Monthly Archives: January 2016

When will it sink in?

 

A bad day with darling boy, something happend this afternoon and he became utterly uncontrollable. As his parents we have been under immense pressure this past fortnight, living at the whims of other people, money, work, weather, whatever it’s not important. What is important is how we dealt with it. That is to say not very well at all. But it’s created a need to try and process it so I can hopefully get some sleep before work in the morning.

When you’re handed a diagnosis of a young child, sometimes a baby in our case a toddler it can be overwhelming, daunting, frightening and a host other negative emotions but really if you’re taking about an autism diagnosis not much changes to begin with.

Sure a lot of things make sense, you begin to understand why, you have a reason or an excuse for so much, but other than a series of meetings if your child is under 2 there’s not an earth shattering change to your life. They still need to be fed, and have their nappy changed, you play and teach and put them to bed and hope to all things they’ll actually sleep much like any other kid their age.

The insidious nature of darling boys variation of autism means it takes a while before it dawns on you, the enormity of life as you know it. When they’re 3 and off to preschool and lining up the crayons while their teacher aide tries in vain to get acknowledgement. When they’re 4 and the goal for the year is to touch a piece of fruit at snack time. When they’re 5 and supposed to start school but you’re waiting for funding applications. When they’re 6 and still pointing to everything they want because there’s no language yet, When they’re 7 and you’re wondering if they’ll ever be toilet trained and what are you going to do when they no longer fit the cheap nappies. When they’re 8 and they’ve never been to a birthday party and have no idea what Christmas is. When they’re 9 and still watching Bob the builder and Thomas the tank engine. When they’re 10 and you can’t remember the last time you had a night to yourself because they no longer sleep. when they’re 11 and refuse to wear clothes around the house. Gradually year after year it’s reenforced, but still the enormity of life to come doesn’t quite sink in.

As he gets older the gap between him and his peers grows and we begin to really feel the massive weight that is raising a boy like Boo. Or nights like tonight when the last thing we had time and energy to deal with was him, being…him. We needed a nice quiet calm happy self involved child that was perfectly content to watch little red tractor on 4 different screens at once so we could prepare for a house inspection in the morning. What we got was a screaming, out of control, hyper-manic, over-demanding, rage monster that smashed through the bathroom wall we had fixed only hours before. Because the dog touched him.

We needed someone to, take him for a few hours or somewhere to send him just to get the jobs done, if only he could have gone to a friends house or hung out with an Uncle or Aunt or Grandparent even. Kids his age are going to the movies or the swimming pool by themselves. That gap is right there, it’s in our face screaming. Your kid isn’t like other kids. Seeing, watching, hearing. Your kid is different

There’s no time for bitterness, and no point. Sadness yes, but envy, jealousy? No. I don’t know what shape life is forming into, I can’t quite make it out I’m too busy sculpting it.I can guess how it will look, but life has a habit of changing the game before you even see it coming. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but it’s never what you plan for it to be.

But we’ll ride it together, darling boy and us.


Going through it.

Sometimes you just have to go through it. I found myself saying this to a person at work today. “You just have to go through it” We were talking about darling boy and the violent rages he suffers from. Work guy said to me “yes but you see a pyschologist about it though” Telling me, not asking me.

I was gentle but honest and honesty is scary because what happens sucks. It’s horrible, awful and frightening but it happens. If darling boy was any other kid or person or even an animal  things could be done. But he isn’t. He’s an intellectually disabled 11 with severe autism and as such I just have to go through it. And there’s nowhere to go and no one to turn and very very few that truly understand what it’s like to have no choice on earth other than to just go through it. And that’s ok.

Let me try and explain if I can.

First there’s the trigger. It can be anything,spilled drink,the dog barks, the website doesn’t load, I ask him a question, he gets a fright, someone interrupts him, he’s decided something.It doesn’t matter. The triggers are there, 100’s of them. So the trigger falls. BOOM. And we’re off. Screaming, slamming doors, throwing things and worst of all the hurting.

