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Archive for the ‘challenging behaviour’ Category

It’s raining again today but it pretty much sums up how we’re all feeling at the moment.

This morning, as usual on his Prep days, J started the day with “I don’t want to go school!”  However what was different about today was, once I’d finally got him strapped in the car………… for the second time, (escaped the first time!), he started crying………………..real tears. J often has tears when he’s having a meltdown or a moment but they’re usually tears of anger and just pure uncontrollable emotion but he rarely has “real sadness tears”. Today they were very much real tears. It broke my heart to leave him at school this morning knowing how upset he had been in the car. When I left him, he begged me to first take him home and then to stay with him. Today I very nearly did bring him home………………………

He told me whilst crying and begging that school is too hard. I asked him what was hard and he replied “Miss C said we have to be good and it’s too hard, I can’t be good all day and I have to ‘cus I’ll get told off otherwise”. I told him that he should tell his teacher this and that if he really couldn’t “be good” (whatever their idea of good is!) then he could have a silly and that everyone has a silly at some point and that it was ok. I told him it wasn’t naughty, unless he hurt someone because that wasn’t very nice and that it was just what he had to do sometimes but maybe we could try to think of some other things he could do if he thought he was going to have a silly. And I told him I thought he’d done a fantastic job at “being good” at school so far and promised him he could have a day off soon ……………. What else could I say? Bless him this is obviously something that has been eating him up inside and possibly the cause of some of his anxieties.

To be honest we prefer to use the words nice and silly or not nice rather than good or bad …………… everyone’s idea of a well-behaved child is different but for us if J has tried his best at everything, then what else can you ask for. There really isn’t any point in putting unreasonable demands on a child when it’s simply going to cause more stress than necessary.

Anyhow I hope a big cuddle from Mummy tonight helps him and reminds him of what a “good boy” and what a special boy he is to Mummy and Daddy.

I’m really not looking forward to tomorrow……………………….

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I just got off the phone with the people who issue the Companion Card.  The Companion Card allows the holder to take a companion to certain places at no charge, so it would mean paying for J’s entry and then getting mine (or whoever he takes with him) for free, it also helps with queues. At most places you can show the card and then rather than queue you can simply go back at a certain time and go straight in or on a ride, (depending on where you go), without queuing. It’s something that would make  huge difference to our lives………. to J’s life. At the moment the only place we take him for a fun 1/2 day out is Australia Zoo, he feels very secure in his little world when at the zoo and the staff there are absolutely fantastic with J. Pretty much everywhere else we’ve ever taken him has been a waste of money and ended in disaster, so we simply don’t go anywhere else now.

J application for a companion card has been put on hold because………………. “Autism might not be a lifelong disability!” Yep that’s right that’s what I was told, obviously someone forgot to tell me that J is going to grow out of it or that they have found a cure for Autism! (can you hear the sarcasm in my voice? no that’s ok I’m used to it, sarcasm is wasted on J too)

Then when I tried explaining what a difference the card would make to J’s life and how he should be able to go out and enjoy all the places that other children his age do, I was told the therapist who has seen him all of about 3 times in his own home has informed them that they have high hopes for J and he’s going to be just fine……………. Are you frigging kidding me!!!   Remember this is someone who has seen him less than a handful of times in the security of his own home with his Mum…………… so ofcourse she knows just how difficult he finds public places and she knows he finds social situations and she knows exactly what we all have to deal with when we have to queue for anything!  I should also point out that this is the same person who told me just over a week ago, she had been trying to support our application…………. what a bunch of s***!  Yes I’m pretty cross, can you tell?

I went on, (trying to remain calm), to explain our disastrous trip to Dreamworld and even to places like the shops. I tried to explain that he has Autism, it is lifelong but my words were wasted because…………… wait for it, you won’t believe this one……………………………. he isn’t intellectually disabled so he probably won’t require a card! Are you frigging kidding me!!!    He wasn’t entitled to a disabled badge because he doesn’t have a physical disability and now he can’t have a companion card because Autism may not be lifelong and he isn’t intellectually disabled!!  Come on someone’s pulling my leg……… right?   What about his sensory needs and his lack of social skills, surely those needs would affect him in public places and social situations just the same as any other disability.  Well no it would seem, to the people who issue the card none of these things matter.

