Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just Another Day On The Spectrum

We're going through something right now, which often happens with a child with autism. Moods flipping on a dime, chaos where there wasn't any just moments before, meltdowns for no apparent reason; and you're left not only dealing with the aftermath, but trying to ascertain what triggered the behavior in the first place. What did we do differently? How could this have been avoided?

I never know who is going to come down the stairs when Seth wakes up each morning. And even if he wakes up completely happy, it could all turn sour in an instant over the most seemingly benign things. This is the life and we deal with it.

But when a pattern of behavior emerges and sticks around for awhile, it turns into a real mystery to solve - at least for me it does, with my obsessive "figure it out" personality. I just really feel the need to get to the bottom of what's causing his distress so I can eliminate it, decrease it, or at the very least help him find ways to cope with it as best he can. Having a child with autism is like being a detective 24/7.

A few weeks ago, he began completely coming undone when I took him to his classroom at church. Usually when that happens, we can take a short walk and "even" him out enough to then go to class. That hasn't worked the last two Sundays.

Then Tuesday, he was happy to be going to his afternoon therapeutic preschool and in an instant was clinging to me and screaming that he didn't want to go. I was rattled because I haven't dealt with this for awhile, but knew he would be fine in their care.

Just moments ago, after a perfectly fine morning getting him ready for his Early Childhood preschool, I had to physically put him on the bus bawling. I have only had to do that one other time in two years. Normally he is so excited to run out and get on the bus "all by myself, just like Joel does." I have no idea why we're back to this.

It is unbelievably hard to see your child hurting so much, and you can't figure out why. It could be something as simple as his sock is rumpled in his shoe, or it could be that a friend at school hurt his feelings 5 days ago. Who knows. He cannot yet process things well enough to be able to tell me specifically what's going on. I wonder if he ever will.

It just means that I need to step up his therapy activities; he's obviously disorganized somewhere in his brain, and we need to work harder to get through it. I may not be able to figure out the reason behind it all, but I can work twice as hard as normal to help him get through it. And I can pray for a clue.

In the mean time, if you see us at Walmart, and my littlest dude is coming unglued in the canned soup aisle, just remember that his sock may be rumpled in his shoe and we're getting through it the best we can.

1 comment:

  1. I have to tell you the first time you mentioned the meltdowns in public it changed my way of thinking. I pass that info on to everyone one I am out of with. I see things in a whole new light because of you.