Monday, September 19, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
What do you do when your 6yo kicks in your door, as a result of escalating frustration because they were told they can't have the iPad?
This happened when my Son was with our childminder recently - I was gutted when I got a photo of our broken door and a voicemail telling me what had just happened. Even so, it reminded me of how far we have come as it has been a couple of months since we last experience a meltdown.
Imagine being in an emotional state that you can't get out of, where you are so worked up that you are no longer in control of your actions. You are beyond listening and your brain is just screaming NO.
This is a meltdown - a state that many children with autism experience, often as a result of anxiety from an underlying trigger.
At its worst we were experiencing meltdowns 3-4 times a week.
Meltdowns have been one of our biggest challenges for the past couple of years, and has often resulted in damage to the house and toys or lashing out at people close by. At its worst we were experiencing meltdowns 3-4 times a week. Every day seemed to be filled with challenging behaviour and I didn't feel like I could cope with looking after our Son.
So what changed?
We are more aware of the situations that are likely to cause anxiety and how to avoid them, he is now in a school where he can get the support he needs, and we have also have got better at managing his anxiety using several strategies to avoid meltdowns.
I am thankful that we can now largely avoid getting to this flashpoint by managing his anxiety
Now I just need to work with the childminder to help her understand more about what is likely to trigger meltdowns, and what strategies she can try to use to avoid situations like this in the future.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Our relationship with school could be described as rocky.
A year ago we faced the start of the new school year without a school, and three months later there was an emergency EHCP review and a request by the new school to move our Son to a special BESD (Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties) school.
This year we have a school, and I have been thinking about my hopes for the year ahead.
My hopes for the year ahead include:
- Staying at the school: after 3 schools in 2 years, I really hope that we will finish the school year in the same school that we started
- Building school relationships: we have learnt the hard way how difficult things are when you don't have the schools support, this year I want to build strong relationships with the school so that we can collaborate together to support my Son.
- Making a friend: my Son desperately wants to make friends, however his difficulties with social communication and interactions means that he struggles to make connections with his peers. Making a friends is one of my greatest wishes for my Son.
- Writing a paragraph: writing has always been a struggle as my Son has always resisted any attempts to get him to write. He is capable of writing and has written simple sentences, he just chooses not too. I am looking forward to reading his first written story, as he has a great imagination.
- Less negotiation: any request to do something is usually countered with an attempt to negotiate the request, and a good dose of resistance & avoidance. Less frequent negotiation will certainly make my daily life a little easier.
- Some consideration: emotional self-regulation and theory of mind are two key areas that we are focusing on to support my Son's needs, any progress in my Son's ability to self-regulate his emotions and consider other people's points of view will be a major milestone for us.
Fingers crossed, this year our school relationship is a little less rocky and lot more positive as we build on the progress that we started to make at the end of last year.