Autism is Beautifully challenging.

Tonight our walk was beautiful, but not without its challenges.

The leaves on the trees were changing colour and dropping to the ground. There is so much beauty in seeing the change in this season and watching the earth prepare for winter.

Spring Side Park, Napanee, Ontario

As Hank and I walked along the path, I could hear the all too familiar sounds of fall. Leaves crunching under my feet, grass being mowed, water rushing down the river and fishermen chatting over salmon running up river.

These sounds so familiar and soothing to some are harsh and new to some. Hank, immediately grabbed for his ears and I knew in that instant ‘mom forgot the headphones’.

The cycle begins, Hank starts stimming to drown-out the busy unfamiliar noises. Humming and whistling familiar Thomas track sounds from YouTube videos that seem to bring him comfort in times of stress.

I instantly felt like a failure, ‘how could you forget the headphones’. We had to try, so we pressed on.

Hank began to enjoy the sensory-seeking feel of walking backwards down the path.

Most passers-by were friendly and warm. One gentleman did a “boo-scare-tactic” that had little to no effect on Mr. Hank. He continued walking backward as if no one said a word. I couldn’t help but chuckle, the man was so proud of his “boo” sound and action.

As soon a Hank wandered onto the boardwalk section, I could feel my heart pound a little faster and there it was – HELLO ANXIETY old friend.

You see, Hank LOVES water.

He is drawn to it.
He craves its sensory.

Only problem, Hank can’t swim.

Hank is often unpredictable around water.

He is fast.

He doesn’t understand reasoning.

‘If you go in the water, you will be all wet and cold’

‘The water is deep, and Hank can’t swim’

Hank has always had a habit of splashing/sitting in EVERY puddle. The where, when or why doesn’t really matter.

We took the boardwalk slow, lots of prompting and first/then coaching moments. Unfortunately there was some blocking of behaviours along the way, thankfully they didn’t last long and were easily redirected.

Not all stories are perfect stories, we have hard times.

I struggle with sharing these hard times, the down right heart wrenching times. It vulnerable, but also not fair to Hank.

To all the exceptional families out there. I see you. πŸ’™

Today was mostly a good day and I’m so thankful for that.

Small progress is still progress.