The case for respite by Claire

[advert:mpu]But now as the mother of a largely autistic family, (two out of three of my boys have ASD), I’m learning that togetherness is not always in the best interest of everyone concerned. In fact, it is imperative that at times, individuals take time out from each other.

That’s why for the first time ever, I took the difficult decision to take my middle non- autistic son away for a weekend with my new partner. It was just the three of us, as I left my other two children with their father. We’d never been ‘split up’ for more than a few hours before, let alone a couple of days.

It felt alien at first, just having one of them. Felt a bit like a limb was missing. Or two. Something big not being there any more. I almost had to stop myself from looking around all the time for the missing party members.

It also felt really strange not having to encourage turn-taking, like who gets to sit next to me on the bus, or what we were having for dinner. It felt strange having a one-to-one conversation without having another child butting in and trying to interrupt.

And of course, the quiet. Not only was it quieter in general without the input of two VERY LOUD autistic children, but my neurotypical son was quieter because he at last could be heard – he didn’t need to be in competition with two other bulldozers.

But what I suppose was the most important thing was being able to devote unadulterated attention to the one child in my family who usually attracts the least attention because he is not the disabled one. I was able to make him feel special, when it’s usually his brothers who have the ‘special’ label attached.

Once in a while, it’s good to take time out from our nearest and dearest…for all our benefits.

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