I was then asked if I wanted to withdraw the application and then maybe try in a few years after we’ve had his IQ checked at school!  What?!!? Ok I was getting a little more than wound up by now so I simply replied, “No I would not like to withdraw the application, I already know that he doesn’t have an intellectual disability, in fact my son is probably alot smarter than you or I, his disability is sensory and socially related. So no please don’t withdraw the application, instead return it to me and I will ask J’s Pediatrician to confirm on the application that Autism is a lifelong disability and explain J’s disability to you. Then maybe Disability Qld will not be quite so prejudiced towards certain disabilities.”   To which she responded with a sigh and said she would send it out to me but I should hold my breath!

Anyone else gone through a similar experience?  I’ve got to say I’m sitting here fuming right now……….. seriously I’m so cross I have steam coming out of my ears.  As for the therapist who told me a complete bunch of lies, well lets just say our next conversation is going to be very interesting!

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Ahhh there it is!

Needing my quiet place again this week…….. and it’s only Tuesday!!!

Over the weekend J’s anxiety driven behaviour has gotten worse and Sunday night he declared “I’m quitting school because I HATE IT!”  Yesterday morning he refused to get dressed and finally put his clothes on just before leaving. He absolutely did not want to go to school despite being aware the he would be with Miss S at the ECDP (EI). I had to put his special doggy, (cuddly toy) into the car and threatened to let all the other boys and girls play with it if he didn’t get in the car! I know I’m an awful mother and it probably didn’t help his feelings towards school but I didn’t know what else to do. Then once in the car he lost it and started trying to get out of his seat so (please don’t judge me badly) I threatened to throw special doggy out the car if he took his seatbelt off. Abit extreme I know but he has taken it off twice before on the highway, I didn’t want to make it 3 times and it’s the only threat that works! Once at the school we had to park just about as far away from the school as possible and he REFUSED to go into school! This was all new for me because J usually loves going to the ECDP, it’s just Prep he had a problem with but it would seem it’s now just school in general. So I scooped him up and carried him all the way into school, once through the school gate at the ECDP I put him down, he can’t reach the gate to open it so I knew he couldn’t escape :)  When I said goodbye to him he tried to grab my face and got told off by his teacher………..whilst at school he was really well-behaved and coped well again, although he wouldn’t go to the toilet at school so was bursting once we got home.

Last night we had one of the worst battles ever at bedtime, he refused to go to bed, he refused to go to the toilet, he tried to bite his Dad, (but Dad just caught his head before the teeth sunk in!), he needed to do this, he needed to do that, he needed a certain story but then needed a different one, it just went on and on, (much like Sunday night) and ofcourse we had tears and screaming.

This morning was almost the same as yesterday but this morning I had to throw his socks and shoes in the car and carried him out to the car because he refused to put them on…………… can’t go to school if he doesn’t have them on……. sorry sunshine but yes you can! This morning he actually walked, (kinda), into school once we’d got to the gate.  Whilst at school he informed Miss S that he hated school and he hated Miss C and school was too hard and he was there for a really long time and he gets tired. She told me they had a chat today and that she was going to make some visuals for him to help with his transition to Prep, the hope is that by term 4 he will be in full-time Prep and won’t need to attend the ECDP any longer. She also promised to look through the fence and give him a wave tomorrow when he is with Miss C in Prep, which I thought was a really nice thing for her to say, (I hope she remembers!).

As for tonight, he went for a play with some friends but when we left we had fireworks in the car. He didn’t want to go home and made sure I knew that…… all the way home! When we got home he refused to eat anything, after about an hour of “negotiating” I convinced him to eat a squeezy yoghurt and a small chocolate cake. Not great but at least he had something in his tum when he went to bed. *sigh*

Speaking of bed………. bedtime went a little easier tonight, it only took 35 minutes to get him into bed and so far I’ve only been into him 4 times.

I wonder how many times I’ll be called into his room during the night *bigger sigh*

I wonder how long he’ll be able to hold it together at school when he’s getting little sleep, due to waking up during the night, and having so much anxiety build up about attending school. *even bigger sigh*  He was spotted by Miss S today, building up a “moment”. She said he started to get “the look” but because she recognised it and knew what to do, the situation was resolved very quickly and very easily………… I wonder if Miss C would have reacted the same way…….. time will tell I guess.

