Michael, like most kids with autism, needs to stim. There are many reasons why kids with autism do this, to relax, to relieve frustrations and tensions, and to find their body’s balance in a world that doesn’t jive well with their body. Sometimes he calls swinging on his downstairs swing while making various mouth noises stimming. I was told by one of the counselors at the pool where he takes swimming lessons though, that the mouth noises sound a lot like the “beat boxing” that a lot of the pop stars do today. Justin Timberlake, anyone? 🙂 Regardless of what he calls it or what he does downstairs in the basement or in his room, I know this alone time helps him unwind and find his equilibrium. Then he’s able to come and join me upstairs where we talk and play.
As he gets older, it’s been harder to sometimes find my personal space too when Michael is around. Like most children, Mom has to be at his disposal when he needs her. 🙂 But I find it even more crucial to teach him that I need my personal space even more than ever. And, in some ways, he does get it when I equate it to his need to stim. I tell him I need to go read or write or just be on the couch. I don’t take long, just ten or fifteen minutes and it gives me that balance in my body and mind to be one hundred percent there for Michael as a Mom. On the weekend I’ve been known to go down to my office for writing or alone time. His Dad has explained that you don’t bother Mommy when she is there. If it’s urgent, we knock on the door. He’s getting it, and not feeling left out of the loop anymore. I was worried at first, but see respecting personal space as something mandatory for both of us to do to keep our heads clear and our stress levels low.
Exceptional Moms, how are your children with personal space issues? Do they need a lot of their own personal space and do they respect yours? I truly believe that this is mandatory for both parents and children if respect, calm and balance is to grow in the family relationship. Only when you feel at one with yourself, can you be there in any concrete way for a member in your family, exceptional or not. I encourage you today to forge this personal time for yourself and teach your child to do the same if they are not doing it already. You will not regret the closeness you will feel to one another and how your relationship will change for the better. Until next time.