Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Royal Wedding through the eyes of someone with autism

"Is she going to bed?" Chrissy said when I asked what she thought of Kate Middleton's wedding dress! Chrissy watched the royal wedding highlights with me in the evening & stayed reasonably engaged, cuddling up to me on the settee, throughout. She seems drawn to churches & thinks all priests & religious men in robes are called 'John' because Father John was one of her favourite people at St Elizabeth's, Much Hadham, Herts., a fantastic termly boarding school run by nuns that she attended from age 14-19. She enjoyed going to church at St Elizabeth's when she was calm enough to attend.

I found myself in floods of tears watching Kate Middleton's proud dad walk her up the aisle - it hit me anew that Chrissy would never get the opportunity to marry or fall in love. I have another daughter who has those choices in life but my grief wasn't about me, it was about Chrissy & the opportunities denied to her.

At home here yesterday, Chrissy kept remarking on the sound of bells that rang out from our local church. It was hard to tell whether she enjoyed the sound or found them irritating. Chrissy can't express how she feels. She has a wide vocabulary but much of it is learnt, although she can appear to use relevant phrases, such as 'it's sunny outside.' Trouble is, she sometimes says that when it's raining & overcast. If you check her & ask: 'Is it sunny or raining,' she usually gives the right answer - she just trots out repetitive words & phrases without thinking.

We have solved the bedtime problem touch wood :~) The hospital told me that Chrissy has two pillows there. I tried two at home & she was fine. It's interesting that she didn't realise she needed two pillows to feel comfortable, as she will often ask for two of everything else. Such a simple & easily avoidable misunderstanding that had been causing so much aggro! It is very easy to over-estimate Chrissy's abilities to express her needs because she appears to have better communication skills than she actually has. If we had given Chrissy the choice of one or two pillows, she would have chosen two. We just need to become better detectives I guess.

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