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I really need this place right now!

It’s been a tough couple of weeks but this last week has been especially tough!  I’ve reached the top and had to stop before I’ve blown a fuse!

Firstly my husband has been off work all week after hurting his back at work and is off for at least another 2 weeks. Let me just explain something, my husband is someone who HATES relaxing and doing nothing so to be off work, stuck at home and unable to do anything is driving him crazy and that is driving me crazy! Doing nothing is also making him really grouchy! Ok I know he’s hurt his back and he’s in a fair bit of pain but seriously I can’t wait for him to get back to work for all our sakes!

Secondly it’s been really hot here this week, my car doesn’t have aircon and I’ve had lots of meetings this last week which have meant spending lots of time in the car!  I really need a new car before next summer……..one with aircon!

And finally there’s J and Prep! He’s been coping really well whilst at school but as soon as he’s out of those school gates all hell breaks loose! This week has been worse than last week and it’s just been constant, one meltdown after another :( On Wednesday it took me almost 20 minutes to get him into the car when we left school! It was too hot, the seat didn’t look right, he couldn’t get in with his shoes on, once he was in the seat didn’t feel right and it was hot so he got back out again………. it just went on and on. Then he started on the way home because the wind blew into the car and touched him! It’s been like that all week, he’s been way more meltdowny and grumpy than usual. J doesn’t understand his emotions or how to control them so we only ever get extremes……….. extreme happiness, extreme excitement, extreme sadness and of course extreme anger. He has been shouting and screaming just about everything to us, he’s been extremely      unco-operative, every tiny little bump has meant that the world is going to end, (and there’s been a few, his clumsiness has skyrocketed too), he’s had a problem with just about everything, he’s been quite aggressive towards us, (pushing, hitting, kicking, pinching and biting), he’s started biting himself and sucking his arms, legs, fingers etc,he’s barely eaten at home and some of the bedtime battles have been quite spectacular!  Meanwhile at school he’s been a different child.

We have had a couple of issues at school. The first day at the ECDP (Early Intervention) he was due to be in another classroom with a new teacher so that caused a mini meltdown, (but in a way it was nice for them to see that), once Miss C had told him that there was some mix up with numbers and he and some of his other former classmates from last term would in fact be back in their old classroom with their teacher from last term, Miss S, he was ok and happily went into his classroom.  My issue with this is, we have been told that he will be going into the other classroom with the new teacher, they just don’t know when that will be. They have introduced him to the new teacher and even to the new classroom but each time Miss S, (who he feels very secure with) has been with him, when he moves she won’t be there. So we’re going to still have all the issues we had on his first morning. *sigh*

He went into school ok each morning until Thursday this week, (once we’d actually got to school). I took him to school on Wednesday morning, (mainstream Prep), and we had the usual fun and games trying to get ready for school, leaving and then during the car journey but once at school he went in ok, not happy but ok. He went straight to the table with the clean chair and the pink playdough………….only thing was the classroom had been moved around and the playdough  table wasn’t where it was supposed to be!  It really knocked him for six and he refused to go to the playdough table. Whilst we had a few grumbles I left him creating something with a peg board. Thursday morning he just point blank refused to go into school and I had to drag carry him in and then catch him twice as he managed to escape the classroom, he didn’t get very far, I was ready for anything. He didn’t look too impressed when I left him that morning and he certainly made me suffer when I collected him Thursday afternoon. Yesterday was pretty much the same as Thursday, but he also banged his head (purposely!)  on the wooden railing at school and informed me, whilst crying, that he couldn’t go to school because he had hurt his head and I’m sure it’s all linked to the classroom furniture being moved around. I have spoken with the teacher and I’m hoping if they decide to move things around again they will give him some sort of warning because he can’t cope with change.

He made a good start with food during his first week of school, eating pretty much everything I put into his lunchbag, (much to my amazement!) but over the later part of this week he has come home with at least half of his packed lunch. Again I think it could be related to the change around of the classroom but maybe it’s also getting to the “ok I’ve been a school a couple of weeks and I still don’t want to be here” stage.

