Last night saw me return to my Zumba class after a month break for the summer holidays. My head and feet were all over the place trying to remember the routines again!! Our teacher tends to do different dances each week to mix it up but after a month away it felt like I was a beginner again. I’m far from the best at coordination, but generally I can do the moves in my own way! Last night I kept getting the steps wrong and was frustrated with myself.
Whilst dancing I had a light bulb moment - this could be how my 2 ASD children feel when they are doing simple tasks whether it’s learning to make a bed or remembering they have everything for school. I'm always giving constant reminders - verbally or visually to help them and have to do it week in week out as certain things don't seem to sink in. I consider myself to be patient, but last night made me realise that everyone needs to be more understanding with people with ASD. I know by next week I will get back into the swing of Zumba again. Unfortunately my children may need me to repeat instructions or show them how to do things for weeks, months or years. It’s not their fault, just their brain processing things in a different way. Both our ASD children have an excellent long term memory for detail and our daughter seems to be fortunate to have a photographic memory. If you ask either of them what I just said, they will have no idea or if I tell them to brush their teeth I guarantee it won't be done until I've asked several times then taken them into the bathroom and shown them their toothbrush. All they hear is ‘teeth’ and have no idea what they are meant to do with them.
This has been a reality check and made me appreciate how much effort our ASD children must go through each day to complete simple things that the majority of us take for granted. This week will be a challenge for them both with the return to school tomorrow, but my visual and verbal aids are at the ready.