Tonight, The Boy turned to me and said, “Why do we have to move?”
It just about breaks my heart, because I know on the inside, he is still adjusting to this very big change I have foisted upon him, although on the outside he has been a trooper. And even though we have talked, and talked, and talked about this for a long, long time, I know it is still hard for him to understand.
A long while ago, I came across the suggestion to make a book about the moving process so that The Boy could have a resource to refer to when he was feeling anxious or unsure. My lovely mother helped me flesh out the idea, and even did some of the legwork for me, taking pictures of his favorite places in our new area to include in the book.
My goal with the book was to acknowledge his fear, but accentuate the positive. Tell him what exactly will change, and what will not. Include pictures of familiar things in our new home and community, and pictures of good times with The Man, and with his grandparents.
I’ve been working on his book for awhile, and I shared it with him tonight, hearing his anxiety once again in his honest question. We read through each page, and he looked at the pictures. When we were finished, he was at least smiling. I asked if he felt better and he said he did.
If you’re going through a move with an autistic child, I highly recommend the National Autism Society (UK)’s page, and a couple of other resources listed below. You can never begin preparing your child too soon, and creating a moving book is one strategy to help calm those moving anxieties that I think will be so helpful!