The other issue we’ve been having whilst he’s been at mainstream Prep is toileting……….. he just hasn’t been going at all! He often waits until he’s desperate for a wee before he’ll go so we prompt him every so often to go, try for a wee and his ECDP teachers also remind him so no problems on a Monday or Tuesday. I spoke with his Prep teacher about it and she told me that she has been reminding him every lunchtime to “go to the toilet, wash your hands and get your lunchbag”……….(take note of her words)  Far too many instructions all in one go for J bless him. When I asked him why he hadn’t been for a wee he replied, (Miss C never told me to, she said I had to wash my hands!”. *sigh*  So had another conversation with her Friday morning about how it would be better if she gave one instruction at a time and made it clear that he had to go to the toilet, (for a wee) and then remind him to wash his hands afterwards. Finally yesterday he actually had a wee at school so he didn’t have belly ache and he wasn’t bursting to go when we got home.  I’m hoping this continues, once he’s been doing it for a couple of weeks he’ll get used to the routine and will (hopefully) just do it automatically…………..only time will tell.

Overall he’s coping so incredibly well whilst at school but out of school is such a different story. I wonder will it always be like this?  Will it pass once he finally gets settled and then start again next year?

I get why his behaviour is the way it is, I really do……. I get that he trying so hard to be “good” in school and to be like all the other kids and I understand that once he leaves school he’s with Mum (and Dad) again so he feels he can just release everything he’s been trying to control all day because he knows we love him unconditionally and it doesn’t matter what he throws at us (literally, it was the office chair this morning!), we’ll always be there. You see I do, I really do get it but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish it was a little easier. I love him and even with the constant meltdowns I love every minute that I spend with him but over the past 2 weeks I’ve started missing some of the fun we had together before school began.

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J had his 1st day at Prep yesterday. He started school full-time on Monday but he goes to the ECDP (Early Intervention Centre) at the school on a Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday Morning J woke up telling me that he didn’t want to go to Prep……. at 5.50am!  Anyhow he waved Daddy off to work and then I asked him what he would like for breakfast.

“Do I have to go Prep if I have breakfast?” was the reply I got. *sigh* not going well.   I explained to him that he would still have to go to Prep and it didn’t matter whether he had breakfast or not, but if he didn’t he might get really hungry whilst he was at school.  He gave in and ate a cereal bar, after which he began whining again. I simply plodded on, brushing his teeth and getting his uniform out for him to put on……… cue meltdown!

I had planned on leaving the house by around 8am so that we could park at the school, that way if the worst happened I wouldn’t have too far to carry him.  I finally got his clothes on him by 8:05 then we had socks and shoes to deal with!

Anyway once he was all dressed with his bag on his back, (Mario bag ofcourse), something inside of him seemed to click, it was like his head had told him “look you’re going to have to go anyway so you might as well just give in, smile and try to have fun”.  He stood at the door posing for photographs, (to show Dad later) and then calmly climbed in the car!

When we arrived at the school we walked around to his classroom, he was quite cautious at first. We put his bag and his lunch away and then he spotted the pink playdough :)  J’s favourite colour is pink and he is a fan of playdough, as I looked at him I saw a smile appear on his face. After sitting with him for about 5 minutes or so I decided that maybe I should go while he was happy so we had a kiss and a big cuddle, I assured him that I would pick him up later, after lunch and I left.

6 hrs later I returned to pick him up from school and I simply couldn’t believe how good  a day he’d had!  On the way home he had a “moment” in the car because I went around a roundabout! and then another for something else when we got home. He stripped off once again as soon as he got inside the house, (really doesn’t like his uniform) and then spent the entire evening playing on his DS, yelling at me, calling me names like “pooey!” LOL  But for once I didn’t care because he’d had a good day at Prep and I was prepared for whatever he might throw at me. It must be very hard for him to be “well-behaved” and controlled whilst he’s at school, but he did it and so I knew he’d have to release when he’d got home so I was ready.

I’m so grateful that he has the teacher that he has because so far she seems to be very open with her thinking and very understanding and helpful. Here’s a couple of quotes from J, re his 1st day -

“We played outside and I even went down the slide, it was dirty but Miss C showed me that the dirt was stuck on so it wouldn’t come off!” :)

” We had to sit on the floor outside but there was a clean bit for me to sit on” :)

I know it’s only little things but being messy/dirty is one of J’s big things so for his teacher to be making an effort to find solutions, however small they seem is a huge thumbs up from us.  I also discovered that whilst J was at the ECDP, (which is right next door to Prep) Miss C had waved to him and said hello to him whilst both groups where out playing.  Little gestures like this also big thumbs up!

