Do I expect too much from her? While at the LER last July, I had a great visit with my dear friend Jeanne from A Peaceful Day. We have daughters the same age that love the same things. Her response to a remark I made about Madison being far more work than Logan even with his autism gave me pause. It wasn’t said to be mean or hurtful. She simply spoke truth to me even if it was hard to hear.
Are you expecting too much from her? It’s second nature for me to make accomodations for Logan. If something doesn’t work or is hard for him, I immediately make corrections with nary a thought. I don’t do that for Madison. I expect her to do her lessons, practice dance in addition to attending class , do her chores and be patient with her family. All without complaint and to the best of her ability with minimal help from me. How realistic is that?
Jeanne relayed something she had noticed in her church with a sweet child with Down Syndrome. Everyone , including the parents, expected to make accomodations to make it a success for that child unabashedly. No one made such an assumption for the other children of the family. Why was one child’s success more important? Shouldn’t we make it a priority to make every child feel successful? Why do we automatically assume a child with a disabilty needs help but the other child can do it without assistance?
In the spirit of being real here, I do expect far too much out of her. It’s a habit I am trying to change. She needs the same amount of love and guidance that I give to her brother. I need to invest in making her successful too. Sometimes she does get the short end of the stick. Autism has this crazy nuance of pushing itself to the forefront often. There is nothing I can do about that when it happens. No amount of guilt or reflection will make autism disappear from her life.
What I can do is apply the same principles to her that I do to Logan. Is it developmentally appropriate to expect her to be able to do that? If it isn’t working for her, what can I do to make it work? Is it a character issue that needs to be dealt with or developmentally appropriate? Is she trying to tell me something with her actions?
Listen, she is more work than Logan. She is hitting her developmental milestones on time. When I’m tired , I can let him retreat to his own world to get a break. Not so with her. Her world is the same as my world. I love watching her morph into this independent funny young lady. I just hope she doesn’t lool back at her childhood with memories of never living up to her mom’s expectations. That would be a colossal failure in my book. The line between setting the bar high for her while making it attainable is often blurry. It takes purposeful discernment to see it. May God grant me that discernment on a regular basis.