbal at age 4, had an accident. He woke me up at 2:45am to tell me he wanted to use his iPad. What he didn’t tell me is that he had had an accident. I somehow fell back asleep after getting up to check on him. At 3:20am I must have heard him again because I got back up. I got up to check on him and walked down the hallway only to step in poop. Yeah it’s nasty, but it happens. After cleaning my foot so not to spread it elsewhere I went to his room. He was awake and hands covered in poop with poop on the wall and I needed to was all bedding. First stop shower, we needed soap and lot’s of it and a washcloth of course. He prefers body poofs. Then a finger nail trim which he can not stand, but I do not want poop lingering under his nails so I insist. What a surprise I have, NO MELTDOWN!!! He lets me trim his nails without a problem. In this house that never happens. Then back to the bathroom for another hand scrubbing just to make sure and tooth brushing also to make sure. Then dressing in pj’s and next a trip to mommy’s bed since all his linens are being washed. Right now as I am writing this he is in my room snuggled up playing Arithmetic Invaders on his iPad. Another mysterious thing about Autism. How a seven year old child can get four hours of sleep sometimes less and stay up for the rest of the day. If I get less than six I am wreck. Yeah I’m a wreck most of the time…
I often worry a lot. Not just about Autism. How Jade is adjusting? When the next seizure for either of them might be? If I made sure I gave every does of medicine and the correct amount? How each child is doing in school? Whether or not they are happy? There’s a lot of worries that keep parents of typical children up at night I can only imagine. Neither of mine are typical however so I am not at all sure what they would be. Probably the same as mine without all the special needs concerns.
They ought to put all of that in a TV show and then some to show what parents really go through. I think the least of anyone’s concerns would be having a brilliant genius child who calculates accidents with certainty and brings people together. I would however be concerned with a Social Worker who tells me my child doesn’t know me. Especially upon her first meeting of said child. When children like mine bond to someone it’s strong and sticks with them. Maybe that’s why they are so carefully guarded in the first place. My son reminds me of things that happened well before he ever even spoke his first word. He was there waiting and watching and never forgetting anything. In a world where people equate intelligence with speaking a child like mine would be forgotten and labeled the dreaded MR (Mentally Retarded) when he is anything but. I have seen some people who speak well that have less knowledge then my son. They are not labeled MR. That portion of the show really got to me. It is for that that I will keep watching most likely. Maybe a TV show will bring understanding. Understanding often comes from the most unlikely source. Only time will tell…..