Picking up the pieces… (and trying to keep them all together)
This morning, I woke up late (0830), and went to open Timothy’s door (he has child locks on the inside for safety). He had been busy. His whole room strewn about and the best part: his Thomas the train bed had been dismantled and when I opened the door he was in the process of removing the support beams underneath his mattress! I had to laugh. The boy is smart, I give him that. Now, can he put it back together?!
Back to the story. Where had I left off? Oh yes, the waiting game. I call it that because of the ridiculous “system” that health care has. 1 in 88 children are on the autism spectrum now and Ontario has no means to support them. Its a national crisis really. I digress…..
So Jake and I, who really knew nothing about autism until this diagnosis was thrust upon us, were left to wait and really navigate it on our own. Begrudgingly, I turned on the computer and started researching autism. Funny enough, I was still in denial and didn’t search long. Did looking for help mean it was real?
Thankfully, we did have one resource: a behaviour therapist we were able to utilize in the interim. She was great, she really was. Best of all, she liked my kid. That meant so much at the time. I was unsure how to deal with his behaviours because I didn’t know how to treat him. Were they “autism” related or plain old bad behaviours? I didn’t want to punish something he couldn’t help. I’m not sugar coating here, we were ignorant. We knew nothing about autism or how to deal with it. Autism was like Rain man, wasn’t it? LOL.
So with the ace of the BT in our pocket, things slightly improved. We learned we should treat Timothy the same as our other kids. Make life as normal as possible for him. Easier said than done.
As I mentioned before, it was HARD to take him anywhere. A grocery store strip took planning. I had a backpack of things to prepare for “just in case”. Books, small toys, snacks, drinks, diapers-you name it. By this time, Timothy was 3 years old. We learned later that he may be reacting to sensory overload.
Just for a second picture this. Imagine you are hyper sensitive to SIGHT-SOUND-SMELL. Grocery stores have those uber bright yellow lights. Lots of people. And the noise…cash registers ringing and banging, people talking, walking. Carts screeching and making odd sounds. Weird smells, good smells, bad smells. Starting to catch on?
Many a trip ended so abruptly with him screaming, tearing at his clothes and hitting me that we left everything at the store and had to leave. Lots of times both of us crying. It took about twenty minutes for him to calm down. Often he had to scream it out. When I couldn’t bear to listen anymore he would be segregated to his bedroom. Boy did I feel bad when I became to understand him more but it seemed to help. Cuddles when he calmed down enough to be touched. So I stopped taking him to public places. I didn’t know how to cope with him and the embarassment (at the time). Boy,people are judgemental! One older lady suggested I spank him, others just glared and shook their heads at us.
I won’t lie, I used to be one of those people. When a kid was being obnoxious in public, I would automatically blame the parents. But you really have no idea what is going on with those families. Can they help it? Or are they just trying to do the best they possibly can, like me?