As for this morning, once again he didn’t want to go but once at school he was fine, I left him once again with the pink playdough, (sitting in the same chair as yesterday) ;)  so I’m hoping he’s had another good day and I know there WILL be bad days but for now so far so good.  I’m so incredibly proud of him, he’s done so well, so much better than everyone, (including me and his Dad), thought he’d do, here’s hoping it lasts. :)

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It was J’s first full day at school today. When we chatted yesterday about him starting he wasn’t keen amongst his excuses for not going was,

J “Mum will you miss me?”

me  “Yes ofcourse I will, I’ll miss you lots”

J “I better not go then, if you’ll miss me!” lol  mmmmm sorry little man but it didn’t work :)

Anyway this morning he willingly put his shorts on and just when I thought things were going well, he decided that he absolutely couldn’t put his socks or his shirt on!  A little negotiating later we put everything on just before we left, ofcourse all the messing about meant that we were a little late leaving and so couldn’t park at the school and so had quite a way to walk when we’d finally parked the car. Luckily his friend’s parents had also parked next to us and J went running off into school with his friend, M.

Unfortunately, despite me talking with him several times he was still under the impression that he would still be in his old classroom with his teachers from last term. When he was told he would be in the other EI classroom with a new teacher, (the one we had been talking about together) he freaked. He quite simply did not want to go into that classroom. One of his teachers, Miss C, came over to us and explained that due to the class sizes J and a couple of his classmates, (including M) , would be in the old classroom with her and Miss S, however it was only temporary. Mini meltdown stopped immediately once he realised that he was going into his classroom.

Once inside, he hung his bag up, got his water bottle and snack out, he spelt his name and then it was time to say goodbye. I gave him a big squeeze and told him I’d be back after lunch to pick him up, he asked how long he would be there for so I told him and he had a minor moan about how that was ages but nothing big. As I said goodbye I saw his lip quiver but no tears so I left while I could, turning back to see him chatting with Miss S.

When I picked him up, he was incredibly happy telling me that he had eaten his raisins, (he NEVER eats them at home), and that he had played outside and made a pattern by hammering nails….. quick quote “and they (the nails) were even real, they were metal and sharp on the end and everything, but the hammer was rubbish so I just pushed them in!” :)   ………………………. Then he remembered that Miss S had taken a picture of him with the hammer and nail peg board and wanted needed to show it to me right there and then! He didn’t want to listen to myself, Miss S or Miss C as we tried to explain the picture had to be put onto the computer first and then it would be printed out, maybe I could look at it tomorrow……………… maybe not! Miss S had to get the phone that the picture was on, she had to show me the picture and told J that she would print a copy of it off for me tomorrow.  He was still a little cross about it but he was ok, I hope they don’t forget tomorrow because he certainly won’t! :)

All the way home he told me everything that he had done and more importantly everything that he hadn’t done, e.g ” And I didn’t even punch anyone!”  :$

He’s done brilliantly well today but I’m not forgetting that he was in his old classroom with his old teachers, whom he adores and some of the children who were in his EI class last term. Thursday will be completely different, a different and bigger room, different teachers, different kids, different furniture, different smells etc etc….. And ofcourse being with Miss S and Miss C in his old classroom is only temporary, it could be for the term or it could only be for a week or 2 and when he does have to go into the other classroom it’s going to be really tough on him. I hope they’re ready.

As for today, Well done baby, Mummy’s very proud of you xxxxxxx

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Last night I had a girl’s night out, the first night out I’ve had in over a year. It was a night out that involved abit of Burlesque, a fairly good looking giant, a dwarf, a blood sucking flying beetle and a pair of crutches……………………. oh an 2 1/2 hrs in the hospital waiting room!

