Simplistic & so appropriate. Whenever I say 'just be' to myself I think of that expression about taking time to smell the roses that grannies often say & wonder why I do not listen & act?
We are all buzzing around like blue-bummed flies with never ending to-do lists on our minds all day long. When you are a SEN parent and/or carer that to-do list is something quite unreal really, sort of weighted & way more intense with mountains of added unpleasant & emotional paperwork.
All of us suffer from having so much modern day (+ pandemic) anxiety & concern for family on our minds too. Parents in particular become consumed (without even realising it) about the progress or milestones their children are making/reaching & everything else inbetween: how they should be eating; sleeping; performing; behaving; feeling; coping; enjoying; striving etc. When do we ever take a step back & just be? With ourselves, with our children? They & we will be ok (Oh-ka-zazz as Marty in the Madagascar film says).
When interacting with an autistic child it is vital to do just that ... just be. There is no need for social chit chat, formalities, or even eye contact. Simply observe them them, be near them, show without words that you are interested & that you care. Stop worrying about what to do or say or how to approach. And parents, stop stressing over the deep concern. Try to relax, breathe, just be. Be yourself, be near, be present, enjoy, copy, mimic, engage in your own thing but be there with them, have no expectations. They will engage you in their own way & draw you into & share the most incredible world, even if it’s only for a few seconds sometimes, & you will be moved beyond words.
I’m sure others feel pity or concern for the strain that caring for our autistic nonverbal son Henry not only takes on us now as parents but, for the years ahead ie that we will have no retirement & need to care & provide for Henry for his whole life. Personally, I cannot wait for him to be 25 & have this whole attempt at education/independence/stability/puberty stuff done with. I am so excited to have him with us in retirement where we can all JUST BE (health permitting). Being with Henry & living his life the way he likes to live it, is the absolute best. Pure as pure can be, immense pleasure from quiet & nature, never a worry or concern about what people think or what he should or shouldn’t be doing or saying & always living in the present. Bring it on.
So, in short, we’re ALL going to be OK, ok? Don a gorgeous summer t-shirt & remind yourself every day to just be. Be yourself, be kind, stuff what anybody thinks about you or your children & kick that to-do list into touch every now & then. Your purchase will be supporting autism charities. Tick.
T-shirt graphics/print @andfrienddesign