My Son With Autism May Never Move Out
There are things in a parent’s life that gets taken for granted, including the fact that their children will grow up, get educated, get jobs and move out.
But I’ve come to terms with the fact my son will probably never leave home.
At the moment, he’s 5 years old, on the autism spectrum, nonverbal and behind in most of his developments. He needs 24/7 support and care. He’s hyposensitive and demands large amounts of physical stimulation to get any form of satisfaction.
Jumping — on beds, on trampolines, on me.
Dancing (mostly by being held and bounced).
Tickling (hard enough to bruise any other child).
Eating (everything from ice cream to mud).
Making loud noises.
He has no concept of personal safety, and this makes the outside world (also the safety of home) a dangerous place. He will try to touch flames, swallow what looks interesting, climb up anything, run and chase something that catches his eye (cats, sweet wrappers, people, etc.). When upset, he will fall to the floor and roll screaming. This has happened on a main road before.
He’s loving to me and his immediate family. He will hold our hands when out and be led safely. He feels comfortable with people he trusts and knows, but he can also take a shine to strangers (this is a bit worrying).
He thrives on routine, and if that routine is broken, chaos will ensue. If his school bus is two minutes late, he will scream and shout and run up and down the lounge, banging himself into walls and windows to show he’s distressed.
All of this and many more incidents have made me and my wife have the discussion: “What will we do if he never improves?”
This was a short and easy question to answer.
We both agree he’s our son, we love him and we will always be there and do what’s needed for him. The thought of putting him into care is something we both are against (even as he grows older and gets stronger). We will just adapt to his needs as they come. We’ve looked and researched as much about autism as we can, but living through it has been more educational than any book can be. And from what we’ve researched, for us, the only conclusion is that he will be better off living with us.
I’ve long since thrown away the ideas of a relaxed retirement and am now planning for how best to serve my son’s needs. I see articles from parents saying how hard it is to let their child go, but I could not see myself doing this. Yes, I know things will get harder, but my stubborn mindset is fixed. I may be overprotective, naive and scared. But that’s how I feel.
I will do anything to keep my family happy. My son’s future is not yet written, and he could take massive leaps forward, but if he doesn’t then I’m ready. I will always be ready. That’s my mantra.
This post originally appeared on Autism From a Dad’s Eye View.