I know, I know you’re asking yourself, “what on earth is she going on about, has she finally lot it?” :)

Let me explain………

Yesterday we spent most of the day around a friend’s house, with J playing in their pool, (his confidence in water has grown so much, still not putting his head in the water but quite happy to be splashed now), and playing on the Wii with her 2 older children, (1 of which is J’s new best friend….. the word hero comes to mind). ……. Anyway, when we left to go home, let’s just say wasn’t really keen on the idea of leaving, we had the usual kicking and screaming etc etc. We arrived home and put a DVD on for him, then J decided he wanted a glow stick, he likes to carry them around and then hang it in his bedroom at bedtime. Unfortunately he decided that he couldn’t possibly wait for me to get him one and tried helping himself, he’s not allowed to bend them himself, as I took it off him it broke and some of the stuff in it sprayed on my face! It actually felt like it was burning, but they may have also been because I had a little sunburn on my face too.  As I was washing it off J started freaking out saying it had got him too……blah blah blah and insisted I wash his face too. So obviously in order to calm him down, (none of the glow stick had gone on him), I obliged and wiped his face. I was crouching and when I went to stand J pushed me…………….. ok I know he’s only 4 but boy is he strong! I fell backwards but still managed to stand…………. unfortunately my leg, (thigh), felt as if it broke in half, but not the bone……. does that make sense?   It was incredibly painful but as most Mum’s do I simply hobbled around, carrying on with everything that Mum’s do.

Last night was the first night out I’ve had in over a year so there was no way I was going to miss it and I was supposed to be driving, however when I went to leave I discovered that I simply couldn’t get my leg in my car, let alone drive it! So I called one of my friends, D, and asked if she could drive, explaining what I had done………as I said I didn’t want to miss my night out! She came to collect me and then we went on to collect our other friend, R, and we went off to the pictures. Here’s where the Burlesque part comes in, we watched the new Cher and Christina Aguilera film Burlesque, which was absolutely FAB! I can’t wait for the soundtrack to come out, there’s some really great music in the film and the story was pretty good too :)

After the movie I hobbled back to the car and R and D then kidnapped me! :) They decided that I was in too much pain and took me to the local emergency room. Here’s where the Giant and the bloodsucking flying beetle come in……… First we saw the Triage Nurse, whose was a giant! Ok I know I’m short, (around 5ft, guess who the dwarf in this story is?), but this guy was huge. He kind of looked at me with disbelieving eyes when I explained what had happened and tried to explain that J has Aspergers and is at times extremely strong, He looked at me and then over to D and R, D piped up, (with a look of it’s true), “we’re all Autism Mums” and the two of them couldn’t resist laughing, (I think mostly at me!). Then we were sent into the waiting room, (with pain relief) to wait for a Doctor. Whilst we were sat there a a bloodsucking, flying beetle, (ok so maybe it was a bloodsucking beetle but it was definitely flying!)  appeared from nowhere and began circling us, (cue giggling again).

2 1/2 hours later we were seen by a doctor.  The Doctor, (with help from R), tried putting a splint on my leg, (and caused a large amount of discomfort pain), but the splint was too big……………. I have short legs, thought my height would have given that away! :)   Splint on, a pair of crutches, a prescription for pain relief and 2 1/2 hours (after arriving at the hospital) later we finally went home………. at 2:15am!

Despite the pain, it was one of the funniest nights out I’ve ever had so thanks R and D for a great night!   Can’t wait for the next one, but maybe without the crutches next time! :)

For those of you that are wondering, I’ve torn a muscle in my thigh.

Moral of the story – Never underestimate a 4 year old! :)

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Ok so J has had control issues for what seems like forever but lately these issues seem to be taking over his whole personality!

When J was a baby he would have hour long temper tantrums at 9 months old! We would put him into his travel cot until he was over it …….. yes we tried the whole controlled crying thing and ignoring him until he had calmed down but with J it rarely worked. He just wouldn’t give in and soon progressed to banging his head on his travel cot so we stopped using it………. His first encounters with control!

The control issues soon progressed to things such as food – he would only eat what he wanted to eat, (usually just cheese or cereal), this is still a big issue now. Then he would have a meltdown if we drove “the wrong way home” because of course there can’t possibly be more than one way to get home. This is something that we share control over, at times we purposely drive a different way home, park in a different car park etc and yes we have all sorts of fun and games with J because of it but it’s not as bad as some other “moments” we have to cope with and gives us a little control back :) When games were played or if we went for a walk to the park or somewhere similar it was always by J’s rules and if we didn’t follow the “rules” we had to be prepared for the fireworks that would occur.

