autism is for life. For us parents and families. There is a comfortable gap in time when you ( parent and child) seem to have maneuvered a transition to new school, but don’t relax too long.

life is full of NEW situations – at each age range you reach – autistic or NOT! We have learned so much from every new situation… but here, at this stage, the learning doesn’t always want to be UPDATED…after all he is a TEENAGER….

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and just when a parent feels they can take a breath, as their child is settled after “transitioning” from primary to secondary school, they have a TEENAGED CHILD.

not just a teenager, with all the normal aging potholes of acne, hormones, grumpiness and mood-swings, peer pressure but one with ASPERGERS too.

I found it was amazing how year 11, was more difficult than year 8.

Tests were now called :

  • coursework
  • controlled assessments
  • timed assessments
  • listening tests
  • word counting assignments.
  • all with their own sets of rules

and then some subjects weren’t “modular” so they were homework which seemed much less “important”.

This is when you are discussing them with a child who has learned a lot about life, and who struggles with change while trying not to appear confused as they have been so confident of the last years.

Socialising and friends at aged 4, 5…was a huge challenge. And here aged 16 it is again. it is simply different now.

your child has to now negotiate the lovely people who all hit their teens:

  • the minefield of many of his friends also having mood swings – teenagers entitlement!
  • him wondering what he did to cause it?
  • the “rules” of social media
  • the subtle way to recognise popularity as opposed to peer pressure
  • and the mixed girl-boy arena – where confidence and a lot of preparation with your child is back to you.
  • There is also the fact that your “social life” encounters more than the form class  and safety of close friends who were taught about “aspergers” so you cannot avoid clashes with people who are NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD so you get treated as miserably as they treat others. That’s tough……all over again!!

The long forgotten “single-mindedness” and “one-way system” of the child who saw only black and white returns, but it appears in a new form….and i don’t need help…. (for instance F would not let me see one page of his revision, or negotiate his study time- he felt he HAD IT!)…”i got this” whatever way it was….when you can see the layers of complications building up to a new variant of a crisis/meltdown.

So it is back to TALKING. Now the child who had to learn idioms, sarcasm. turn taking in dialogue, and not to believe literally, has to negotiate the “like” on a picture which means so many things to those in the picture- NEVER has a child had so many “what-iffs” to think about…obviously some in hindsight . Vocabulary is not enough to keep them safe. Explaining to him/her that they must remember their aspergers makes them think inflexibly, not always safely. That snapchat is not the way to try to findout why your friend is upset….

We had a few episodes of sickness….which when we pared back…was swamped in some bits and avoiding others in other-words TIME is still a challenge, in a new way!

autism is for life.

for ALL of life.

but your child HAS autism, he is NOT AUTISM!

you never run out of “new situations” to cause new learning and unravelling.

your Autism if you try to outgrow it, will be a bigger problem than understanding the challenges you grow up and face.

As Fionn’s mum, I Love how he is growing up, managing life. but i won’t be far away and trying to be ahead of a crisis .

That’s where am sure many of you will be too. Helen x

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