Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Married but different

So.... counselling session today, Lucas didn't attend today, usually it's the two of us together, but today it was me and dh.

I think a few comments I passed may just have given the impression that dh and I aren't singing from the same hymnsheet when it comes to how we deal with the Aspieness. I'm all for proactive approaches to help Lucas with his anxiety, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, followed up with interventions at home to help him feel safe about trying new things, and rules for us to follow around stuff that makes him feel unsafe, like having our friends and their kids round to our house. So if people are coming over, we give him 2 days notice, we help him hide his favourite toys, and we check in with him every so often to check he's OK.

DH loves both our kids and would go to hell and back for them. He thinks they are both tiny geniuses. But he won't open a book about Asperger's syndrome, or read an article on the interweb, and he thinks that counselling is the biggest waste of time ever.

The counsellor asked me to bring DH in, so we could discuss the approaches we are using, and put up a united front. He tried! He gave up in the end, and the best that he could do was to get us to agree that I'm into proactive approaches (as above), and DH doesn't object to this. There was no anger, I have stopped nagging him to be more informed about Asperger's, seeing as he is in the minority in this family! I have given  up on him ever really understanding when I talk about this stuff. That's one of the reasons for this blog, the chance to share with people who get it!

One of the biggest payoffs from our counselling sessions has been that it has freed me up from the angst that I feel when Lucas is overwhelmed with anxiety and shuts down. Now that I know what approach I'm using, I can leave him alone to recover when things get too much, and then later on, talk to him about what triggered the anxiety, and how he managed to get over it, and what we can do to fix whatever is bothering him. Sometimes it's fine just to recognise that he's a bit tired and grumpy that day, and agree that we can't be always happy. Before, it used to upset me so much to see him so much, but now I can see it as just a temporary reaction to a particular situation, that will pass, and that we will learn from and move on.

I'm being much more strategic about trips out of the house, I seem to have internalised the new approach, and I'm automatically consulting with him a few days beforehand, negotiating any difficult areas before they occur, where possible, and coming up with a contingency plan for unforeseeable circumstances. This seems to be allowing Lucas to feel safer about going places, he knows that we won't let his anxiety overwhelm him, that we will listen if he's not happy for some reason, and do what we can to fix it.

Maybe this is the beginning of a brave new Lucas, who will be willing to do more things like going to live concerts! He's signed up for cross-country running after school - his first ever extra-curricular activity, something I never thought I'd see.

He even ate bread yesterday, first time in 3 years. Progress is progress!

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