Thursday, February 18, 2010

It seems odd but...

Billy's having a mental health day today.

That's not the odd bit (I hope).

As I type right now, he's out on the trampoline by himself, just chilling. Not jumping, just chatting to himself, rolling about, playing with a small toy tiger.

That's not the odd bit either.

The odd bit is that I'm not freaking out that he's out there by himself. He doesn't even have his wing commander (Scruffy) out there at the moment. Just himself. And it's OK.

A year or so ago, I went to see Tony Attwood talk, and one of the things that really stuck in my head was this... he said, for every hour of social time (school, shopping, park, home chat) kids like Billy (on the spectrum) require an equal hour of self directed time - solo time.

It's taken over a year to get comfortable with that reality. It seems wrong, to let a six year old alone. It takes everything I've got to stop myself from getting in his face and doing... stuff. I've spent so long dragging him out of himself, it feels risky to let him sink back in.

But I know now, that this is not about regression. This is about rejuvenation.

We had to go through the Early Intervention stuff to understand what was happening, to build strategies, to get a framework, to help him find the skills to bust through the 'veil' that forced him to sift dirt through his fingers instead of play with toys.

But that bridge is built now. And no amount of fear will break it down. I'm sure a bunch of other things could, but fear won't.

He grows when he is calm.

In other states, he can experience stuff, he can take stuff in, he can learn things, he can function.

But when he is calm, he can learn.

1 comment:

Mich9 said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Billy's mental health day. I share your fears about leaving your child alone, not engaging him in something every second. But your perspective that Billy is growing and learning when calm is very comforting to me. Do you notice how much you are growing along with Billy, as you put all these thoughts down in "writing"? :)