I posted a photo of a small blue vase yesterday for Silent Sunday and it prompted me to think (in the wee small hours of this morning) about just what people who saw it might have thought about the picture.
My main reason for the photo was to pay tribute in my own way to a lovely man who will be sorely missed by his family and friends – my husband’s Uncle Stanley – who died suddenly on Friday. Stanley was an architect by trade, and a very successful one, and then after having sold his practice he started to get a tad bored so his partner suggested he take up a hobby. Stanley chose to make a few pots, found he liked it and just kept going. He ended up selling numerous pots for a decent sum of money and being the owner of a pot made by Stanley was apparently the “in thing” in certain circles. As family we are lucky enough to have been given not one, but two pots, one is the blue one pictured here:-
and the other he gave to my eldest daughter when she was very small.
Last night’s musings were not about Uncle Stanley though, but rather about M, my wee autism princess. I was mentally comparing her with the vase. Not in a “my daughter is made of blue china” way obviously, but in a “she’s beautiful, a one-off and generally quite blue” way. Poor M does struggle so much, especially with her sensory issues, but looking at her no-one would ever guess. That’s the hard part about autism, it’s invisibility, If M has a sensory overload when we’re out and about and has a meltdown, or bolts, I have witnessed the disapproving looks from passers-by who presumably think she could “do with a good slap” (as I have actually overheard on one occasion) or other forms of discipline. It doesn’t help that at the tender age of 6 she is already wearing age 9-10 clothes as she is so tall. Now personally I couldn’t give a stuff about other people’s opinions of my parenting – I am finally after nearly 18 years practice secure about my capabilities as a parent – but I do worry that this kind of attitude is going to affect M as she grows. She already has very poor self-esteem, how do I protect her from the worst of the ignorance but at the same time give her the freedom to develop into who she will become, an adult with autism? Unless the NT world allows itself to be more open and understanding she could be in for a rough ride.
Anyway, that was what was keeping me awake at 4 am this morning, so I thought I’d write it down here. I am not expecting answers, I am sure, with time, that they will become apparent as I take another of my children with autism through the jungle of childhood and into adolescence. But I have decided to place Stanley’s blue vase somewhere more prominent to keep me thinking.
I will leave you with a picture of M taken just now, happily having a fairly good day in spite of struggling with hyper-sensitivity this morning.