Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand "them".

Okay I edited that last bit from the AA webpage as some of us believe in a non-gender-specific deity.

This is a tricky one for a control freak like myself. And yes control freakery is definitely "in the spectrum" as we cannot tolerate anything outside of what we think is the way things should be done.

But, as I said in my post Excuse Me I think you dropped something.. trying to control everything can mean you get things wrong sometimes, but everyone is too frightened of you to tell you.

So yes, you do have to turn some of your will over to relevant experts and follow what they suggest. Not just folks in white coats with clip boards and degrees, but folks who have gone before you and tripped over; and are telling you to watch out for that pitfall as you pass by now.

However, becoming a special parent isn't like joining a cult or the marines. You should not have to be broken down to a quivering mess, and then re-built.

A lot of the good old fashioned parenting common sense that you might have picked up from your other kids (if you have them) will do for this child too.

If this is your first child, then a lot of the stuff you learned pre-children, maybe in your work or maybe from your experience with cousins, nieces and nephews will be useful. Or it may be what you learned babysitting the kids up the road until 3am for $20 bucks and a ride home with the well pizzled Dad.

All that can be brought to the table here and used most effectively.

It's just that you may have to bend things a little and change what might have worked, to something that others have learned will work better.

You might even have to back off and let others do a little bit of the work for you; and learn from them or even
(oh dear god)
concede that others are actually better at this bit than you are.

But no, we do not need to turn our lives over to the non-gender specific deity. Maintaining a sense of your self and your own ideal of what you wanted your family to be like is good too.

Because this isn't the six million dollar man project. You are not lying in bits in a theoretical field with all your previously effective parenting and life skills scattered around you after a bad parachute landing.

Okay, it could help to be the Bionic Woman, especially when you have a 9 year old bolting down the street with the old guy in the end house about to reverse out of his driveway without looking in his mirrors.

*Chu chu chu chu chu chu noise*

Hammie Somers grabs Bratty and pulls her to safety just before the 1983 Cortina slides across the footpath where Bratty was skipping only seconds before....

(I actually used to pretend to be Jamie Sommers everytime I got new sneakers, but then I grew up in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and there wasn't much else to do)

So no, you do not have to strip back all your previous skills and ability to become a special needs parent. You can maintain your will over what kind of life you had set out to have, but you will have to accept some adaptations, and yes, discover your own particular bionic powers, while conceding some weaknesses.

In the past (the long past) parents were considered powerless in the face of disabilities and a child with severe needs would be taken away to be cared for by the church usually, or some other benevolent body, while you were left to concentrate on the next child who came along.

Then, when that system was found to be somewhat lacking and people began exposing the failings of these state sponsored but patron run services, we had to take all of the power and responsibility back.

The dismantling and discrediting of the old style services left a vacuum.
It also left a lot of people with the will to research and perhaps find better ways of dealing with special needs as they now experienced the effects first hand. And so they began to rebuild and create a service they wanted. One where they didn't have to give up their child. One where they could actually find a way to connect with their child, to work with the challenges, to recognise the strengths,
to have a relationship with their child that was equal to any other.

Now that these new services are established, and are being replicated by state bodies, it is tempting once again to offer it up and blindly follow the suggestions of these newly crowned experts. Especially the ones who have been to university for a few years.

And sadly some of these folk will believe in themselves to the extent that they lose respect for you The Parent. And just expect you to do what you are told. Even if it feels wrong.

Don't listen. Sure take the advice, but adapt it. If there is something that is culturally important to you, or that you expect to have as part of family life; push for it to be recognised and included in any intervention.

This might be as simple as expecting a largely non verbal child to say "Thank you"; when the experts tell you this is unnecessary. (I insist on it, people are delighted to hear it and are much more friendly as a result)

Or as important as observing a religious obligation that includes you in your community.

A good therapist or educational professional will always take into account environment when planning programs. Our children do not live in laboratories or theoretically controlled conditions.

If what they are suggesting doesn't work they have to be able to change it to suit you and your lifestyle. Or they are not very good at their job.

It will be a little bit of give and take. There will be days when you will feel like nothing you know is worth Anything. And you might feel like handing over all responsibility to someone else and crawling under a duvet for a rest. (we all have those days, especially after a big Feck up)

But there will also be days when you realise that your efforts are making the difference, when people are actually listening to you and respecting your input and LEARNING from you.

So yes, you do have to give a little bit of your will over, and listen to others, but you do not have to turn over your whole life.

