I am sure I am not alone in these feelings, whether you are a parent or care giver of neurotypical children or children on the autism spectrum or other additional needs.
As a follow on to an earlier post, I find myself still questioning how Sensory Processing Disorder works. Socks and shoes are still an ongoing issue and days at school are hit and miss for attendance. Soccer training and attendance and playing a Saturday game are also hit an miss.
Today, Mr 12 went to school in slippers. At school he went to change to socks and shoes to enter the hall for roll call. Thankfully, Learning Support had phoned and said we could go straight there. At this point, his socks were on his feet but it was hurting his big toe. I sat with him for approximately forty five minutes and helped him with his math booklet as he did not want me to leave. In the afternoon, a call from learning support had ensured me that his day had gone well. He had put socks and shoes on to attend a lesson and then kept them on for the rest of the day so he would be ready for soccer training tonight. Mr 12 did indeed attend soccer training and stayed and participated for the whole time. Today was a success and I have absolutely no idea how that happened!
Now let’s go back to the weekend where we did indeed manage to get to the game with plenty of time to get socks, shin pads and boots on. And here is where things went downhill at a fast pace. Firstly, the shin pads went on fine but that was where the good going stopped. The soccer socks were next and no matter how much pulling, adjusting, holding tight to get boots on, nothing was right. The socks didn’t feel right as they were no tight enough, they were too tight, they were too loose once in boots, they were too tight when I held the pulled tight sock to then get his foot in the boot. Boots were kicked off. I asked for permission from a club executive for him to play in joggers. I explained his autism and sensory processing disorder. The answer was, whatever it takes to get him playing. Unfortunately, that was not going to be enough to get Mr 12 to try and get shoes on his feet. By now, he was well and truly upset that his feet were not co-operating and he was frustrated. No matter what I tried, I failed. I was failing my boy miserably because I did not know how to help him. By now he wanted to go home. I tried a few more suggestions, but he curled up on the bench and covered his face. He was crying! I also wanted to cry. I have no idea how to help him. The visit to the podiatrist had not provided any workable solutions. We had to cancel our second visit to the occupational therapist as he was sick. We have another appointment for Occupational Therapy. We also have a consult with a Behaviour Therapist. But there and then, at the soccer field, I felt like a total failure as a mother as I have not been able to help my boy and there seems to be no answers nor an end in sight!
As I went to the team manger to return his team shirt, I turned around to go back to Mr 12, crying on the bench, to find him coming out to the team bench were the subs sit. He was welcomed by the manager and the coach. The coach gave him his watch and the job of timing the minutes for the subs to swap. Coach explained how the watch worked and Mr 12 was now involved with his team. He joined in team discussion and fruit and half time and then continued time keeping for second half. At the end of the game, coach told him to go shake the hands of the other team players as he is part of the team. I’m happy and relieved he is engaged with his team and heart broken that he is not playing a game he has loved. I am very thankful for a coach that is encouraging him and making the effort to keep him engaged.
I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What will be the secret formula that will engage him to attend school? Will he be super sensitive tomorrow as he has spent so many hours in socks and shoes today? This is something I have not taken notice of before! As I write, this comes to mind, monitor the time he is in shoes.
I know I am a good mum. I know I am not perfect but I try my hardest to do what is best for my children and in particular for my boys, whom are still living at home, and will be for some time yet.