It’s half past two and the keys click in the lock. Like every day of the week. Regularity and precision are typical characteristics of people with autism. People with autism spectrum disorder, to whom today is dedicated the World Day for Understanding Autism, perceive the world differently. Lenka Ambrožová described Drbně what life with an autistic child is like.
Most teenagers prefer to have fun with their friends and move their parents to the second dorm. Fourteen years old Patrik Ambroz, who lives in Vinohrady in Brno, is experiencing a different situation. Lenka’s mother and her favorite bed are safe places that are an integral part of her life. He was diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that manifests itself in communication problems, recurring behaviors and different social interactions.
According to Lenka Ambrožova living with an autistic child is not difficult. It’s just a habit, an adaptation and a will. “I say we all acquired autism at home,” Lenka laughs. According to her, the family must find a system to work. “It just came to our knowledge at that time. It’s important to listen to what the experts advise and adapt to it. But sometimes, of course, you don’t have the nerve to repeat everything and to attract everyone’s attention, explains the mother of three sons. According to her, children with autism are forever little children. Moreover, none of them are identical and require specific treatment.
Patrik doesn’t remember anything about the seizures
Lenka and her husband already know when Patrik’s climbs can be overcome and when he gets hard. At that point, it’s better to let things happen so that he doesn’t have his autism crisis, during which he cries, gets angry and has incredible strength. “There’s no point in discussing convulsions with him. He doesn’t remember them. I’m emotionally in hell because of them, and then Pata comes and asks what happened,” explains a thirty-seven-year-old brunette.
Patrik explains that all it takes is a small change in his command, and for him it’s a change of hysteria. He’s a perfectionist. “I don’t like people, and when I touch them, it’s like I’m wearing dirt. So I’m rubbing against someone I love,” describes the boy’s relationship with the environment.
Patrik has been diagnosed with autism since he was six years old, but he’s been different since he was a baby. He avoided eye contact, didn’t want to behave, didn’t talk or walk. His parents dealt with his strange behavior. Doctors always judged that it was the result of epilepsy from which the son had suffered since birth. “I kept asking what was wrong because I have more children and things turned out differently. It was only after the exam that the neurologist asked us if it had occurred to us that he might be the son of someone with autism,” Lenka recalls the beginnings of autism.
She attends a school for autistic children
Despite his handicap, Patrik tries and pushes. “I taught him to talk and walk a few times, or that he has to flush the toilet. I won’t be here forever and I need him to know at least the basics,” describes the mother. The older Patrik is, the better the situation, because he can already understand a lot of things. He always demands the same diet, but he manages to accept the changes he knows in advance. He carries those who appear suddenly. “The problem arises, for example, when someone else takes him to school than usual. He starts crying and it’s stressful for him. This day is worth it, “ says Lenka.
Patrik attends a school that focuses directly on children with autism spectrum disorders. “I had workshops today. We watered the flowers so they wouldn’t wither, and we fed the guinea pigs so they wouldn’t die.” Patrik describes his day. Instead of the classic clocks, they always have a day programmed in blocks. In addition to the program, they also learn practical things for life, such as how to buy, cook or lubricate a croissant.
Activities must be adapted for people with autism. They don’t like noise or people. They have no instinct for self-preservation. They are incapable of making decisions and you have to talk to them clearly and concisely so that they don’t lose their attention. “Nothing can be overstated. At home, Pata normally vacuums and waters the flowers. They go out with their siblings or read manga and watch series. But Patrick has problems with reading and writing. He only uses capital letters, so his brother always reads the headlines to him. We go on trips and vacations, we just plan everything in advance and explain where, how and why we will go.” says Lenka, adding that Patrik is now in a phase where he talks a lot and has grown up, which causes him problems to manage his tantrums.