When quirks are inherited

It’s been a little over a month since we started our in-home services and I have to say, it’s been a real blessing.  We’ve seen Brian start to initiate things like sweeping up his messes and put on his own deodorant.  Transitioning out of the house has already begun to be easier.  Not to mention, that after 12 years of being ON Brian at all times to ensure his safety, I’m now getting a break.  And it feels weird.  But really good.

It didn’t start off so smooth.  We saw an uptick in self-injurious behaviors and also aggression towards our new in-home staff.  He would start crying the second they entered our home and you could honestly feel the anxiety radiating off of him.

Some time in week two, I wrote my dear friend who also has a son on the spectrum, a frenzied message late at night.  I rambled on and on about how I was second-guessing myself and how Brian hated his staff.  I thought maybe I was putting too much on top of his school day (school+in-home support= 11 hours of him “working”). I was so overwhelmed and beside myself that I was making the worst decision and putting Brian through unneeded anxiety.

And then it just cleared up.  He now lights up when he sees them.  He LOVES going out in the community with them.  He’s starting to tease them and play with them like he does with his family members.  In that emotional evening, I was honestly considering pulling the plug.  Before I even gave it a real chance.

And it made me think that Brian and I are too much alike.  Sometimes I joke that he came by a lot of his autism traits naturally.  Things like not liking new experiences.  Wanting to throw in the towel immediately if things are not perfect.  Resistant to change.  Wanting to withdraw all by myself when I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling stressed.  Feeling a tad out-of-control when things don’t go exactly as planned.

The thing is, those symptoms for him are magnified because he doesn’t have coping strategies readily available.  Because he doesn’t have the ability to communicate as easily and freely as the rest of us do.  Because his brain is wired differently than mine.

I need to remember I do have those strategies.  That for the most part, my brain is wired without unnecessary detours and roadblocks.  That I can communicate.

And that I can take a deep breath and allow changes in our lives.

Because sometimes beautiful things come out of those changes.


Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.