Autism and expectations

Recently Dominic has made so much progress. It is truly wonderful to see. 

When I heard about the accident that happened on The Smiler at Alton Towers, I instantly thought of Dominic. He is a massive thrill seeker and loves going to Alton Towers. Guess which ride is his favourite there? Yep, The Smiler. Rollercoasters are a big deal to Dominic. 

I prepared myself for 3 hours of Dominic talking and asking me questions about The Smiler. I was pleasantly surprised. The conversation went as follows:

Dominic – Did you hear about the accident on The Smiler?

Me – Yes

Dominic – I feel sorry for all those people who were hurt

This conversation astounded me for a number of reasons. Dominic loves to talk about everything and anything to do with his special interests. To show empathy towards people he does not know is a big deal. The fact he had a brief conversation and then changed the subject is also a big step for Dominic. 

As Dominic has got older he has become much more self aware. I know that he was prone to being violent towards others when he was angry as a young child. He would never talk to me about this or indeed anything to do with how he feels. 

This evening Dominic started a conversation about when he went to live with his Dad full time four years ago. At this time, Dominic was extremely volatile. I wish I could have filmed the conversation tonight. He talked about how he used to ‘kick off’ (his words) a lot for his Mum. He gave me some examples – at an aquarium and in the park. He then went on to say that because he kicked off a lot he went to live with his Dad and this was better. Dominic said that he doesn’t kick off anymore but he does get angry still. He gave me a recent example of this in school; he felt angry as another child had hit him and he wanted to hit him back. This is another example of the progress Dominic has made; he now talks to me about what has bothered him in school. 

I talked with him about how everyone gets angry. I said that I have a list on my phone of things that help me when I am angry. This is actually the list I made as a result of a CBT session to help with my anxiety and low moods. I showed Dominic this list and we talked about the things that he could do when he is angry. He then started making his own list on his iPod touch there and then!

We ended the evening seeing Walter at my house. Dominic opens up a lot when he is with Walter. He talked about how he doesn’t like getting homework. This is common with child on the autistic spectrum. School is school; home is home. Homework blurs these lines. Dominic will not even attend after school clubs that he would probably enjoy because of this. Eventually he came up with a solution to the homework problem…to do his homework at my house on Wednesdays!!! 

I love how Dominic continues to exceed my high expectations of him. He constantly gives me hope that he will achieve his full potential. I really hope that I will always be in Dominic’s life in some capacity. A lot of people have said they couldn’t work with children like Dominic. They don’t have the patience and it sounds so selfless are just some of the things I am told. I get a great deal from taking Dominic out; he makes me see the world in a completely different way and I constantly laugh and smile when I am with him.