Few of us like it. But none more so than those on the autistic spectrum.
So when Cookie Monster and I began to discuss and plan this move from London into his home our first and primary (perhaps only) concern was PanKwake. In the end even the timing was determined by her needs.
And it paid-off…BIG time.
How do I know?
While she cannot communicate her feelings as clearly as ‘normal’ children, she is pretty straight-forward in other ways. Things like…
- Mommy, do you know why it rains so much in Swansea? Because no place can be perfect.
- Asking a million times what my favorite part of the house is and why…then reminding me if I change my answer even the slightest.
- And my favorite…her new room is not Pink Palace II. It is Pink Paradise. That says it all.
So how did we do it? How did we make this move as easy as possible for a little girl on the autistic spectrum?
First of all, we were blessed that once we decided on the move date we were able to first do a trial run. PanKwake and I spent the entire month of June almost at Cookie’s. We went to several weeks of gymnastics with the local home education group…something we had not been able to find accessible in London. We met the daughter of Cookie’s friend, who is also on the spectrum and into Minecraft. And we bought her this…
The trampoline that we could never have in a tiny London flat. It was delivered before we got there and Cookie and I spent the whole first full day we were back in Swansea putting it up (without a fight…I will have to tell ya’ll about our Couple’s Challenges on a Sensual Saturday sometime).
That month was time well spent.
Of course, it was not easy going back to London to pack and say good-bye to her friends either. Those ever-growing walls of boxes that consumed all her toys and threatened to topple over. But we did our best to include her in that as well. Constantly reassuring her that her toys would be safe. Cookie went through over 300 meters of bubble wrap, goddess knows how much cling film and wrapping paper too trying to protect her precious possessions. For a hoarder…I mean collector…PanKwake did surprisingly well with that all too.
Now the challenge is…fitting it all in. Even though the space here is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much bigger than London somehow or the other it does not seem to fit in her Pink Paradise, the family room and the garden. She just keeps spilling over…all over the house.
But that may be another blog…Organizing Your Autistic Child’s Possession without Inciting a Demonic Possession?
Of course, the goddess blessed us with much better living conditions, more space, wonderful pre-made friends and a great support network. That is partly the luck of the draw, but I believe that planning had something to do with the ease with which she has adjusted to her new environment. And that I owe in large part to Cookie’s magnificent brain.
But even if you cannot afford the luxury of a trial run when moving your child, autistic or not, the internet offers the chance for a virtual visit. Just Google it and the world is at your finger tips. It might not be the same, but it is a bridge…and it sends the clear message to your child that his or her feelings matter to you.
And that is the REAL issue. Control.
Children some times have so little control or say…even over the most important things in their little lives like where they live. It must feel like being a prisoner or a pet…an after-thought.
So making the genuine effort as we did to make them a key part of the process, if not the actual decision, can give them a sense of control. Something that is especially important for those on the spectrum.
So that is how we have managed a relatively smooth transition from one place to another…do you have a story to share? What tips have you found especially useful for making a move easier for children…on the autistic spectrum or not? While I believe this is our last move, your words of wisdom might offer help to others. So please comment and share this post.