A Yorkshire River. A bit of an odd Yorkshire River. It’s not in flood……

In winter the River is often several feet above the top of the sand banks. But in summer the banks provide a perfect place for Swift’s to nest.

As we walked along the river edge my thoughts drifted back to when Hawklad had just started school. It was the start of the Aspergers journey. it was before any expert help came our way. Two parents trying to get their head’s round our family life. We kinda knew he was on the spectrum but what did we know. Expert guidance was still 2 years away. It was such a confusing time. But one of my clearest recollections of that time was Hawklads’s reaction to people.

Hawklad struggled with meeting people. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone apart from his mum, dad and grannies. His hood was always over his head and pulled down over his eyes. He would freeze or have meltdowns if an outsider was too near. If he was in a room with others then he frequently would be found in a corner, facing the wall. Outside he would hide behind trees until the coast was clear.

Slowly over the following years things started to change. With so much hard work he became better able deal with people. Not comfortable but he found a way. He developed a slightly wider network of friends. Really close friendships formed.

Today we are walking along The River. We are avoiding people. We came off the path because Hawklad was struggling. The hood was over his head again. We headed in another direction as soon as an outsider came into view. If he couldn’t avoid them then he hid behind me. Down by The River he could hide away. He had the place to himself and he could tell his Dad all about the migrational pattern of Swift’s. It felt isolated but safe to him. Away from others. He’s comfortable with me and his best friends. Others just no way.

It feels like I have been here before.

47 thoughts on “The River

  1. Unfortunately the inflexibility of “the system” seems to be “the enemy” when it comes to providing the necessary help for people who are in Hawklad’s (and your) position. I wish it was otherwise.

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  2. There’s a girl who with the help of some keyboard has been able to explain her version of autism. In that faces are seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen, seen… so much that it is a nightmare to keep eye contact. I can understand her dilemma and that of others coping with such interactions.

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      1. I seem to have spent my whole youth in the corridors, as did my mother. She said that as a child she was also sent out a lot. She once put tissue in all the plug holes and turned on the taps, then flushed the tissue away down the bogs 🧻 🚽 and came running into the classroom ~ “Help the toilets have flooded!” There’s still her name written with tar on a wall of what used to be her first school.

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      1. So many inner tears can be avoided, if only there was understanding that not everyone learns the same way. I have to be able to look out of the window to ground myself and in uni I was many times at the edges of the room looking disinterested. I feel I gained my degree and my masters degree by being undisturbed by traditional convention of having to always be sitting 🪑🪑🪑 with others and to attention. Lots of self learning was done, whilst laying on the carpet of the upstairs of the library, at Trinity or at home, 📙 📚 📖 surrounded by books and notes.


  3. I can imagine the deja vu which is actually more confusing since you know what effort it needs to get back to the point Hawklad already was. But you also know that it is possible, and I hope this fact keeps you strong. Also, Hawklad knows and has his own motivation to get back to that place. Much love to both of you, Gary!

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  4. I once read something about thumb sucking in small children, the author (a psychologist I believe, it was many years ago and memory fails me) that said she wished she could give something IN ADDITION to thumb sucking to help children cope. At the time thumb sucking was very much frowned upon and I applauded the author’s insight and empathy.

    After all Hawklad has had to deal with, including the pandemic. and a less than empathetic government body which is making school such a horrific experience for so many I wish there was something to offer Hawklad IN ADDITION to his hoodie. God bless you both and grant you the strength to carry on.

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