By Holly Bortfeld
When we put our house on the market 9 years ago, we had professional cleaners and painters come in and do their thing. We had already moved out of state for better services so the place was bare, just carpets and walls. It was still a crime scene.
The relator held an open house and called me with the results. The comments ranged from “did a murder happen here?” to “was this a rental to crack-heads or did the homeless squat here?”. Ouch.
I have two children with ASD. That house bore the brunt of 2 kids who were normal, lovely, healthy and then got sick, really fast, and got autism. The carpets were beige when we moved in, but after years of projectile-vomited medications and supplements, poop smearing, blood spills, more urine than a men’s room floor, and years of neglect by me, too tired and scattered to really give a damn about cleaning when I hadn’t slept in 5 years, the color of the carpets was the unnatural color of a crime scene.
My furniture was bolted to the wall. I am not kidding. Once your 3-year-old pulls down a 500-pound TV, almost killing himself, you start tethering and bolting stuff. The wall units got bolted, the curtains were replaced with shades, the glass windows were replaced, more than once. Pictures on the walls? Not anymore. Coffee tables and lamps with any glass were replaced with unbreakable, sturdy wood. Tabletops were bare, closets were locked, cabinets were locked down, no knickknacks to be seen (or destroyed), everything of any value, out of sight in the attic. There were locks and deadbolts on every door and window. Everything in my house – the walls, doors, chairs, beds, refrigerator, all had labels with their names on them, like plaques at a museum. This is Decorating For Autism.
Fast forward 9 years. After years of biomedical interventions, my kids don’t break anything, they are great, and have been so for years. Mind you, the occasional glass or plate gets broken, but no more than in any other house. Progress!
Recently, I noticed that 3 of my 8 everyday glasses from Target, made in China no doubt, had cracked so I was looking for another set, but Target stopped carrying them and I couldn’t find similar glasses anywhere. I was so used to staying in the under $10 mark for anything, that I never considered buying “nice” things. My kids haven’t broken anything in years. But I still have no knickknacks, no lovely glassware, no curtains. I remain in the autism rut.
Guess what I just did? I bought new glasses. Made in Italy. Italian glass. Lead-free, beautiful, breakable. Fragile. And I have 2 kids with ASD in my house. Yep. How ya’ like me now?
Mind you, they weren’t expensive it turned out, $4 each, but still, they are what I wanted, what I thought was pretty, felt good in my hand, and I wanted to drink out of them. Yea. I’m 45 and I bought something I liked. Sue me.
This day will come for you too. As you heal your child with diet and supplements, therapies and love, you are inching towards health, happiness, normality and yes, glassware. I realize it may be a small thing to cling to in the middle of the night while your child rages, shrieking in pain, but one day, it all pays off. It may take you years to realize it, but it will come and you will get what YOU need – your child back. And you can toast your efforts with the lovely clink of a new Italian glass.
Basic Biomed – http://autism.com/pdf/providers/adams_biomed_summary.pdf
How to begin the Diet – http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/going-gfcfsf-in-10-weeks/