Autistic, Aspergers, ADHD needs etc;
No one can imagine the circumstances of rearing special needs children unless doing so. The slightest change can set them off and the focus is normally on the children not the parents well-being.
These parents are the silent hero’s in this situation bearing the brunt of constant chatter until there is almost no room left for a single thought, sleepless nights, a house that looks like a tornado just went through it daily and so much more.
Imagine living under the strain of constant demands in every aspect of ones life knowing it’s not going to go away and at the end of the day it’s all up to you. Yes very exhausting.
Functioning as a normal adult becomes difficult to do when exhaustion sets in and it’s too bad because one simply must find that extra reserve of energy. Respite whats that? Time to do adults things that don’t get done when you’re the caregiver – such as trips to the dentist. There is not a lot of fun happening; simply care giving, cleaning, schooling in many cases, driving all over the city to appointments and filling out endless forms for the various agencies and so forth just to name a few.
There is all to often not enough support and while society expects these parents to be as well and do as well as most they do so much more than most without as much rest as most – it’s unrealistic.
Certainly the life these parents knew before special needs came along, the things they use to have and do have gone out the door. This group lives a war zone style of existence which can seem unrelenting and they are often forgotten in so many ways just as the condition/s are not easily understood or accepted by main stream society in everyday life. There is no wheel chair, walking stick, guide dog, and so on.
Now add Christchurch.
To the special needs families and children, you have been on my mind and in my heart. I am ringing around to check on what is being done for you so I will do what I can from here. In the mean time this is not a time to go it alone so if you need extra help speak up, tell people and tell them what you need beyond what is already being done. I know the health services are on site and you are all helping each other but I am also fully aware of just how overwhelming taking care of these special kids is 24/7.
This whole situation is beyond the limits of overwhelming and yet the people of Christchurch and their helpers are all so inspiring, so very brave and so very much making us proud. That we get to see what it means to be a kiwi when it comes at such a high price is so very sad. So many hero’s seen by the world, so many unseen. So Mum’s and Dad’s of these special kids this is your moment to be recognised for the hero’s you have always been and to say to you there are people here who know it.
I have spoken to Variety this morning and its good news as my contact had just come out of a meeting dealing with the very issues I had pondered over the last few days – so things are under way. I wont stop and have made other calls.
Having an Aspergers, ADHD child I had thought; what would I (hope) do in earthquake circumstances due to his needs? It’s just a thought but I hope the following helps.
Firstly I would go straight back to basics. I would slow my words right down, Use few and simple instructions, apply hand signals for visual effect, and here is hoping stay calm on the outside.
Once I knew we were safe, using part of the condition I know always gives me the space to process and my son the space to go to where he feels safe when stressed, I would create what he calls “a safe space” for him. This is often a small, quite, darkened not dark space, to go into. I know that seems strange given Earthquake but to these kids its simply security. Yes I would find what ever I could to create this space. The next best thing is being snuggled in a blanket which by now you will we assume all have.
Another thing these children like to do when insecure is play animal such as acting like cats and dogs. I would use anything I could find to make him a tail or ears, even a fur like body (Blanket). Once I knew my son was inside the space happily making his cat sounds, or dog sounds, and playing like this I know (A) he is diverted, (B) where he is and likely to stay. All this giving me time to get my bearings and think about what to do next.
So while all this is just a thought I also thought it might help. Here is the link ADD ADHD ASD in New Zealand
If you are able to use your computer the group members there will I am sure lend a listening ear and even be able to give suggestions that your tired minds may simply have skipped over due to being over whelmed and over loaded.
God Bless you all