My granddaughter was born in January 2017 and even though I have a grandson (her brother) who I love so much, there is a bond with Olivia that I can’t describe.
Even though she hasn’t been diagnosed, it is quite clear that she is on the autistic spectrum and it is becoming more obvious the older she gets.
Oscar her brother always wanted to learn, he would sit down and do a jigsaw or shape sorting puzzle and sit whilst a book was read, Olivia is like a fart in an astronauts suit (as my dad would say) and won’t sit and engage in an activity.
I won’t go into detail but the signs that we think point to autism are social interaction and communication when around anyone except for her parents and me and my wife. Biting and hitting her brother and herself when frustrated and her total lack of care about being told off and put on time out, she could not give a damn.
And now noise, from the rubbish trucks as they walk her brother to school, the beeps of the till in the supermarket and the little water fountain at the local pool.
She also walks round repeating words, repeating what she has done or is going to do.
It doesn’t bother us, we are not worried or upset about it, it is just a case of trying to adapt to a child who see’s the world differently and reacts to it differently.
Possibly one reason she will come to me a lot of the time is that I am disabled and I am often sat in the same place and so I am a constant, she knows I am there, she knows I likely won’t be moving about or going out and so that constant comforts her?
She chatters away, in fact it is sometimes difficult to keep her quiet, not that we want to but last week my mum came to visit and Olivia instantly went quiet, she froze.
So I called her and she ran at me and clambered up onto my lap and into the corner of the settee behind me and still she wouldn’t even engage with me!
So I put her BaBa which is a knitted blanket she has had since birth, over our heads and instantly she changed.
She looked at me and smiled and said GaGa, yes I am GaGa, the years of saying I would be Gramps when I had grandchildren has been undone but I now wouldn’t change it.
She was happy and chatty, the blanket brought comfort and security.
My wife sat down beside us and I took the blanket off and my wife spoke to our granddaughter and she didn’t respond, she just sat there awkwardly fiddling with her BaBa and so I put the blanket back on our heads and opened it just a bit so she could see Grandma and she smiled and spoke to my wife.
It does break my heart that she is affected by things that other children don’t worry about and I do worry about her a lot, but also her ways and her reactions make her who she is and oh damn she is so cute!
I am now looking at getting some childrens ear defenders for her, I have read that it can help and will make sure she feels more comfortable when out and about and yet at the same time I worry if it is just a way to highlight her problems?