My daughter enjoys a play date at someone else’s house. The boys and I wait in the waiting room. We are always the last appointment of the day, a huge consideration for the doctor. His daughter, now an adult, is also on the spectrum. He is patient, gives choices, speaks simply and clearly. He is swift and gently firm. I expect he is similarly professional with all his patients, but I can’t help feeling that he gives a little more with mine.
We are alone. The sniveling heap is curled up on my lap, turtle style, all 72 pounds of him. I stroke his back and try not to count his xylophone vertebrae. His little brother does his best rendition of ‘waiting.’ He knows what is to follow. The screams may not be as loud as his own, but he’s not used to the competition. His coping mechanism is to sit briefly on the wooden bench and then fall off onto the carpet covered concrete floor. He does this about four times in every minute, with an accompanying ‘ooof!’ We take our proprioceptive input where we may. The oral fixations are in full flood too. He slips two fingers in and out of his mouth, interspersed with raspberry noises and ‘where is the bathroom! where is the bathroom! where is the bathroom!’ This ritual speeds up the longer we wait, but he remains in the room so I am more than satisfied. I am in the habit of giving them free reign when it comes to coping mechanisms, as then I can learn, then I may be able to modify and adapt.
The outer door opens and a woman with three children enter. Each sits down in silence. One reads a book, one plays with electronics and the little one, the toddler sits on her mother’s lap. My lapster doesn’t look up. The little sucker continues and pays no heed to the other people, as he’s already on sensory overload.
Mercifully the nurse comes to call his name.
As I stand the other mother steps towards me to touch me lightly on the upper arm, “you know, I watch a show called Supernanny. She’s British too. You know, it might help.” She smiles at me in a knowing manner.