The Rose is funny. I may have mentioned that? Often not intentionally, but don’t get me wrong. We never laugh at her and she loves the spontaneous eruption of our giggles, and the warmth of the attention that sound signals – it puts her in the spotlight for all the right reasons. Not the ones she’s usually scrutinised for.
She’s no longer a school girl but attends college. She failed to get any qualifications that would be recognised as ‘useful’ but she goes to a ‘normal’ college that holds things like attendance and manners in high regard. The Rose is good at that. Rules and following them and her basic manners she has off pat. Sometimes I even think she knows what they mean. But the standard initial niceties are well learned, soft cushions that buy her some time from the social bumps – before people start to notice she can’t always follow them through.
The Rose went to a main stream school we were lucky (perhaps she wouldn’t think that?) But she wasn’t diagnosed until she was 15 so there was no reason to believe her volcanic temper, obsession with Man United and quirky outlook on life wasn’t usual. Besides she was our fist born – we had no idea what was supposed to happen.
By the time she got to year nine, it was clear she wasn’t happy (and neither were we.) Her boiling, fuming, raging temper and blunt, cold rudeness, ‘fracced’ our natural family gas. And only when I found myself thinking thoughts that don’t belong on a public blog, did I seek help.
School loved her. This kind, polite, quiet individual – they told us she just needed to find her level – and some friends. They didn’t really believe she was such a vixen at home. But she once told a teacher that her brother, Dad and I were in a gang and she was behind a wall of jelly on her own. If only I could have found a spoon.
But I didn’t think about autism. Why would I? She was articulate, reached her development milestones, was adored by my grown up friends – and- maybe kids at secondary school these days don’t invite people to parties? The point being – I had no point of reference; I didn’t know what I should be thinking/doing/asking for. I felt like the worst Mum ever. It was clearly me who was hated and stupid. It was my fault that she was so angry right?
So we went to ‘anger counselling’ – eventually. The Rose was so cross about going we had to delay actually turning up until she was calm enough to go. This took nearly nine months. She’d grown up by a year. The metamorphosis of a 14yr old girl into a 15 year old woman is a change beyond description. Butterflies have it easy!
The Rose managed to turn the opening session into a lascivious flirt with the councillor and delivered a monologue on the ‘hottness’ of the Portuguese Man U players which was so steamy, that if we’d had access to an 0898 number – we could have funded a very long holiday to …. a very expensive hot place!
Their conclusion was – she’s a babe! We knew that. But what next?