Autism and Moving Homes

Filed Under (autism, Single Parenthood, To Get To The Other Side) by Estee on 10-02-2010

teddy-bearThis post will be brief as I am living in the moment of moving homes. Adam came to our new home today before he goes on a mid-winter break with his dad. His body-jerks have returned and he cries in his new room. “Are you scared,” I ask.

“Are you scared?” he echoes back with then a slight delay. “Scared,” he says forcefully.

We have made numerous visits to the home, but because Adam can understand what he cannot express fluidly with words, he is reacting. It is strange. He knows the move is now imminent. He is experiencing the stress that other children experience. He has experienced so much.

It brings me back to the time when I was six years old and my parents moved homes. I remember when they looked at it, when they purchased it — my dad and I put the “sold” sign on the front yard. So new was the house, the lawn was not yet in and we perched the sign in the dirt. Dad made a big deal out of it, I remember that much. He was proud. It’s amazing what impressions we retain from out childhoods. It wasn’t much longer after that — I returned from a weekend with my grandparents to sleep (all of a sudden) in my new home. I believe there was even a stuffed animal waiting for me in a newly erected brass mailbox by the front door. It was summer. The “welcome committee” was ready to do its job and make me feel right at home. That committee was my parents.

I remember that arrival and how strange it was, but I’ve lost the memory of sleeping there my first night. I’m certain my extremely attentive and loving mother did everything she could to make me feel I was at home. Yet, it didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t ride my bike around the house in my old neighbourhood where a garden was planted and grass was laid and my good pals were gone (I was particularly close to the boys I punched in the stomach — it wasn’t my idea… it was my father’s. He tried to make me into a tough girl and STILL relays that story proudly to anyone who will listen…kind of embarrassing at my age). Nope, they were all gone and all I had was the bike and the dirt for my early introduction. The plumbing still wasn’t working in the block so new, that we had to use the model home down the street to take a pee. Indeed, that was a strange feeling.

My parents are still around and are extremely loving grandparents to my son, not to mention incredibly supportive of their daughter who is now not only a single mother, but also their only-child having another life “adjustment.” Let’s just say that they mean the world to me and I’m certain to Adam. On Monday, when Adam returns home from his break with his dad, those same grandparents will be the welcoming committee to his new home that he will settle into with mom.

Adam is only a year or so older than I was when I made the major move. I try to appreciate how strange this all feels on top of parents who are no longer together. I think of how confusing that must be; how stressful sometimes, and because Adam is autistic, he manifests that stress in physical behaviour. It is the only outlet he has. Even though we are all doing our best to help him along, Adam has been expressing how he feels about the matter.

Expressing boldly without words.

I now play a video I made with Adam’s grand-dad a few years ago. I love the little guy more than words can say. This is a look backwards with gratitude while also hoping the future will bring us both peace.

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About Me


ESTÉE KLAR

I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.