- Family and Parenting»
Autism is A Gas
Autism is many things, sometimes even funny.
Our daughter drives us nuts, AND she makes us laugh so hard. I remember the first time she heard us use the phrase 'paper plate'. She laughed so hard. Whoever heard of plates made out of paper? I love seeing the world through her eyes. Read on for ways to use humor to lighten your load. Raising a child with Autism is hard. It takes a lot out of you. But you can find joy in it, and enjoy your child every day.
Probably one of my favorite stories is when she picked something up off the ground and ate it. DH asked her what she just ate. She said in all seriousness, "Reeses piece." Because there was only one.
Find Something to Laugh At Every Day
even if it's not funny!
Moaning in bed, I was recovering from outpatient gall bladder surgery. I heard the pitter patter of stilted feet as my daughter with ASD came running to find me. She found me, and climbed into bed. Her dad came and got her, whispering that mommy needed to rest. I heard her say as he closed the door, "Does Mom have Autism?" It hurt to laugh, but I did anyway.
Our family has been struggling and growing with Autism for seven years now, though we've only known it for what it was for over one year. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out, and sometimes I squeeze my girl so tight because I love her so much. Something that makes me crazy is the repetition. I know she needs it. It soothes her. And she can't help it. But the asking things over and over again...so I made up a little game. My girl knows the answers to these questions she asks repetitively. For example, "Where are we going tomorrow?" If tomorrow is Sunday, then the correct answer is church. And she might ask this same question a dozen times. To break up the monotony and give myself some sanity, I started giving her the wrong answer. "The tax office." You must say it deadpan. No, she doesn't know what the tax office is. But now it is part of our vernacular. When she is really excited about a trip, say, to the beach, then the amount of times she asks escalates. This turns into a very fun game of listing boring places nobody wants to go to. The tax office. The doctor's office. The car place. The tire store. Each time, my daughter laughs harder and harder as the anticipation builds. When will mom say 'the beach'? Surely mom knows we're going to the beach? Doesn't she? The humor reaches a fever pitch. I have to make sure my daughter has gone to the bathroom before I play this game. This is just one example of how we've made the specter of Autism less scary, kind of like the spell, riddikulus, in the Harry Potter books. While it can be exhausting, it is also rewarding to learn that your child has a sense of humor. Then you can all laugh together when you have a particularly hard day.
Books about Autism - Read something that uplifts you
My family has found this title to be indispensable.
We refer to this one again and again.
This is a collection of uplifting essays about families with autism.
Try to Get the Whole Family Involved
Laughing Together Makes it Much More Manageable
Let the other kids in your household be involved in finding the humor in situations.
Once our kids discovered that DD's unique perspective on life could be funny, they made a game of laughing together. They will ask our profoundly autistic daughter questions, never guessing what funny things she might say.
One time I swept little brother's hair up into a crazy mohawk in the tub with shampoo, and I asked DD what she thought. She looked at him for a moment and asked, "Does he have a style?" Her dry comments probably aren't intended to be funny, but they often are.
We try to encourage any and all interactions the siblings have together. Even if she doesn't always welcome that interaction, as long as the kids keep trying, they will occasionally breach that autism divide, and moments of true joy and humor will pervade the brother or sister, and our daughter with autism.
What are things you have done to lighten the mood in your home? Autism is stressful on the whole family.