My children wearing their Autism with pride!

Nikita and I have just been to look at Rugby College with the view of finding out if she may be able to attend the Performing Arts Course in September.  We already know it’s a fantastic College and course because three of her sisters have already attended the same college on the same course! 

We met with the lady who handles people with Special Needs who was very helpful and David, the course tutor, came in and joined us as well.  We know David well from Lorie and Mirie being there this year and he is an amazing man who manages to get the very best out of his students as well as being a brilliant performer himself!  He was lovely and asked Nikita if he would have to approach her in the same way he deals with Lorie.  David is very sarcastic and generally people on the spectrum struggle with sarcasm.  Lorie is no different and David learnt very early on with her that he had to wink at her every time he was being sarcastic otherwise she would sit looking distressed and bewildered trying to work out whether he was serious or not.  He’ll need the same strategy with Nikita if she does attend the course!

On our way back to drop her at school we were talking in the car about her autism and how it has affected her over the years.  I reminder her of a lot of things that she had forgotten.  She didn’t remember her first two years at the school when she hardly spoke  to or looked at anyone.  She didn’t remember having the cards on her desk to let the teacher know if she felt ok to be asked questions or whether they should leave her alone.  These along with endless other strategies that the school put into place to help to try and keep her anxiety levels down.

When Nikita gets anxious she either shuts down completely or lashes out physically and verbally.  We were talking in the car about how she doesn’t appear at first to be as autistic as she actually is and she was expressing concern that the college wouldn’t recognise how much help she would actually require on the course.  I admire her strength and self understanding to be able to highlight this as being a concern for her.

I’ve been totally open with the children from young about their autism and how it affects their lives both positively and negatively.  They all understand themselves and Lorie actually introduces herself to people and then immediately adds ‘I’m autistic so forgive me if I make a mistake or seem offensive, I don’t mean it.’  This instantly starts a conversation about autism and within a few sentences she is able to convey to people how she feels and what she struggles with.  A very powerful tool she uses to great effect and Osborn and Pippa have learnt that this strategy works very well for them too.

After our very open conversation this morning I think Nikita has decided it would be a valuable initiative for her to adopt as well.  5 years at Round Oak have helped her to develop a level of confidence I never dreamt she could have so maybe she is now ready to embrace her autism as well and wear it with pride in the same way the others do?

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