He loves doing the smiley chart – he gets 5 smiley faces (or marios thanks to a lovely friend of mine) and then gets a reward that he has chosen. As you can see this is something he controls therefore works with it.  He’s not so keen on the traffic light system that we have now been using for a few weeks, he often has a meltdown when he loses one of his special privileges, (especially computer games), but we are sticking with it because that’s our little bit of control.

However things have started to escalate lately and he now has to be in control of every tiny situation because when he doesn’t have control we have to cope with meltdowns! I get that control is an Asperger’s thing and I get that he has a need for routine and stability but seriously he’s taking things abit too far! He saw a child psychologist last week and it took her very little time to take note of his need for control. He quite simply has to be in control of everything! Examples I hear you ask……. well here’s a few from this week.

For breakfast every morning, (and I mean every morning) J has a yogurt covered cereal bar, (he thinks it’s white chocolate, :) 1 point to Mummy), but yesterday morning I took a cereal bar out of the box and handed it to him, he had a major freak out screaming and shouting at me because…………… he needed to get it out of the box and I had chosen the wrong one!  WHAT!!! So ofcourse I then had to put it back into the box and he took it back out and then ate it.

Jumping on the trampoline he yelled at me because I was jumping wrong and then, still yelling, (just so the neighbours could hear), he proceeded to tell me how we should jump on the trampoline and where I could stand etc…..

When I made his sandwiches at lunch today he supervised me with his arms crossed, (he can’t fold them so crosses them over, it’s quite funny to look at, but ofcourse I’m not allowed to laugh because that then results in yet more screaming, kicking, hitting etc). I was told every step of the way how to make his sandwich………. yes he told me how to butter the bread, pointed out that I had missed the tiniest bit near the crust, you know the crust that he won’t eat anyway, and he told me exactly how much grated cheese to put on his sandwich, after I had cut the slice of bread into triangles so that I could put his sandwiches together right!

When we played on Mario I had to follow his rules……… we’re obviously not allowed to simply play the game!

When he got dressed this morning I helped him to put his top on or I tried to at least……. that was my first mistake! First I should have let him get a shirt out of his drawer because he would have chosen the right one, secondly I shouldn’t have put his top on before his shorts because obviously I was doing things in the wrong order!

This is just a few things I could go on forever, he really does have to be in control of everything!

It’s getting towards the end of a very long year and we’re all tired exhausted and have just about had enough. J seems to be having one meltdown after another and like I say seems to need to have control over everything that happens. Hubby is getting tired and fed up, he comes home at the end of a long day at work to be greeted by J screaming and shouting at him and quite often hitting him ……….. he doesn’t seem to quite grasp the fact that that’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with all day. I’m surviving on about 4 hours sleep every night and lots of caffeine and to be quite honest by the time hubby gets home from work I’m starting to get to the end of my tether. So by 6pm – 7pm ish we’re all pretty grumpy ………. then the bedtime battles begin,  more control issues.

I love J, I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone or anything and I wouldn’t change him for the world but the control issues…… mmmmmmmmmm………. really need to get on top of them, afterall when he starts Prep in January there will be so much that he won’t be able to control, I just don’t know how he’s going to cope.

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This morning we had another trip to Prep arranged and as usual it started as it always does with “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO PREP!” and “I HATE IT!”.  Yep just the usual, I tried to ignore it as I had already prepared myself for this.

When we arrived at the school I decided to show him the Tuck Shop and thought it would be nice for him to buy his own school shirt. He quite happily let me buy him a school shirt and then told me, (once again), “I’m not wearing it though.” – Progress though right? He let me buy the shirt ;)

Then we went across to reception to let them know we had arrived and then Oh Boy did we arrive!! J started with the kicking and trying to escape whilst we were in Reception. The Head of Special Education spotted us and took us across to the Early Intervention Centre and then we went from into the Prep area. Whilst in the playground at the EI centre J was really going for it, ok not a huge meltdown but bad enough and his EI teachers were really surprised, they hadn’t seen the J that likes to kick everything and everyone before, he’s usually so well behaved when he’s there.