Because your kids will not say thank you for that.
Now for a shoe!
I should, in honor of The Bionic Woman, just put up these 1990 Converse All Star's with the high base as they sure help me to run after escapee children, while supporting my lower back.


Us six million dollar special mums know that to look good is just as important to our inner strength.
So I bring you these.

Once again compliments of the Trinity Hospice Shop in Bayswater W2.
But this time from the Shoe Tub!
And I felt like Cinderella as I fished each one out and put them on.
A bit of a squeeze but after a week in the stretchers they fit lovely with a fine sock or tights.

They keep me flat on the ground which is good for stopping and listening. And the pointy toes are useful for kicking arses, when necessary, to remind people to listen to ME.




As a person who very much likes to be in control and does not hand her fate over to anyone I do find some comfort in the Serenity Prayer which is very much a part of the AA program. The prayer is "God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

It sounds to me( I am pretty new to your blog so I don't know your whole story, yet) but that you have had to develop some super-human like skills, a'la Jamie Sommers, as a mother of a child with Autism. Extraordinary needs often give us extraordinary skills and strengths and abilities that we didn't know we had.

Like you say, it is important to have a realistic idea about what we can and cannot do on our own, I guess that is the part of the prayer about having the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Really appreciate you sharing your experience through the lens of the 12 steps. Even though I don't have a child with Autism---as I read your exploration to the steps I am able to see how the step fits and/or doesn't fit in my own struggles. Thought provoking post as always.

Oh, and Jamie Somers never had such cute boots. You could out run her in those boots.;-)
Good post. I'm not sure where I am on the theology of it all yet, though. :]
K.Line said…
Belette: Hammie does indeed have super human skills! Intriguingly, I find there are intriguing similarities in your styles and stances on things. Even though your life situations are quite different, on the surface...

Hammie, I love this (as usual). You know so much. And you have damn good taste in boots!
Elizabeth said…
I love the shoes and the sentiments I read here. Well said, Hammie!

Sometimes I think we all think we have to do things a certain way, rather than the sensible way, or the way that works.

Adaptability is key in any relationship.
Skye said…
Now I'm going to imagine that little chukka chukka sound every time I read anything you write - bionic Hammie!

It really is amazing how much of your insights can be applied to just regular old parenting - after all, many people are hit for six by having a non-special needs child. Get that book deal!
Sister Wolf said…
I love how you reward us with Shoes! It's very behaviorist of you. And it works!
Anonymous said…
Hooray for ass-kicking boots! And for recognizing the difference between trusting others to help, and giving total control to someone who may not fully understand the nuances of your child's personality and behaviors. Well put, as always.
Make Do Style said…
Ah you so could teach Madonna a thing or two! Don't ever give into the 'experts' and I like the bit about control. I'm too much like that but in an ocd way - to ahve things done in order. We all have such differing views and needs, we do need a more flexible state support system, everything is too rigid.

I'm also going to take photos of people on bridges, you might be disappointed though and be glad of your fab boots!
Seeker said…
Loving the boots... I can see you wearing them so flattering :)

You don't need to choose a God, because there's only one. People may call the names they want... it's always the same. A superior force and energie of which we are all made of.
And that force, The Cosmos if you like, I prefer the Universe, don't tell you to do a thing, you're free to do whatever you want, also don't say that you must embrace your pains and resignated.
But everything happens for a reason. And we must think about what we are dealing with in the path to learn. Because we all have our mission. And if we don't achive it we must return again to do it.

I think the empowerment that parents achieve doing things to a better quality of life for their children, I agree with you that, they must not give up from it just because some "expert" says something.
Parents are the ones who know better their children. Of course knowledge is very important, and the parents associations are great ways to share it.
Maybe special skils are necessary, but that's not necessary to give up living. As you say adaptation is the key.
But also don't pretend to control everything....
Wise quote "serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

That's my 2 cents (I learned this just a while ago and I'm loving to say it ;) ) at almost midnight...

A great post as usual my dear.

How are the things with the job? doing fine??Hope so!!!!

Love you much!
Songy said…
It's good to know that all those little things I got to learn come in handy one way or another.

Very nice touch, finishing off a seemingly serious story with a pair of boots!
wow those boots! what a find.
they are great. swashbuckling boots.

so sexy... just like errol flynn.
Sesame said…
You are now amazing me..ur take on these steps is wonderful reading...

but are steps 2 and 3 quite similar...or am i just a mild additional needsaholicl..or am I not admitting to having a problem? am i back to step 1?

I know I never comment on ur shoes n tings cos I avnt a clue...but those boots caught my eye...nice!