“Hello,” I wave to my Doctor friend. I returned his call as promised the same morning.
“Hi,” the Doctor smiles back. “Are you finished for the day?”
“Yes,” I answer resolutely. “No more work for me tonight. Have an AirBnb guest.”
“That’s cool,” the Doctor answers. And it is. I am usually still working till silly hours into the evening for my other, smaller clients.
“Strange fellow,” I start telling him what I know about my guest. “He is here for a hypnosis course in Aarschot. Used to be police force, now working for himself.”
“Interesting subject,” the Doctor nods.
“How are you? Had a good day?” I enquire politely. I have learned over the years that it is best to start out with some small talk before cutting straight to the chase. “Yes cool subject.”
“Yes I did,” the Doctor exchanges in polite conversation.
“Just not at ease,” I confide. “Don’t want anybody messing with my mind.”
“Did you earn your living today?” the Doctor wants to know how intellectually productive I have been. “He can’t unless you allow him to. Is he doing hypnotherapy”
“I did. Not much extra work going on for the moment besides BNP,” I inform him exactly why I won’t be working extra hours tonight. “I didn’t allow Eric and yet he messed me up pretty bad.”
“You had expectations with Eric,” the Doctor points out.
“Yes I think he wants to use hypnotherapy to help his patients get over trauma,” I acquiesce. “Ok good point. Shall we talk about Winston, not me?”
“Is he a licensed therapist?” the Doctor wants to know before switching subjects.
“I don’t know,” I shrug my shoulders wanting to get onto the next, more pressing subject.
“Ok Winston,” the Doctor starts out. “Has he had his first session yet?”
“No it’s tomorrow,” I answer. “He doesn’t like going to the therapist. He likes it when he’s actually there though.”
“Ask if you can have him assessed,” the Doctor advises.
“But it’s the idea of having psychic problems,” I explain my boy’s reluctance to seeing a therapist. “Have him assessed? What the hell for? Why?”
“Aspergers,” the Doctor answers pointedly.
“Oh. Really?” I am outraged. “Then what? Stick a label on him?”
“I don’t know for sure as I haven’t spoken to him but knowing a little about you and David and what you have told me I tend to think he and Lilly need your help in a different way then you are doing now,” the Doctor attempts to calm my uproar.
“Okay like how?” I ask defensively.
“Why stick anything on him?” the Doctor retorts.
“Ok then what should I do different?” I ask him still annoyed. “There is indeed a high chance they are both Asperger.”
“Firstly know that there is nothing about Aspergers that can’t be overcome with time,” the Doctor informs me soothingly. ‘It’s not a disease nor a real disadvantage if handled correctly. No one is to blame as it is genetic.”
“Ok ok I can live with that,” I say trying to quieten my mind in the meantime. “Then what?”
“It is important that you keep your routines very strictly. No variations at all,” the Doctor spells it out to me. “Eating times are set. Sleep times are set. Wake up time the same everyday. Tidy room everyday as part of all kids routines. Second. You must not assume he instinctively knows or understands everything. You must explain things to him and Lilly everything in detail. You must not give him more than three instructions at a time and ask him to repeat them before he goes off to do them.”
“Wow okay,” my eyes are popping as I take it all in. “That fits perfectly with Lilly”
“You must use your voice more in regards to your tone and volume of voice to express what you are thinking and doing,” the Doctor explains further. “You must reteach him facial expressions by over doing them. Your au-pair can help with this. When he repeats himself you have to tell him.”
“I am trying to soften my voice and my tone,” I exclaim as this is a contradiction to me.
“When he is doing a task and looses focus or interest take him off the task for a moment, do something else and then bring him back to his task,” the Doctor continues.
“I am no good at facial expressions,” I sigh. “I’ll always remember you telling me I pull faces when talking. So I really try to stay blank now. I do tell him about the repetition but it doesn’t help. Okay am already doing that with the task.”
“It’s not a short term thing,” the Doctor warns me. “He has to learn when to stop because everyone else has stopped. He needs to learn when the game is over it’s over. Use your face to show anger or happy or pleased or disappointed.”
“I am no good at expressing things with my face or my voice,” I repeat. “The kids notice when I am upset or angry nevertheless.”
“Never lie to him about anything,” the Doctor says as he shakes his head. “He must see you as his authority on all matters. You and David should discuss sending him to Eureka school in Lubeek. They will help too and bring him back into mainstream by high school.”
“I don’t know how to teach him when to stop,” I think out loud and in despair.
“Show him the common actions that people do to show when to stop,” the Doctor advises.
“Which is what?” I ask bewildered and I am annoyed at my own ignorance on these matters. “What stop actions?”
“Disinterest,” the Doctor tells me calmly. “Communication that the game has stopped.”
“Okay,” I say. “Right.”
“Yes,” the Doctor allows me some time to assimilate and to collect my thoughts.
“Strange teaching him things I don’t know myself,” I ponder.
“Don’t worry,” the Doctor reassures me. “You will learn too as will Lilly. Make it fun if you can. You are a good mother.”
“Thanks. Doing my best,” I smile. “Shall I give this guy a tarot reading?”
“Is that a motivation to something else?” the Doctor asks cautiously.
“No,” I curl my nose. “Bah!”
“Then go ahead,” the Doctor smiles at me through the webcam.
When I was a little girl, I dreamt about the woman I would become. I had very clear ideas.
I would be proud of myself.
I would feel powerful in my life.
I would speak up, with confidence and clarity, knowing what I wanted.
I would love my body.
I’d feel vital, appreciated, beautiful, and alive.
And I want this experience of adulthood for all my children.