I've often said, if it weren't for times of issue around school (sensory stressors around bright lights and hallways and crowds and noise, etc., having to get ready in the morning, etc) and chores and lying and stealing and hygiene and responsibility, everything would be fine.
I'm sure many of us have seen someone walk in the door at the end of the day and dump their backpack on the floor or toss their briefcase onto a chair, then flop down on the couch with an exaggerated exhale and a non-relaxed look on their face. They've held it together all day through thick and thin, then they come home and need a place to just relax.
For Chef, frustrations and anxieties are almost always reserved just for home. This is where he can dump everything and know that he will be supported in continuing to learn to dump appropriately. Chef also knows that there is an expectation here for him to continue to learn to use the tools he's been given and trained to use when it comes to anger/stress management. And he also knows that he will be continue to be supported in continued learning and growing to become a contributing member of his family and community.
And unlike the person who can walk in their door and flop then exhale and vent a bit then move on with their evening, Chef's anxieties and frustrations are sometimes delayed or skewed and are communicated through other "behaviours" either in response to something or as a prelude to something he's anticipating.
Aside from all those times (which can sometimes take up the bulk of an entire day or evening or even weekend if there have been issues), Chef and I have a lot of nice moments (good talks while walking, "Mom, would you like some tea?", good talks when driving somewhere, enjoying nature walks, "Mom, there's something over here you could take a picture of", watching videos together, "Yes, Mom", etc., etc., etc.) When Chef is in good space and not in the midst of dealing with issues/behaviours/ consquences, etc., it really is very pleasant being Chef's Mom.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.