Wow - that must be hard!

Let's face it, we've probably all heard it. 'Wow - that must be hard!' although now and again I have very much heard 'Wow - that must be so rewarding!' both are right, of course. Don't get me wrong, I love working with Autism.

We've all been there, having a discussion with people you've just met or are getting to know and careers comes up. As soon as you say you work in an Autistic School it's like fireworks go off! For sure, I've never met someone who doesn't instantly ask more questions - what it's like, what the children are like, is it hard, is it rewarding, are they loving, do you get attached etc.

To be honest, there's no straight forward answer. As all of us in the Autism world know, there are rewarding days for sure, by gosh there are rewarding seconds when you see a student achieve something that you thought was so impossibly hard for them - yet to an outsider can be something completely normal that they wouldn't even celebrate - but us? We sing, dance, whoop whoop, set off fireworks, have a disco, throw a party, because our child licked a pea.

I'm not even lying folks, the celebrations are real. You wouldn't believe the things we have celebrated over the years - trust me. 

So yes, it's rewarding.

Is it hard? Of course it is! But then, anything worthwhile isn't going to be easy! There are days where you feel like you're about to break down in tears because you've seen a child who could do something, randomly regress, you see them become absolutely traumatised and you can't figure out what it is, or they are in mid-meltdown and you just don't know how you can help them.

Because, let's face it. You can know everything in the World about autism, but there are still going to be those moments where you feel so helpless that you honestly don't know if you can do this anymore - then along comes a little green pea and all of a sudden you remember just how fantastic this can be and how you are helping someone.

Are they loving? I often wonder what people mean by 'they' - they're just children at the end of the day. Yes they struggle with social situations, but they are so loving, I don't think an outsider would fully understand, to anyone else a hard slap across the leg may be a sign of hatred, to one student and their 1:1 this is the biggest sign of care. That is the student's way of communicating and building a relationship.

There are so many myths surrounding the children and it's just so hard to break them, but stand strong. Eye contact - I love hearing 'but autistic children can't hold eye contact', this may be true in some cases, but in other cases i've met children with autism who want nothing more than to have that eye contact with you! To share hugs, want to sit on your lap, it's unbelievable just how loving the children can be considering everything they have going against them.

So, overall, for every bad day, smile, because there are two good days on their way. For every meltdown, just smile, because for every meltdown there will be two more moments of joy headed your way.

And, when you feel all alone like you're the only one going through this, go outside in the dark, look up at the stars and know, that another autism parent/worker is out there, looking at those same stars, thinking the exact same things you're thinking.


1 comment

  1. This is such a beautiful post <3 Something I needed to hear as the beginning of the school year starts to wear my down!! Love your heart for your students!!



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