Last time I was moaning about being so tired. This was mostly prompted by poor M’s out of control behaviour since Monday morning, before, during and after school, which had utterly exhausted me. And I am fairly sure it wasn’t doing much for her either.
Anyway, I had wondered if she was beyond reasoning at the disappearance of her oldest sister to university on the Saturday. It certainly qualified as a big change, but even with weeks of preparation she just wasn’t coping. I decided we had to try a new tack, so I texted E and then we called and set up a video messaging session.
For some reason, although we could hear E, the microphone our end refused to work so I was acting as translator, typing what the kids said at breakneck speed, but to be honest we really didn’t even need to speak. M had been very keen to see her sister and she said she would talk to her (will just explain M rarely speaks to anyone on the phone, immediate family are generally OK but there are no guarantees) so I was a bit concerned when she came in, head down, concentrating on a Nintendo game. Turns out I needn’t have worried. E is as at home in front of a camera as any film star and so natural it was like having her in the room. She even leant forward to “hug” M and B.
And that was the end of the problems. Just like that. Literally as though a switch had been flipped.
Which I guess for a visual communicator it had. All the talk and explanations in the world were not good enough to convince M that E was still around, just a bit further away, and telling her about texts and twitter updates was not cutting it. But a sudden appearance of her beloved big sister in front of her, on a big screen, was enough to trigger a sense of calm.
Of course, had I not been so exhausted from dealing with the screaming, hitting, sobbing and throwing I might have thought about video messaging before Wednesday, but I refuse to feel any guilt this time – I was too tired to think. And now of course we know for next time. Web cams are so cheap these days that I might persuade my parents to buy one so M can “chat” to them on-line, and then just maybe she might not be afraid to talk to them at the same time. I am sure they really feel sad about not speaking to their wee grand-daughter but with the extra help of the pictures it might get her through a conversation.
All the talk of the “triad of impairments” and autism mentions communication, and usually people explain that autistic people can have trouble interpreting visual clues and body language. Some of those same people who have in the past told me my daughter isn’t autistic “because she has eye contact” would be very interested to see how she lights up when her sister smiles at her from 200 miles away.
Just goes to show: when you’ve met one autistic person………..you’ve met one autistic person.