I would like to share a positive story about my son. He is 27 and he has always been interested in visual activities, such as drawing, building with Legos, photography and making movies. He likes to make up stories and when he was younger he created an entire world based on Lego Bricks. At that time he was unafraid to share his stories and I helped him to create a website with information about his creations.
When he was in teens, he had some bad experiences with other people. I also did not help things, I was somewhat harsh on his work at times and as a result he backed off and became very anxious about working on his stories and stopped a lot of his creative activities.
A few years ago, my expectations and his anxiety came to a clash and after a very rough night of interacting with my son I finally realized something had to change. I chose to back off and reset our relationship. Instead of pushing for him to do more things that I felt he should do, I backed off and let him choose what he wanted to do. I started spending time with him, listening and not pushing him. As time passed, his anxiety lessened, and he became more at ease with everyone.
During this time, my husband and I were also working on a project and I was researching autism, with a lot of reading of blogs and articles by autistic adults. I found confirmation for my approach and a change in how autism is viewed, not as a disorder to be cured but as a different way of thinking and processing information. I also suspect that I am on the spectrum somewhere, which added to the problems in our house. Basically, I had a set of rules that was clashing with my sons which could lead to 'interesting' discussions.
It has been four years since I started this approach and my son's anxiety has continued to lessen and his confidence in himself has slowly grown. He has recently started to work on a script for a movie he has wanted to make for the last ten years but because of his struggles he has seemed afraid to work on it. He is still struggling with his anxiety but he is starting to put words on paper. The working name for his project is 'Courage', which seems very appropriate. I am very proud of him and I am glad he is finding his creative voice that has been dormant for many years. I look forward to seeing what he creates.