He’s a big boy. Same height as me now. And he weighs a fair bit too.Nowhere as much as me but then again according to the doctors I’m far too fat. Whatever, it’s essential padding. The violence can last for minutes or he can come back time and time again for hours. Sometimes I lose track. Doesn’t matter. Ripping my hair out by the handful hurts the most but mainly cause he does it so often my scalp is so bruised and sensitive. I get phantom pains now, like an amputee, at least I hope that’s what they are, phantom pains and not signs of something more sinister. Pinching my belly,under my arms and breasts also hurt a lot. He did it once and I really yelped in pain and he remembers now and tries to get that same reaction. Those pinches though, he uses his whole hands both of them,like you would to squeeze water out of a sponge. He’s got big hands.

There’s more, kicking, headbutting, a kinda punch he does, biting – that’s new, one where he squeezes on either side of my head, in each temple, those big strong hands. Grabbing and scrunching my face like it’s scrap paper. He’s only 11 but those big big hands.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I just have to go through it. It’s a cycle you see. A shitty, crappy, rotten, stinking, godawful cycle. We’ve spent years working with doctors, with therapists, with medication, with teachers, with anyone we have access to trying to understand but no-one does. Why? Why does he feel compelled to hurt,why can’t we interrupt his cycle, why can’t we redirect him? All questions, no answers. And there doesn’t have to be answers

Doesn’t matter sometimes you just have to go through it.

Bruises, broken teeth, scratches, concussions, hairline fractures and plain old pain. We’ve had it all. It’s not only me, sometimes dadda, or occasionally even his teacher or caregivers. But we’re not perfect, we don’t get nominated for sainthood here. Sometimes we have to fight him off, it’s awful. You know anything you do will make it worse but there is no option. We’ve checked, we’ve asked, we’ve protected ourselves as best we can but there is next to nothing we can do. No special technique,no martial art hold, legally I can’t be taught to hold him safely because it’s illegal for a single person to restrain someone. Its not considered abuse when we drag him off ourselves, hold him on the ground, push him away. It’s a form of self defense. We don’t always get it right, sometimes we’re so hurt and tired we do everything wrong, we scream and shout and lose the plot and do all those things the perfect parent brigade tells you is damaging and harmful and  we do it because there is no right thing. So we get hurt. And we just have to go through it. Let it flow allow him to complete his cycle of hurting. He knows it’s wrong, he says sorry when it’s over, but like us. Darling boy just has to go through it too.

And after? When he’s stopped and he’s crying and saying sorry mumma and rubbing our sore bits better?  We hold and hug and reassure. We put on our happy face and smile because he needs us to be happy. We wait until he’s calm and satisfied and then, then it’s time for us, time to ice the bruises, assess the injuries, take a breath and carry on.

And that is the now, when he’s a child, only 11. What about the future?

Yes I know “he’s only going to get bigger” And our options then are as they are now. To wit, nothing. Well, nothing productive, Call the cops? They’re not trained to deal with kids like darling boy. They’ll be the first to admit that. There’s nowhere to take him. Hospitals can’t deal and there’s no reason to have him there, so short of throwing him in a padded cell what help will he get? There’s special needs homes of course but if he’s too violent they can’t have him. Besides the risk of abuse is astronomical, already at 10 years old he’s been assaulted by a paid trained caregiver because he was violent. So it’s going to have t be us. And yes we’ll be older, and he’ll be bigger and everything that goes with those ideas keep us awake long into the morning. He’ll be eligible for a benefit, if they still exist in another 7 years. In 5 years we have to trot off to court to be appointed his legal guardians and take on the enormous responsibility that is raising an adult with a childs’ mind. Maybe we’ll be able to afford to buy our own home. I hope, I dream we’ll be able to afford that. Maybe in a quite village somewhere, where people will recognized darling boy and not judge or stare or literally throw stones like they do now. A house in the country with no neighbors to upset when he screams and yells. Where we can create a safe haven, with happy spaces with swings and tramps and swimming pools and dvds and the illusion of independence. I beg daily that this our future.

So why write this entry? For what reason? Pity? Sympathy? No they’re emotions that have no use, I write this to illustrate our reality. And to explain why I told this worker “I just have to go through it” That’s it just to explain, and to say please don’t admire us, don’t admire our courage. don’t put us on a plinth and tell us we deserve this adoration or that one. If you have to say something, try a variation of I’m sorry that happens to you and I can see how much you love your family.

And thanks, thanks for reading and trying to understand.

Peace.