Thursday, March 1, 2012


There is one major quirk about Katie that she gets from me.  She HATES confrontation.  Most people are rather uncomfortable with disputes or arguments, although I have found some people that not only seek them out, but thrive on it.  I have always handled confrontation like a 5 year old, I run the other way.  It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me squirmy, it makes my heart race and it makes me sweat.  I am almost phobic when it comes to confrontations.  I avoid them at any cost, although as a mother, especially a mother of a daughter with Autism, I do have to deal with them often.  Sometimes I just have to put on my big girl pants and face problems head on, and nothing turns me into "mama bear" faster than someone messing with my kids.  But anyone who knows me even a little thinks it is funny how I cower or run and hide when trouble is brewing.

Katie has this same phobia, but when you mix it in with Autism, and shake it up real good, you are in for a real treat.  If my husband and I are having an argument, Katie wants us to stop yelling, and asks if we are getting a divorce.  If she hears me talking loudly on the phone, she wants to know what is going on, and automatically jumps to the worst conclusions like, "someone died". She will hear just parts of conversations and piece them together to try and solve the problems in her head.  You better watch what you say around her also, because she not only hears parts of the conversation, but she repeats them to everyone enough to embarass you.  She doesn't understand sarcasm or exaggeration, so everything you say is taken literally.  She remembers all, and reminds you of all you have ever said. 

The biggest issue caused by Kaite's problem with confrontation is when her sisters are getting in trouble.  She will get right in the middle of the discussion and start yelling and crying, so much that you have to divert your attention to her to calm her down.  This has gotten a little better over the years, but it used to be so bad that we learned to take her sisters in a different room if they were getting in trouble, while diverting her attention so she didn't know what was going on.  Because once Katie starts crying and carrying on, there is no stopping her.  Her teachers at school quickly learned the same lesson, and if another child was acting up, they would take Katie for a walk in the hall until the other child was disciplined or talked to. 

I try to instill in my daughers the importance of family.  At this age, they are at the stage where they hate each other most of the time.  They are all at different phases of their lives, and at this point don't have a lot in common with each other.  When they bicker among themselves, I try to remind them that they will always be sisters, and will always be there for each other.  When Katie upsets them for some reason, I point out that they will never find another who will be more loyal and more passionate about her love for them.  Who else would stage an intervention for you when you are in trouble?  Katie. Who else still loves you even when you steal all her clothes?  Katie.  Who tries to be just like you because she thinks you are so cool?  Katie.  Who else runs interference when your parents are yelling, to divert the attention away from you?  Katie.

There are many things about Autism that are "normal" problems for all parents and children, but when those same problems occur to an Autistic child, the ramifications are so much different.  Sometimes it is for the best, sometimes for the worst.  For Katie, if she is being teased, she doesn't realize it.  That makes it a lot easier on me, because although I have to deal with the bully, I don't have to deal with a child with hurt feelings.  On the other hand, any difficult situation that arises at the same time Katie is tired or hungry, is magnified in drama by a hundred.  One of the biggest things I have learned during my Adventures in Autism, is to watch what I say, for there are always ears listening.

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