Tuesday 24 February 2015

Elmer The Elephant

When my son was a small person elephants were his world. We had an entire herd and with them he played the most incredibly imaginative games. We had concerts, parties, he made spaceships, built houses for them you name it he probably did it.

 Inevitably I would become involved even to the point of agreeing to making an appropriately themed birthday cake one year. First and last time I have ever used shop bought icing!

Every single one had a name and almost took on their own personalities. As an only child with mild Aspergers they were also incredibly important to him as a comfort when he had not found acceptance at school or needed something familiar to settle him back into his rigid routine when he was trying to deal with the changing and challenging outside world beyond the comfort of our front door. They were often fraught days for both of us and many a tear I wept in private as I feared for how he would adapt as he grew older and whether he would be able to form relationships. The two elephants in the top picture were without doubt the special ones....Lumpy-p-lump and Elmer and the ones that settled him down at night time.

We had many of the Elmer books. I even made him huge pictures of Elmer and his friend Wilbur out of felt for his bedroom wall. The first book contained such a strong message...that even if you were patchwork and not grey like the rest of the elephants it was fine...the other elephants loved Elmer for who he was and this message we were able to relay loud and clear time after time to reassure our son.

It can be a long hard road when you've got a child who's "different". I met with ignorance and prejudice many times when he was a youngster but with an early diagnosis and the support of a close family and excellent school who were flexible in making small adjustments to meet his needs we are where we are today. He now sees his Aspergers as a positive and although, at times "socially awkward" [his choice of words] he has lots of friends and lives a full and varied life. So I am incredibly grateful to Elmer The Elephant as he reaches his 25th anniversary for the difference he has made to one little boy's life.


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