Autism: When One Door Closes…

Miriam Gwynne by Miriam Gwynne Additional Needs

Miriam Gwynne

Miriam Gwynne

Full time mum and carer for two truly wonderful autistic twins. I love reading, writing, walking, swimming and encouraging others. Don’t struggle a...

I used to quite like that phrase by the famous Alexander Graham Bell.

It was encouraging when things were a little rough that good times would come soon.

It characterised hope when opportunity seemed to go wrong that something positive would come along soon. It screams out to not dwell on the past but look to the future...

Well at least it USED to mean that!

Nowadays that phrase taunts me as I think about my severely autistic son. If he could understand words he would take that literally...and then he would scream!

Isaac struggles with lots of things in life. He struggles with understanding language, he struggles with speech (he has none) and he struggles with learning just to name a few.

But one of THE biggest things he struggles most with in life is OPEN DOORS.

So if I hear someone say when one door closes another one opens...I want to run. As fast and as far away as I can...and take him with me!

I live in a beautiful street in a quiet area. The houses are predominantly very old with storm double doors and separate inside doors too.

They have lovely little patios where you can put your wet Wellington boots and hang up your soggy coat on an autumn day. So practical and so traditional, yet so loathed by my son.

A few neighbours (well one in particular) loves her storm doors open. I really can't blame her and I have no issue with it personally. But boy does my son have issue with her idea!

He will scream, throw things, bang at the window, point, attack me and self harm the second he sees that door, or any other, open!

This morning I had truly had enough.

He woke at his usual crazy o'clock and sat on his windowsill as the sun rose.

He couldn't care less about the beauty of the sky or the song of the birds, he was just checking all those doors were tight closed!

He would make a fantastic night shift detective or neighbour hood watch campaigner.

He watched and he watched as gradually the street lights went off and house lights went on. I desperately wanted to sleep but he has to be supervised for his safety 24/7 so I had to stay right beside him.

And then it happened. The first person went out to work!

They dared to open a door! He screamed, he thrashed on the floor and the tears fell furiously.

How dare anyone think about having their door open...even just to go out!

The problem in the morning is that many of them have work, or appointments, or school runs. So as one door in the street closes another one opens...and he starts all over again.

So here I was at 6:45am in the street in my slippers and nightgown closing doors quietly on my neighbours houses so that my severely autistic son would stop self harming.

It sure wasn't my finest moment in life and I am sure I looked more than a little crazy.

But then having my son in complete meltdown drives me to crazy things at times.

I am pretty sure this is NOT what Alexander Bell had in mind when he said that famous quote but there you have it.

Thankfully my son has limited understanding and therefore can not grasp the quote yet, even on a literal level.

But just in case he ever won't catch this autism mother saying to anyone anytime soon:

'When one door closes another one opens.'

And if anyone does come to my house and say that, I will reply simply with:

'Close the door behind you please, thank you!'


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