Saturday, 12 January 2013
Girls day out!
As part of our efforts to help FD become a little bit more independent and have more life experiences that young girls her age do, we have been trying to encourage friendships for FD. Luckily the learning disability group that supports us has found us the most wonderful volunteer buddy for FD. She is 17 years old, extremely sensible, very friendly and doesn't have a learning disability! She is probably the first proper friend FD has had who does not have special needs. To say she has been a godsend is an understatement. She has brought FD out of her shell in ways I could not and it is a joy to see how FD responds to her. She is the type of person who isn't forcing the friendship. She appears to genuinely enjoy FD's company and is so natural with her.
FD becomes more aware every day that she does not do a lot of the things girls her age normally do. FD had never had a sleepover with other teens until she began respite. Despite initial reservations, this itself has proved to be so successful its hard to imagine not having respite. Yes of course it benefits us all but the positive experiences FD gains from going are so worthwhile. Those who are not educated regarding special needs, and in particular Autism, wrongly assume that our kids don't think about what it means to have a friend or that they don't feel lonely. Of course our kids need to experience friendships and relationships and crave them just as much as any other teenager. They need to experience falling in love, falling out of love, having a best friend and arguing with a friend. We are keen to further broaden FD's experiences of the outside world and we took that first step today. FD had a girls day out..............without me!
She went out shopping with her friend from school, who also has a buddy. Obviously, both buddies accompanied the girls. The preparation required and the anxiety felt beforehand however lead to a mini meltdown. FD was very weepy yesterday (Friday) and so I knew she was anxious about something and the only thing I could think of was the girls day out. My first clue was her dulcet tones screaming, 'I hate you!' FD worries constantly about people bumping into her whilst out in a busy area and hurting her back. She doesn't like crowds. She also worries that she is going to get so tired that she is going to want to come home or is going to need to sit down a lot. And then of course, there is the social aspect of it all. Whilst FD knew everyone concerned, she was meeting them in an environment that was outside of the norm for her.
The morning began with FD refusing to get out of bed and me smiling sweetly and using encouraging tones with her. Actually, every time I left her room I was muttering under my breath like a demented thing as 1 hour before she was due to be collected we were both still in our pyjamas and my hair looked like it had been attacked with a set of car jump leads! Eventually, after a bit of gentle encouragement ('get out of bed or no ipad later.') she eventually made it downstairs for breakfast. Now, breakfast time in our house is not the usual affair everyone else experiences as FD eats her cereal one piece at a time! The will to live was being zapped out of my body as the minutes ticked by!
After a long and drawn out breakfast there was little time for a shower so FD was given a quick squirt of deodorant, face washed, teeth brushed and I'd worry about the grime later! Well, needs must! I eventually got myself dressed after chasing the dog around the garden to retrieve a pair of knickers. Needless to say I didn't wear that pair but I didn't want the window cleaner finding them later! The dog seems to sense when I am in a hurry and uses those times as the perfect opportunity to grab whatever he can and take off outside with it, knowing full well I will have to chase him. I swear its a calculated move on his part!
Anyway, FD was promptly dressed, I managed to find enough time to brush my hair and FD was handed over to her buddy! Anyone normal would have used this as an opportunity to sit down and relax for the 2 1/2 hours of free time I was going to have. Nope not me! I became mummy taxi for Afro Boy to retrieve his broken down car from the garage and then came home and did a bit of housework before making lunch. Then it was back in the car to go get FD and try to get her into the car before she made a comment about the 6ft 7 badly dressed, badly made up transvestite with the wonky wig who was parked beside us! Anyway, hopefully these little trips out will happen every other Saturday which is great! When FD is back to better fitness levels our Saturdays will alternate between horse riding one week and a buddy trip out the next. FD needs this sort of routine.
FD really enjoyed her Girls Day out. She is exhausted after it but was giggly and excited telling me about all the things she and her friends had talked about, all the shops they had been into and a busker who couldn't sing! Apparently. All in all a success. She's currently lying on the sofa close to sleep. The knicker stealing dog is snuggled up behind her knees and all is calm in the jonty household. How long this will last is a mystery. However, I have my Superwoman knickers on (the dog hasn't stolen them yet), and I am prepared for anything!
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Saturday, January 12, 2013