As a prelude to two days annual leave, I started to ‘sort out’ stuff yesterday afternoon. A painful experience. Partly because it highlighted my (our?) hoarding tendencies
groan, but also because it made visible the way in which our lives were disrupted/interrupted/put on hold a few months ago. This interruption – still no effective words for this – was apparent through opened but discarded post and other overlooked detritus.
Anyway, one positive to the sort out was finding home movies that had been missing for several years. They’d fallen down the side of the desk where I’m sitting typing this (the darker reaches of sides and behinds that are only explored when annual leave beckons).
I took time out of sorting to graze this footage.
Various things jumped out, including a trim version of Rich *cough cough* and the total cuteness of the kids. And LB’s quirkiness and humour shines. In one scene, he’s jumping up and down with excitement during an Easter egg hunt, completely missing any eggs even when gently guided towards them repeatedly by Rich. In another, he’s sitting eating his tea with Rosie and Tom, wearing a cycle helmet, his ELC police tunic and a pair of googles. Hilarious. Why was this version of him absent from every ‘official’ report/discussion over the years? Looking back, we were completely derailed by a system which delivered so little. I can remember LB and Rosie being filmed by a paediatrician at an assessment centre as tots. She wanted to capture his “non-interaction” and “own world” stuff on film for teaching. Makes me cringe now but in the early days of crash landing into ‘special needs-land’, you invest so much hope in these professionals making your child ‘better’, you do pretty much anything they suggest/ask. Hunter-gatherer diet….? Er, let’s not go there.
Framing ‘learning disability/autism’ as a negative, needing treatment, repair or containment [yes, I know. The irony] rather than engaging with LB (and other dudes like him) as individuals, means that support is pretty much useless. And as I keep saying, support that don’t support, ain’t support.
So what advice would I give my fifteen year ago self?
The dude’s different, and he’s always gonna be. Get over it and get on with enjoying what he brings to the party. Oh, and don’t get too hung up on all those meetings with health and social care professionals. They ain’t as important as you think. Really.