H and I collaborated to make these visuals to support H during the TASH conference. He is 16 and I want him to have the freedom of some time away from me and to be self-determining about his needs.
So he and I discussed what he might need to convey, and also my need to know where he is, and this is what we came up with.
Here are some little Conference Support Cards (as a PDF) that you are welcome to copy or use as a springboard for your own support if this is an idea that works for you or someone you are working to support. We put the tiny cards on a split ring so that H can have them on his backpack or his conference lanyard. We also made a larger version on the quiet time card for him to have on the flip side of his lanyard – because it is often when he needs a break – and finds a quiet set of stairs or an alcove somewhere in the lobby that people will attempt to interact with him.
So yes… we are thinking ahead…
And this is what support can look like – at least for H.
It is collaborative and the support actually goes both ways. I will be calmer knowing that H is safe and also that he has a way to communicate with me in times of stress. When I am calmer – he is calmer – it is an interconnectivity thing.
This level of connectivity can work in our favour – when we plan ahead – but I have learned the hard way that it can also be a liability and that we can trigger each other to make a situation more difficult than it needs to have been.
I need to know that H is safe at TASH – and I need to know where he is… and he seems to very often assume that I know where he is. He trusts my anticipatory mind-reading skills… but the thing is… he is trusting a skill I really do not have.
So I am really excited about this… and… well… we’ll let you know how it goes ♥
And… ya know what… this is not perfect!
But the thing is – it doesn’t have to be perfect to be of use or to open up a conversation between us about what we both need.
The hotel we are staying in is a big one – so we have agreed that we will scope out a few comfortable spots ahead of time so that I will be easily able to find H if he is in the lobby.
This one is just plain funny – that’s all 🙂
So much YAY!!
And the freedom and opportunity to be self-determining and honouring of his own needs.
Get ready TASH 2014!! Here we come!!
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2014)