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Not Everything Works for Everyone

July 20, 2019


So today I arsed things up..

I asked my girls what adventure they’d like to go on today.

It’s important as a family that we decide together and we’re all active participants in the decisions made about how we spend our time.

We decided on the forest.

And boy were we excited?!

And a bit anxious, to boot.

A new activity means although we’re excited, the unfamiliarity and change can be scary.

We talked about it, looked at pictures, prepared a picnic lunch together and packed warm clothing into our bags.

It took a while, but we were all smiles.

Until we headed out the door.

One of us became sad. Started crying. Wasn’t happy.

That ‘one of us’ is non speaking.

She was so keen to go, yet once out the door it was a different story.

I wondered if it was about how long we’d taken, whether I’d not explained enough..and then it hit me.

Something I often forget, because this rarely happens, is that not all of us benefit from THAT MUCH preparation.


It’s an important reminder that we are all different and need to move beyond the belief that practical solutions such as timers, routines, social stories etc work for all of us and are the only way.

Sometimes the pictures, the chaos of the excitement and all the talk can actually feed the anxiety.

Sometimes the routine can be received as demand pressure.

And timers..don’t even get me started!

And because we normally just ‘do things’, it’s easy for me to forget that the prep freaks her out.

So, we made our way there and when the anxiety didn’t settle, we changed our plan.

It’s important to be flexible.

It’s imperative NOT to force.

It’s when our children learn we will LISTEN that paves the way for trust and security.

That’s what will help them feel safe enough to try new things at another time.

Forcing them into things does NOT create resilience.

It takes away their choice and destroys trust.

This is challenging when there are other children with expectations to follow plans.

So we went to a beautiful park instead and had a picnic and a play.

We all did what made us comfortable.

And Miss five did what she does best, entertained us with her theatricals.

I know and understand the experience of being highly anxious and not having choice.

It has the potential to traumatise.

It’s important to step outside neuronormative standards and expectations; to get out of the cycle of panicking over our childrens’ futures just because they’re autistic.

I have to remind myself to trust in what is right for our autistic family; and to allow my children to trust in me.
Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways

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