For many of us on the Autism Spectrum, life is as perilous as walking a tightrope 1000 feet up in the air without a safety net! How much more scary can it be! And to top it all jelibeans are really scaredy cats but many don’t admit it whilst others are risk takers and leave you gasping! To totter along this tightrope requires skill, understanding and someone to keep an eye on us ensuring we don’t wobble and fall off! This is where understanding and knowledge of what it is like to be a jelibean comes in very handy.
Prepare yourself, we are going to walk the tightrope but using safety lines to ensure we DON’T drop into doom! Let’s get some safety equipment ready.
THE SAFETY CHAIN
Being a jelibean means that we are not the bravest of souls at times. And often when we think we are brave, actually we are terrified. Every jelibean needs a system or a specific way they trust to be able to survive.
Jelibean calls this system ‘IAMS’ : ‘I’ Arrange My Security
‘I’ is all a jelibean can think of! Other people? Who are they?
Arrange – find a way that is comfortable and safe ……
My - it must come back to 'self'
Imagine a chain, a nice strong one with big links. We build them ourselves and very proud of them we are too! When we are building our chains we are intent on only one thing – to make it as strong as possible and the best. A nice big chain that is strong enough to hold our weight is the best ever. It makes us feel secure and that makes us feel good (we think!). So imagine our distress and frustration when one of the links breaks! Disaster, complete and utter devastation is what a jelibean feels when this happens. And rather than abandon that chain and find one that is stronger and can take our weight, we refuse only to take the whole chain apart to start from scratch. And as we all know a repair is always weaker than the original. So more often than not the chain will again break under the strain. But change for a jelibean is painful. We will prefer to go the old way rather than try something new.
Teaching a jelibean to walk the tightrope of life safely is a challenge but it is one that can be done. It is possibly one of the most important lessons you can teach your jelibean. There is a way to help and we will endeavour to show you stage by stage how to start. Enabling your jelibean to ask for help, take advice and initiate choice will enable them within society to walk the tightrope without wobbling to their peril. But at the same time encouraging their independence. It's a fine line to keep them safe but to give them freedom too.
Many parents naturally fear for their children's safety as they walk the tightrope. This can lead to an over protectiveness which can lead to resentment. It is never easy job.....being a parent, but even more difficult when you are trying to allow your child to make their own way but desperate to hang onto them in case they risk a tumble. Holding them too tight and restricting them will often make them wobble even more so please take care, gentle handling is best for jelibeans always.