My Daughter Polly: An Actually Autistic Superhero

We’ve been struggling lately, there’s no way to dress it up. The sleep deprivation has been relentless, the Easter holidays were draining, and kindness in my little family was non-existent at points. It’s fair to say that during March I struggled to see the little wins in life, and I certainly wasn’t seeing my beautiful girl as an autistic superhero. 

Our month see-sawed from bad to ugly, skipping straight passed good. Then all of a sudden this week, I started feeling much better. It’s as if the fog has been cleared from in front of my eyes, and I can see and think straight again. Between the sessions that hubby and I have been having with our behavioural therapist, and reading articles and books, I’ve come to realise that a lot of the things that make our day to day so grinding are simply bad habits that need to be broken.

three gorgeous monkeysNot your average sibling rivalry

I’ve mentioned before that we have many issues with the way P treats her little brother and sister. She takes out a lot of her frustrations on them, which is completely unfair, and it’s starting to take its toll on them. Clara (4) has become hyper sensitive, and I’ve been wondering whether 2yo Freddy’s sleep regression is because of stress endured during the day.

Enter The “Trickster”

Our therapist suggested giving this other side of Polly’s personality a name, and starting to refer to it as the trickster. That way we can work towards breaking these bad habits, and outsmarting it. Not blaming it, but eventually eradicating the behaviour altogether.

C went out with my friend and her kids for a play date today, and F had a nice long nap, which provided a lovely opportunity for me to spend some one on one time with P. She became sad over her sister not being there, and blurted out “I hate having autism, mama, it makes me do mean things!”

Ignoring the lump in my throat, I hugged her as tightly as I could, and told her that it wasn’t true.

“It’s the trickster that makes you do mean things, darling. Autism makes you a superhero!”

She looked at me puzzled and told me I was being silly. So we went through a little list, and I made her realise that actually, I’m right on this one.

Polly’s actually autistic superhero qualities (to name but a few)

Heightened senses. P has supersonic hearing and the palate of a trained chef. “Does this have rosemary in it mama?” is not your average food conversation with a six year old.

Memory like an elephant. Seriously this kid remembers things that most people have forgotten by the time they’ve finished saying it. She recounts conversations verbatim, and recalls memories from years ago that blow me away on a regular basis.

Relentless persuasion skills. She has an amazing knack of managing to get her own way. Between fiercely knowing what she wants, and remembering all the things we don’t, she makes a wonderful negotiator.

superhero pollyDeep feelings. Flying in the face of outdated autism rhetoric that you hear over and again, P doesn’t lack empathy at all. She sometimes has trouble understanding the situation that she should be empathetic towards at the time, but believe me it’s not that she doesn’t care. If anything she cares too deeply, and takes things to heart that go over most kids heads. If someone is sick she’ll ask me a hundred times if they’re better yet. Even though we hardly saw Hubby’s grand parents, she talks about them all the time and says she misses her Grandpa (who died in October).

Very perceptive. She was emailing her friend the other day, and her friend’s mum has a signature that reads ‘sent from my iPad’; so P typed her reply and at the bottom wrote ‘sent from my computer’. She is constantly trying to figure out how she should behave. There’s an awful lot going on in that little head of hers.

Quite an impressive list of powers, I’m sure you’ll agree. Are you lucky enough to have a little superhero at home?

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