Summer has arrived – but will I survive the school holidays?

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My son breaks up for the summer holidays this Thursday – eight weeks off school! I’ve just managed to get through the weekend so the question I keep asking myself is: how will I cope over the school holidays?

Whilst I’m looking forward to the possibility of spending quality time with my family, I am beginning to panic. Life at home is getting more and more challenging as I try to cope with the reality of having a son with Asperger’s and a teenage daughter who does not understand her brothers special needs and rarely wants to spend time with him. I spend most of my time trying to keep them apart, trying to stop them arguing and trying to meet their individual needs. I feel totally exhausted and drained.

My son still loves cleaning and vacuum cleaners so, whilst my house is immaculately clean and I never have to wash the dishes, I fear I may go crazy listening to the sound of those noisy machines, smelling the different scents of disinfectants, being repeatedly told about the best way to wash plates and walking on wet slippery floors.

• At home, he is either vacuuming or mopping up our already clean floors or on the computer searching for reviews of vacuums. As well as having to listen to the sound of vacuums or conversations about cleaning, I also have to deal with my daughters frustration with her brother and the endless arguments and bickering between them (“Please mum, stop him hoovering! I can’t stand the sound of the vacuum anymore! What’s the matter with him? Why can’t he be like other boys his age?”).
• My son’s idea of a great day out is either going to Curry’s and trying out the vacuums or going to supermarkets and checking out products in the cleaning aisles.

My attempts to get him to do other things always fail – he is simply not interested in going to the cinema, park, museums etc. and wants to be with me almost all of the time. Even if I set limits on how much he can clean, he is still thinking and talking about it. He was sleep-talking last night, about vacuum cleaners (“No stupid! That’s a Dyson DC01”) and the first thing he said to me this morning was “Mum, can I buy another vacuum cleaner with my birthday money”.

As I count the days left for the summer break, I am beginning to panic BIG TIME!

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