Friday, January 14, 2011

Planning: Type A, for Autism

"These things plan themselves"

That's what the Scout Master said about the event I was trying to help plan. And as I stood there blinking at his statement and he blinking at me (two very different approaches facing off in almost absolute shock at the different ways we approach the same thing) my mind was reeling under the double realization that 1) I was probably over-thinking things, from his perspective certainly anyway and 2) of course I was over-thinking things! That has become my specialty.

I finally explained, "I just don't approach things that way. I'm just not one to let anything 'plan itself.' "

And isn't that the truth. My son has had two perfectly relaxing days at home and so what do I do? I worry about the transition back to class. What if the teacher is still out? She was out on Tuesday as was the gym teacher. (They played dodge ball!!! Of course he wouldn't participate.) His day was terrible. What if there is a sub again? And so I sent an email to the classroom teacher and his special education teacher. But then I also drove him in and walked him into class. And there was a sub again! His fresh out of school face looked so very green. Aww, this boy-sub is toast. And so I stopped by the Special Education teacher's office. All of this contingency planning mind you because C.S.'s days at home have been so good. Exactly the sort of thing that would cause any mother to spring into action, right?

So it is perhaps a good thing that the event planning I had volunteered for, I was able to pass off to someone else. Turns out, we had a conflict. One of my husband's big openings is that same weekend. I wouldn't miss this once in a lifetime event for the world and so we're taking the whole family to Florida instead. I asked someone to help and they have instead, taken it over. I won't need to do anything at all, any more.

I feel responsible of course. I didn't want to just drop the ball. I had volunteered after all and so I had intended to plan as much as I could. This sort of thing is important to me. And so I had started a month out. I sent emails. I gathered information. And I CC'd the couple who had agreed to plan this together with me on everything. But it became clear, my type of planning skills overwhelmed the system. I would need to let go completely.

Silver Lining: Very soon, I will get to leave all this cold behind and head to the only state in these United that does not have snow on the ground. I will be able to introduce my children to some wonderful experiences. My sister-in-law is joining us — super-sitter care and travel arrangements, of course have been planned as well. And so then, my husband and I will also have the opportunity for a rare and wonderful, spectacular, over-the-top, we-absolutely-deserve-it night out. When it seems hard to let go and let this thing I was going to plan "plan itself," I think of all that and comply. But let me tell you this, if you want to get something done, down to the very detail, with every possible contingency preconceived and accounted for, give it to a busy woman who has tackled Autism. You'll see Type-A in the extreme.


  1. Oh man, we could be twins! On one hand, you have to do a little letting go of the control thing when you have a kid with autism because of the unpredictability...on the other hand, our planning skills and anal-ness do come in handy in putting some order into our crazy lives!

  2. Lynn, you speak the truth! We Autie-Mommies plan ahead to prevent all sorts of outcomes but then must be all flexible when the inevitable happens! Talk about balancing act, eh.


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