Monday, 8 February 2010

Autism - my son's visit

Colm visited us on Friday at midday, as arranged.  Collette and baby Lucas were here too.

I had several very urgent matters to attend to in my business...but I thought, hell, family is more important, so I took most of the day off.

Colm seemed to be good form and decided he wanted to stay until 7 pm, after dinner.  After briefly chatting to us and telling me that he wanted to phone his mother (so it wasn't just a flash in the pan),  he went into the kitchen to be by himself and to watch tv.  He likes his own company.   I tried to contact his mother, but there was no answer.  Colm didn't appear to be too worried by this - it's rare for his mum to answer the phone when we ring.  He went back to watching tv and eating everything in the house.

Around 4 pm, as Collette was getting ready to go home, Colm's (and Collette's) mother rang us.  Colm was overjoyed.

During the ensuing conversation, Colm's mum arranged to meet him when she comes to see her grandson, sometime in March.  She's going to take him on a shopping trip.

Uh-oh...  Shopping trips with mum are always trouble.

Colm handed me the phone.  "Mum tell you come March" he informed me, which meant that his mother wanted to explain to me about her forthcoming visit.  I was relieved to learn that she hadn't given Colm a firm date for her visit.  And no, she didn't want to talk to Collette just now.  

Colm always communicates using truncated sentences.  You get used to them after a while.  Makes you realise just how few words you really need to convey information.  

After the call ended, Colm asked Collette to take him back home.  My house is, he informed me, "wee bit boring".  I like it when Colm wants to go home.  It means that he's happy there.  It wasn't always like that...

Colm has been more relaxed since his visit home.  He is apprehensive about seeing his mum, but I told him that it wouldn't happen until the end of March or April.  If he's given a fixed date, he obsesses about it and, close to the time, has the worst anticipatory anxiety you can imagine.  I can easily persuade his mother not to take him on a shopping trip - they always end in disaster - she can take him to McDonald's instead.  That will please him and it's a much less threatening environment.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Collette later told me that, despite offering her the use of her spare room, her mother's visit is only going to be a day trip.  So she's not going to be the doting grandmother, then...  The photos which follow show what she's missing at the moment.


Em said...

your little grandson is gorgeous. so sweet.

its good you handle colm in a way that gives him as least stress as possible. im sure you have learnt alot over the years. good on you for listening and procceding in the best way possible for your son.xx

Robert said...

Em - I can take all the compliments I'm given about little Lucas! You're right - I have learned over the years, by trial and error, how to help Colm manage his anxiety. I do what I can for Colm - he has as much right to a happy life as anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

I couldn't agree more about truncated sentances. I am of the type how gets very agitated when someone takes a long time to get to the point. Straight to the point does me fine.

So glad all went well with Colm's visit and I hope his mum's visit goes well too when it comes around. It must give him a lot of peace to know he can come and go as he pleases at your home. He's a lucky boy to have such good family around him.

The photos of baby Lucas are great. He looks a wee smasher. It is good to see him looking so well and cheery.

All the best


Nota Bene said...

I rather like Colm's way of speaking - straightforward, straight to the point...we could all learn from that...nice pics too...

Robert said...

Nechtan - Sometimes Colm's sentences are so truncated that I have to take a moment or two to work out what he's trying to tell me! Like you, I get impatient with long-winded people. I want to finish their sentences, but I don't of course, in case I offend them.

Colm is lucky with his family. I don't mean lucky to have me - he is extremely lucky to have such caring siblings. Siblings who keep in contact with him and take him out fairly often. His social workers and carers over the years have told me that this is rare. Usually it's just parents (actually, more often than not, just mothers, I'm ashamed to say) who maintain contact.

Lucas's photos were taken by Collette. He doesn't smile often yet, so it's a hell of a big rush to take the pic before the smile disappears! It's a pity that you're not around to take a decent photo ;(

Robert said...

NB - I'm a big fan of straightforward talk, too. Also, autistic people never lie (unless taught to do so), so you always know where you are with them. It's something that the rest of us should learn from them, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

And she sure is missing a lot; it's good to hear that Colm is settled in his home, always a huge weight off the mind for a doting parent like yourself.

CJ xx

Robert said...

CJ - I am so lucky that I found Colm a good home! For the first time since he stopped living with me, I can relax and have no guilt!