Anyhow, we arrived at the Prep area where we met J’s soon to be teacher, who seems very nice, and the advisory teacher, Miss S, whom I met with last week. J simply continued with his wanting to escape and kicking, so I started thinking “yep this is going to be a complete disaster again“…….. I tried to get him interested in using his camera, using my camera and some of the things in the room, no joy.  Then Miss S took out some secret weapons, she had brought with her a couple of sensory toys, one of which was a large squidgy frog which he loved! However he could only hold/play with the frog if he was standing, (he refused to sit on a chair because they were dirty! LOL), nicely and listening to his teacher.  He tried to escape but was reminded by Miss S that if he ran around being silly he would have to put the frog away…….. it worked…….. he listened!! mmmmmm never usually works for us!

When the register was done all of the prep children said good morning, then his teacher said good morning to J and although he yelled it at her, he replied with “MORNING!” and a scowl.  Progress right?

Then the children went outside to play and although he wasn’t overly happy and had one or 2 issues – the slide was dirty, he couldn’t make his body climb the way he wanted to go and so on…. – he actually played in the Prep area!!!  HUGE PROGRESS  right?

We actually managed a trip to prep that lasted more than 10 minutes and he played!!!  WHOOP WHOOP!!  We were thinking of taking him over to the computer block but as he was starting to look like he’d had enough we decided to end on a high and so left.

Then this afternoon whilst he was at EI, his teachers took the children over to the prep area to play at recess and he was ok! In fact his EI teacher spend a little while talking to me about their little trip and I was informed that he even said hello to his new teacher.  Huge Huge Progress right?

He’ll be going on another trip tomorrow whilst at EI and again next week so I guess we’ll see how he gets on. I hope that saying hello to his new teacher means that kind of likes her, (very important). I know it will be very different for him when he actually starts prep, on his little trips with his EI teachers it was just the 6 kids in his class playing, he copes ok in small groups but when he starts prep it’s going to be a very busy, (sensory overloading and lots of change), classroom and playground.  So I’m still panicking about January but I finally feel that we’ve made some progress today!

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Last week this is what J told his Dad whilst they were playing.

We explained a couple of months ago to J that he has something called Aspergers which sometimes people call Autism. He’d heard us talking and he is aware that he’s a little bit different to some other children and started asking questions. So we thought we’d try explaining things to him ……… a little afterall he’s only 4.5 years old, (“I’m nearly 5″ I can hear him saying! LOL), so we didn’t want to overload him with information that he doesn’t need to know just yet. We’ve tried explaining that everyone is different, some people look different and some people are just wired differently, (that was an interesting chat, he pointed out that we don’t have wires in our brains LOL), so they think differently or act a little different to other people.

Anyway, I had a mixture of feelings as I listened to J and his Dad, I was enjoying watching them play when J quite randomly, (as he does quite often) changed the subject and said to his Dad, “I don’t want Aspergers anymore Dad, I just want to be normal!” My initial reaction was heartbreak. Then as I listened to more of the conversation I felt extremely proud of my hubby as he tried explaining to J that no-one is normal and that everyone is different and has different abilities and weaknesses. J responded with “I don’t want to be different anymore!” Bless him, cue tears prickling my eyes. Dad then went on to explain once again how everyone was different and he was perfect just the way he is……..

J then came back with “But I just want to be normal, I don’t want to be different ‘cus I keep having sillies, (tantrums and meltdowns) and then I lose things”  AHA! So this was a reaction to the new rules in our house, when J is aggressive and hurts someone he goes straight to a red traffic light and loses one of his “privileges” (such as computer games, tv and so on), when he has a tantrum for whatever reason and shouts and screams at us, (and others) in a negative way he goes to amber and gets a warning that he has to try to change his behaviour. It’s taken alot of effort from all of us, our days would be forever peaceful if we just gave in or let him play on the computer all the time, wouldn’t they? And they’ve meant alot of new changes for J.  Anyway with the new knowledge that we had hubby took a slightly different approach explaining once again that everyone was different but we had to work really hard at the things we were each good at and extra hard at improving some of the things we weren’t so good at so that we didn’t lose things and instead got extra rewards.  They spent a little while longer chatting about it until finally J changed the subject again, I think some of what hubby was saying to him went in….. I hope so.

 

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