Sometimes even point-blank critics.
I know he’s noisy. Speaks too loud. Asks too many questions. Comments incessantly.
If only you knew of the many things going on inside that cute head of his. Thoughts after thoughts after thoughts. Flashing by with the speed of light. Some days worse than others. He can’t shut them down or even slow them, down no matter how hard he tries.
And I know he wanders around. Sometimes aimlessly. Touches things (he knows some are absolutely forbidden, but on his worst days, he couldn’t help but try anyway). He laughs out loud for ungodly reasons. He’s impulsive. Rigid. Irritable. Easily loses his temper and throws one too many fits. Nags endlessly. You’d get tired out just reading about it.
If only you knew what he feels in his arms and legs that forces him to squirm and move about. The impulses telling him how he HAD TO touch or smell. The craving for sensory inputs to help him figure where his hands and feet are or how his body is positioned.
And boy I know how he looks like. Endearing. Sweet. Loveable. So much that if you spend only a short time with him (on his average days), how his mama & papa get all beaten up and frustrated would be far beyond you.
And I know the way we speak to him might seem somewhat terrible.
It’s because we don’t always know if today’s his good, average, or bad day. On good days a normal tone would do. On average days a firm tone, repetition and a pinch of extra patience should do. But on a bad day, a stern tone, repetition and a handful of extra strong patience rarely does it. On an extremely bad day, I can only hope it would quickly pass with me remaining willful to see another day, clinging desperately on dear sanity.
The signs aren’t always clear. A good day can turn into a bad dream in the blink of an eye. An insanely bad day, well, it doesn’t usually turn good... But various things did happen and sometimes we got the mercy of passing a really bad day peacefully and victoriously, where everyone learnt their lessons and accepted each other’s shortcomings.
We frequently and earnestly pray that the days we didn’t pass peacefully nor victoriously, wouldn’t leave too damaging scars.
And we (parents of neuro-atypical children) know that it wasn’t because of bad parenting. Nor lack of discipline or proper training. Nor can it be controlled or subdued. Therapy, diet, medication, are some of the things that might help. Or maybe not.
We just try our best and pray that miracles would happen. That he would outgrow it. Or would function better eventually. Or learns to cope and manages to live with his difficulties. Instead of getting crashed and burnt in the long, long struggles of growing up, developing and maturing.
But I know that you don’t know that. ALL of that. Or any of that.
Because if you do, we probably wouldn’t get judged this much.
With this post I’m hoping that in the future, whenever you encounter any of the above scenes, you would know better what (not) to say or do.