What if you had a baby – a baby that was so ‘perfect’ that other parents were jealous. A baby that was never demanding, slept through the night, was content to sit and watch the world around him but also enjoyed playing and snuggling. A baby that was so very easy to love all the time.
What if he became a toddler with ‘quirks’ – I know, all toddlers have quirks but what if his were so abundant and so noticeable that even strangers made comments. Yet, those quirks were so familiar – you had them too when you were little, and people made comments then too. You understood those quirks, in fact you could anticipate and prepare for them.
What if he had sensory issues that made some places/activities impossible without meltdowns – sometimes so severe that he curled in a ball and shut down completely. He was done for the day now, might as well just put him to bed and try again tomorrow.
What if your preschooler was so quiet and withdrawn that people wondered if he ever talked – he did, he had a fabulous sense of humor and wonderful conversations when he was in familiar settings with people he knew.
What if your child took ‘slow to warm up’ to a whole new level – taking days, weeks, or even months to adapt to a change or try something new.
What if you secretly worried about what would happen to him when he went to school. There would be so many things there that you knew would be very, very hard for him. You considered homeschooling where he could feel comfortable and’safe’. Yet you decided it was important that he learn to move beyond his comfort zone and going to school was an important step.
What if school proved to be both good and bad – he had some terrific friends who were happy to have him around but there were others that tormented him unrelentingly. Yet, he never complained – quietly independent he doesn’t like to complain or ask for help.
What if he was amazingly kind and gentle wanting nothing more than to have everyone get along, never arguing, always trying to help. Never late. Never needing reminders to clean his room or do his chores. Never asking anyone to do anything for him.
What if some school years were better than others – depending on the teacher. Some were understanding and accommodating while others insisted he comply to their strict regime immediately without hesitation. Yet all made the same comment “He is so smart, but when he has a problem he can’t solve alone he just panics, quits and walks away without telling anyone why or asking for help.”
What if school counselors and Psychologists said we don’t know how to help him and referred him to Psychiatry who said “Anxiety and OCD – maybe medication would help’. But it didn’t – what works is to let him ‘watch’ until he feels comfortable enough to ‘try’ – understanding that some things are still impossible at least on some days.
What if he came so close to finally graduating high school and then crashed and you don’t really know why because he won’t/can’t tell you. Instead he spent a year alone in his room.
What if you tried to find someone to help but most said “He’s an adult now you can’t talk for him he has to call us himself” but you know that is never going to happen. So you give him more responsibilities at home where he is comfortable and he is so wonderfully reliable, and helpful and amazing – you wish others could see it.
What if you finally find someone who says ‘Yes, we’ll try’ and it takes years of appointments and referrals and waiting lists and more referrals and throughout it all he is still quietly persistent – doing what is asked to the best of his abilities without complaining.
What if then they quit – they say “We can’t find a placement for him.” They specialize in connecting workers with jobs and they give up without any further referrals and you’re back at square one and you don’t know what to do.
What if somewhere there is an employer or training program in Winnipeg that is willing to give him a chance. If you know of one can you please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org