Change is really hard for Olivia, especially when it comes to her room. I'm unable to change out a picture, remove a big item or rearrange furniture without a huge meltdown. Today I went to Target knowing that Olivia needed new sheets. Her Circo Happy Flower fitted sheet is torn in the corner and needed replaced. Unfortunately, those particular sheets can no longer be purchased. So, I bought the closest thing I could find, which of course is still night and day different to Olivia. And I washed them and I put them on her bed. I debated whether doing that or explaining it to her beforehand, but I knew either way would be hard. She spotted her new pillowcase and came out sobbing. She continued sobbing off and on throughout the entire evening and it increased closer to bedtime. Sleeping with different sheets is a huge thing to her. And as her mother, I feel her anxiety whereas some people would become angry and tell her to get over it. That's how the world often responds to those with autism. . .especially to those who appear "just fine" on the outside. Olivia is old enough now that she can explain how change and surprises are very hard for her. She knows most people don't respond the way she does. She doesn't understand why she feels the way she does, but knows herself pretty well. And I've learned right along with her. Without her as my guide, I would not be the mom I am today. She makes me better, more compassionate, more aware. . . I mean, how many other moms know the location of every manual toilet/non-stall bathroom in their surrounding areas? Olivia has a crippling fear of automatic flushing toilets, so I don't just memorize those by choice. It's a necessity.
Anyway, I left the new sheets on, but switched her pillowcase back and let her take her old sheets to bed with her. It will be a tough transition. We went through this a few weeks back with her beloved pajama pants that had gotten a huge hole in them. Baby steps. Baby steps. And understanding. That's all anyone needs. . .is to be understood and accepted for who they are. For those times when change is hard, I feel it is up to me to guide her, very slowly, but in the direction she needs to go. She doesn't just make me a better mom. She makes me a better person.
Jodi- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone