The Autism House Makeover - A Personal View



 In 1993 MyGuy and i decided to makeover our home.
 It was too small.  We didn't want to move, liked it here, all the usual reasons.
  The makeover sort of grew, because, well, if you do this and you want to do this too, you may as well do it now.
 We added a whole second story.
 Which involved tearing off the roof, and we had to move out for 6 weeks, even though moving out wasn't the original plan.  Then we moved back in and had to hook on to city water, and after we did, the post office told us, oh, by the way, this is unrelated, but you now have a new zip code.
  Yeah.  We didn't move.

 Anyway, my perspective on the program.
Max was two and a half when we moved back in.  One of the kids on the show looked about that age.
 The house they got looked wonderful.  Some aspects we should really incorporate, some we have.  Some i'd just like to have closeby.  It reminded me a lot of what my friend Sharon has been trying to put in place for years.  (For her story see http://sharons.tripod.com/autism/)
   i should say the program is not generally my taste, too emotional, though i was glad to see Temple Grandin.  And i was really happy to see a deserving family helped in such a fanstastic way.

   The part that most affected me, though, was the time when they showed the family the destruction of the old house.
  This is the sort of thing we're always doing to kids on the spectrum and not realizing it.  The oldest kid was visibly upset.  i could see him thinking, I thought these people were our friends.  They sent us to this wonderful place, and now they're destroying our home?
   i couldn''t tell how the younger autistic child was reacting.  He may not have been tuned in at all, but don't count on it.  He may have been more upset than his brother.
   And the parents knew this, but needed to put on their grateful for all you're doing faces.  That they were grateful, i have no doubt.  But they had to know at least one of their kids needed to not see this.
   You see, you and i, the parents and the show people, knew "the end from the beginning," but the kids only saw - what?  Their home being destroyed.

   Like in our own radical makeover.  One day, i was bringing Max home from preschool and decided to stop by and see the progress on the recently-begun project.
  The progress was: the roof was totally torn off.  Our house was standing, with twisted timbers on the ground and plastic tarps over the top.


  And Max lost his maximum smile and blew his roof, so to speak.
  i quickly took photos and LEFT.
  On the way to Papaw's house, i tried to tell him, over the screaming, what was happening, but it was of no use.
    This was no happy camper.
    A few weeks later, when we next visited and he saw there were new walls and STAIRS, could he finally understand. We had the same house as before except better.  He had his own room, and there was new, really soft carpet.




   If i could do it over, i would have just seen the house without bringing Max.
   But like the people doing theshow  house, i had no clue.  They were even taking a lot of care to make things right and special for the family, having just educated themselves about what autism means to a family, an individual.  i was still learning myself, one blow at at time, and i was just combining errands as seemed logical.   i didn't think how this would seem to Max.

  It takes extra effort to see the world in this different, no surprises way. but it's well worth it.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting perspective. I remember when we were redoing our kitchen this past winter and my 3 year old could not understand why papaw was tearing up the house. It is hard for us adults to always think and predict how our children will receive things.

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