Joseph started participating in a social group a few weeks ago. This is an opportunity for Joseph to be with other children on the spectrum. It is a safe place to learn, grow and make mistakes without being judged. One of the goals of this group is also for him to have the opportunity to learn to make friends and to keep friends.
This group has been difficult for BOTH of us. While the kids meet with their facilitator the parents have a meeting with a behavioral psychologist. Dr. Boggs is WONDERFUL and I enjoy her immensely. However, just hearing myself say some things has been difficult and listening to other parents talk about their issues at home is hard too. All of this is exhausting to tell you the truth. Each week upon leaving the group I have cried on the way home. I honestly feel as if I am grieving Joseph's diagnosis afresh and anew. I am glad that Joseph is getting the support he needs. He has speech and occuptational therapy. He is now a part of this social group. He meets monthly with a therapist. The real issue is I don't think I'm getting the help I need!!!
What I mean by that is I need to really talk to someone about my feelings towards Joseph, about Joseph for Joseph. Having a child with autism can really take a toll on your family, your mental stability, your relationships in general AND so much more. I really think I need to talk to a counselor about all of this. Nathan and I talk quite frequently about it, but we are on MUCH different pages with the whole issue. We are in agreement when it comes to discipline, etc but emotionally we are obviously two different people.
Social group "making and keeping friends" this is an issue that I have struggled with for the last few years. Some of the people I have known the longest in my life and have shared the most with no longer even call me, text me, email me, respond to my FB posts etc. This brings me much sadness. I am working through these lost relationships/friendships. The good thing though about this is that I know that Joseph more than likely won't experience this kind of pain because he processes friendship differently. In some ways it is a BLESSING that he won't be hurt by people the way that I have been.
The two relationships that I LONG for Joseph to have are a meaningful relationship with his Creator. I pray that he will be able to love the things of the Lord. That he will be able to read, retain and understand His WORD. I desire for Joseph to be truly in love with Jesus and have a heart for Him. I also pray and hope that Joseph will know love for a spouse. I pray that he will experience love, marriage and parenthood. Big dreams for my lil' man, but I serve a BIG GOD!!!
So I don't want Joseph to be "social" just to be "social". I don't expect him to be me...a mouthy, loud at times, center of attention, charismatic kind of person. I just want Joseph to be comfortable in his own skin. I want being around other people to not bring him such anxiety and stress. I pray that he learns to communicate with others effectively and express himself openly, creatively and spontaneously. Once again....BIG STUFF.
Today we geared up for another meeting. We got out in the cold rain and drove to the Huff Center. No one else showed. I was disappointed. Joseph didn't even miss a beat. This meant mommy and Joseph time going to Chick-fil-A for a Sprite and or me a short, de-caf Christmas blend with cream from Starbucks. For you frugal people I spent less on my coffee than on Joseph's small Sprite :-) YEAH ME!!! We did have some really neat conversation in the truck. We took turns on speaking/telling stories, singing and listening to music. It was a good time that I might not have had with Joseph if he had participated in social group. Being in situations like that are taxing for him. So today I had him focused and fresh.
I am blessed to be able to work a crowd AND I am blessed to the mother of a little boy that NEVER WILL BE. Isn't life good????