A long long time ago, I joined A.A. (Autism Acceptance) and began writing the 12 Steps to Becoming a Special Parent
Go here for Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 and Step 4.
(That's as far as I got. I should also be a member of ADD - A obviously - as my attention wavered at that point and I never got back to it)
This weekend while reflecting on the fact that I still hadn't started my secret project; I realised what it is that has held me back. And how I can again draw on the analogy of A.A. to get over this.
You see, the original A.A. or Alcoholics Anonymous, works on the premise that every member and every sponsor is an Alcoholic. There is no impartial social worker or psychologist standing in judgement over the group.
So everyone who supports you has actually "been there" - to rock bottom and back and now feels able to offer you a hand up in support.
And that is where my little secret comes in.
I have never really felt qualified to put what I write here in print because I don't know how the story "ends". Kids still have autism and still attending 100% specialist school. Household still the epicentre of autism world.
Whereas the formula for these things seems to be:
1. My life was bad Waaaaah!
2. I found out about a Dog, Dolphin, (giving up) Donuts, or a Alternative Wholistic Healer/Shaman/Shyster
3. And my child was "cured/recovered"
4. Write a book about it. Sell millions get on MTV/Oprah and become a world autism celebrity.
Whereas my approach seems to be:
1. Have a pain in the arse day with autism/special needs/or just kids and adolescence generally.
2. Talk to people, read stuff, try stuff; some of which works
3. Have a vaguely better day
4. Have another but slightly different pain in the arse day..
And I always feel that Step 2 and Step 4 disqualifies me. It's not fixed, it's not perfect.
I could be celebrating my new star chart/timer method of getting an 11 year old dressed and in the car by 9.30am - only to find myself on the verge of mental breakdown as the 9 year old wants me to repeat " I Want Nugg" for the 17th time in 2 minutes, while the 11 year old whines and objects everytime she prompts me....
but in the real A.A. - the fact that I can slip backwards at anytime qualifies me as a "sponsor".
Can you see where I'm going with this?