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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lack of qualifications

There are many problems, sorry ‘issues’, associated with autism.

The primary issue is a serious lack of qualifications in parents.

Whilst the averagely pregnant person isn’t qualified for parentdom, neither is the average parent qualified for autism. This mismatch may have a profound impact upon the overall well being of a family.

Whilst there is a lot of hub bub about early intervention for an autistic child, very little is heard about early intervention for the parents. For myself, I can confirm that I was very ill equipped in the autism department. Of all the many useful and fascinating pieces of information I had stored away, very few of them had any relevance to autism.

As we all now know, getting a jump on autism, would be tricky because of the variety pack nature of the condition. There is no point in nipping out to buy many pairs of nail clippers to distribute around your entire house and handbag, if it turns out that your child doesn’t have that kind of autism. Similarly, there is no point in spending your pregnant months on a crash course on speech pathology, if it later turns out that your child doesn’t have that kind of autism. I think that basically, we, the parents, are asking for some streamlining here. What we need is predictability so that we can formulate a plan, to make the future more certain, and adopt routines and campaigns……………..

I think I should have completed one of those multiple choice sheets whilst I was pregnant. One of those papers where you colour in the little preference boxes, to narrow down the field a little. Things that you want in your child. Things that you believe you can cope with.

For myself, I wouldn’t have wanted a mucky kind of a child. I’d much prefer a shiny clean one that sparkles a lot. I’d also want a nice placid one that I could cuddle a lot, a bit like a teddy bear, where everyone would say ‘ah, how cute.’ I wouldn’t wish to spend a lot of time catering to nutritional needs, as that would be so time consuming and tedious. Ideally, it would be nice if they had a hobby, something that was entertaining and perhaps educational.

It’s not a long list, but it’s an important one.

And do you know what? If that had been my list, not that I had an inkling of the life to come, that is exactly what I have, one way or another.


Anonymous said...

I don't think any parent of an autistic child can ever be prepared for what is in store. Even if they are qualified.

Crystal xx

Anonymous said...

As a qualified teacher who (when I was teaching) often came across children with varying degrees of autism, I was once asked the question "But surely you understand this?". Nothing ever prepares you.
Thanks for your insights, Elissa.

Casdok said...

This made me laugh!
Very good!

Jeni said...

"Variety pack" really hits the mark there. One kid may do this, another that - there is no real happy medium most of the time. Just hit at a target area with hopes and prayers that the avenue chosen will work at least for today. Tomorrow, who knows, cause things can also change about very rapidly too.

Linda said...

I've got to wonder how qualified anyone ever is to become a parent as the reality is so much different than what one imagines. It's a tough job as it is and then when you toss in a developmental disability or two, the task becomes even more daunting.

I guess the trick is to be able to change and adjust as your children change and adjust. Then again, what do I know? I've been a parent for over 26 years and still don't know what I'm doing! And fear I ever will!

dgibbs said...

Most the time I feel I'm not qualified to care for my terrier, much less my children. Still I don't know what I would do with out them and their "issues".

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