As I'm sure most of you that read this will know that parenting a toddler has its tough times. There's the fact that your toddler is very mobile therefore is into everything and zooming around the place like Billy Zoom!
From poking their tiny fingers up the dogs nose to trying to get behind the telly to play with the wires......I understand where the saying 'eyes in the back of your head' came from!
So yep its agreed, toddlers are hard work! Having a toddler with additional needs is extra hard work!
I won't lie to you my friends but daily life with toddler DS was tough with a capital 'T'. I had all the usual toddler stuff as mentioned but I also had behaviours that I was unable to identify. This was pre-diagnosis. His 'odd' behaviour was a bit baffling to me. I quickly learnt that things like hoovering, mowing the lawn or putting the food processor on caused DS to cry, scream hysterically and attempt to trash the house!
The tantrums he would have when we walked into a busy supermarket were unbearable, they would be that bad that I thought he was going to burst out of the straps of his pushchair!
Of course, I can now easily identify the reasons for these things but at the time when I knew nothing of autism or sensory overloads I thought that DS was 'playing up' for me.
I don't think I will ever forgive myself for thinking this of him and mostly for not understanding him during this short time.
My confidence as a parent was seriously dented - I must not be doing a good enough job if my child is constantly throwing tantrums, I became more isolated in the house, I could go on and on......no one seemed to understand or have experienced any of this with their children.
The day DS was diagnosed, Daddy and I walked out of the paediatrician's office and we made a pact together there and then, that priority number 1 would be to ensure that DS would be happy. He would receive encouragement to do a task or activity but no pressure. Happiness would be the key and together we agreed that we would do whatever it took to ensure that.
Three years on from that day I think Daddy and I have successfully kept a smile on our little boy's face as people always comment to us how happy he is.
So on the back of this I have volunteered with my local Carers Centre for a pilot scheme called 'Circle of Friends'.
Circle of Friends sounds fantastic, carers are identified that may need some support so maybe their confidence has taken a little bit of a knock, they have become isolated at home, maybe lack friend or family emotional support. They are buddied up with a volunteer who have some things in common to take them out for a coffee, lunch, accompany them to appointments or support groups etc. My only request was to be buddied up with a carer of autism as obviously I have the most experience and knowledge on this. I expect that I will be able to identify with most of her/his emotions as I would of experienced them myself firsthand, therefore I'm hoping that I will be a good support even if that they have to tell me to shut up and stop talking every so often! *P.S ooops...Im such a chatterbox*
*p.p.s..Im sure you hadn't already noticed that, had you? ;)*
I'm just waiting to hear the date for my induction for this but if I can help another struggling parent just like me then I imagine that job satisfaction does not come much better than that xx