Sunday 24 November 2013

To Attend Or Not Attend: That Is The Question

In a few weeks, Nathan's drama group will be putting on the play they've been working on.  It's a thrilling tale about missing rainbows and a mean dragon.  Don't miss it, I'm sure it will be on Broadway soon.

Now comes the dilemma part.  Should Alex be forced to come to the play?  This is always a tricky question for our family.  On the one hand, I feel he should come and support his brother.  That's part of what a family does and Alex shouldn't get an exemption because his autism is more severe. 

On the other hand, if Alex comes and is in a bad mood, he will scream and fight and disrupt everything.  That is not fair to Nathan.  He's worked hard on his part and should be the center of undivided attention from his portion of the audience.

Helen Keller said that handicaps were no excuse for bad behaviour.  I agree with that statement which is why I've always pushed Alex and Nathan to behave properly.  Sometimes they need more support to achieve the same goals, but the expectation is always there.  But at the same time, I do try and recognize when something is not yet in their skill set.  As much as Alex understands he is not supposed to take toys from other children, if he sees a toy that he really wants, he'll take it.  It's an impulse he hasn't yet learned to control (not an uncontrollable impulse though, which implies he can never be expected to learn).  My solution is to make sure Alex usually has toys of his own to fidget with, which greatly decreases the chances of him wanting another one.

I haven't quite decided how to manage this.  I also don't want to take away from Nathan's support base by having me or Dave have to stay home (especially me).  Our usual sitters are either coming to the play or out of town, so it doesn't seem fair to ask them either.

My gut instinct on this is that I should try to have Alex attend but have someone ready to whisk him away if he's disruptive.  The logistics of that are trickier and we could end up with the worst parts of both scenarios.  But I really do feel that it is important for Alex to act as part of the family sometimes rather than being continuously exiled.

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