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Helena-Reet: Children’s school holiday and a few words about raising an autistic child

Helena-Reet: Children’s school holiday and a few words about raising an autistic child

NordenBladet – Children’s school holiday has passed quickly. Estella Elisheva (11) has independently travelled to Saaremaa to her „Saare granny”, Ivanka Shoshana (9) was at home. As soon as someone is away from home the longing immediately starts – already before a day goes by I feel that there is something missing. And yet of course, it is necessary that children grow up to be independent and a brief change will do good to everybody. I liked the way Estella packed all her stuff on her own and took a bus all by herself to Saaremaa. And when she returned she claimed to like the days that are planned and scheduled from morning till night (as they are during schooltime or when she is at the other granny’s place) and she claimed to prefer not to rest extensively.

Our days here have been both rainy and shiny. I offered to Ivanka the option of going to the other granny for a change, yet she preferred staying here at home. We went for a walk, raked the leaves in the garden, I cut branches of the bushes and made plans about the garden. I already planted the peppermints, still the strawberry bed is work in progress. These daily things. In the evening we watched cartoons and Ivanka moved her bedclothes to my room for a cuddle.

Ivanka has started ta talk more than earlier and it is making me happy. A few years ago I was afraid she wouldn’t talk at all, but now we „chat” quite a lot. She can read and mostly understands what she is reading, yet she lacks conversation. However, now she has approached me and said: „Mommy has given birth to Ivanka in the year 2008. In 2009 Ivanka was 1 year old.” And then she added: „In 2030 Ivanka will give birth to Louvise and Alex.” It brought tears to my eyes, because watching her grow I have played in my head many scenarios – all but the one where she has children of her own. She has been diagnosed with autism (a severe impairment on paper), yet she has differed from the spectrum scale description from many other autists. She lacks compulsive actions, she has no problem sleeping, she doesn’t avoid certain materials and doesn’t prefer certain colours or clothes, she isn’t aggressive. Also, she not necessarily needs isolation, she is keen on being together with other children, though she knows not how to play with them the games that others often play.

When she was younger then it seemed to me that she lacks empathy, yet when time passes I see it isn’t so. Kindergarten period is the most difficult – then she expressed everything in the fashion of screaming, yet earlier that she would hurl on the floor. All of that is the past now – I can easily take her shopping, take her to the town, do things – she would listen to me and would behave.

Grandmother (my mother) was as brave to take her to various events already at kindergarten age (theatre, concerts) – most of the time it ended leaving in the middle of the event, but it definitely broadened the child’s horizon. I didn’t dare take such big steps. My limit was when I returned from the store with a screaming baby in my arms, and the shopping bag or cart being left behind. It happened every week! But I didn’t want her to remain at home all the time. I still took her shopping with my and then would shop for one thing at a time, since she didn’t like being in the queue. I was told I have not raised my child well enough. Today I am able to spend many hours with her in the shop – she has grown out of this habit. Also, thanks to regular visits to the speech therapist she has learn the alphabet, to write, to read. This alongside the internet has opened to her another world. She spends a lot of time online and I do not restrict that, while she learns a lot via the internet. She has learned to know all the countries of the world, the flags, the capitals, she uses google search and google translate. She understands Estonian as well as English texts, for some reason she is keen on English language videos. She is a competent user of the personal computer. And now finally there is conversation!! She has started to have conversation when playing with the dolls, she answers questions and asks various questions herself.

She certainly isn’t unintelligent, but sometimes she may behave in the manner that might seem surprising to many – mostly this involves doing things that the society’s norms do not allow. The norms, though, have been set based on the average person, but she is not the average person. Actually – who is? Everyone of us has some feature that is outside the norm. Ivanka has taught me more that any school would – she has opened my eyes and rearranged my values, I am grateful for that. She is here to teach me a lesson and help people arround her grow spiritually – she is from the new world, from where the society is heading and what is yet difficut to understand today. I think she is wiser that we realize. Anyway, today I live one day at a time – so far there have been surprises – the positive surprises. Very many things that I imagined would not happen have already happened. She is only 9 years old. Everything is possible. With an autistic child you need to live one day at a time and you must not give up the hope – the child will grow, medical science will advance and we will never know what kind of a plan the ALMIGHTY has with us!

Let these photos illustrate today’s blog post – aren’t these clouds just wonderful? Just like a fairytale!



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