I try and do normal things with my son but I’m slowly learning that he can’t cope with certain situations. Trips out to town have to be planned. If he’s in one of his bad moods, I don’t attempt to take him into shops. It’s pointless even trying. The last time I decided to take him out when he was in one, all hell broke loose. Even when he is in a good mood, I have to watch him every second. So browsing in shops is off limits. I have to know in advance where we are going and we have to be in and out in the shortest amount of time.
Today, I took him to the library. We walked there and it was pleasant but as soon as we walked through the doors he ran about, pushing buttons, grabbing books, NOT listening to me. He never listens to me in these situations, it’s as if I’m not there. He found a number jigsaw and because he loves numbers, that held his attention long enough for me to get some books. I’d wanted him to choose his own but some more children had come in and it was getting crowded so I decided to get going. S* started talking to a child in a buggy but the child turned away from him. We went to check the books out. I gave him his own ticket. There was a queue but despite me telling him to wait, he barged through everybody and slapped his ticket down on the counter. Nobody else existed. He wouldn’t move despite me telling him. You don’t physically grab S unless he’s in danger because that’s when he really kicks off. The librarian allowed us to jump the queue at that point. I think he’d seen enough.. S ran about while I was checking the books out. I was raising my voice giving him simple commands (like I’ve been told to) but I might as well have been talking to the wall. He took NO notice.
Same old looks from other parents, same old feeling of inadequacy as a parent.
I finally grabbed his hand and turned to go. The child in the buggy was behind us. S leaned right into the child’s face and patted her chest shouting “BYE BYE BABY!” The child was physically turning away from him but it didn’t bother him in the slightest. Some people will think it’s cute, S is only 4 years old but my heart sank because one of the observations at nursery is that he doesn’t know how to act socially. The direct quote from the psychologists latest report is that “S wants to be social but it’s as if he doesn’t know what to do”.
He’s my little space invader. To me, he can’t get too close. I love nothing more than to feel his squeezes. It’s OK because I’m his mother but even I can see that he is different. Maybe it’s because he is the extroverted version of me? I used to hang back and observe while S just rushes in. Both of us having sensory issues but reacting differently.
After the library, I’d promised him a visit to the sweet shop so we carried on, although at this point I really wanted to go back home. We’d only been in the library ten minutes but I was already stressed out. He hadn’t been naughty. There was nothing to be gained in telling him that. He doesn’t understand. He had experienced sensory overload and become overstimulated which affected his behaviour. This is what happens. He loses control which can end up in a complete meltdown.
He did exactly the same thing in the sweet shop. There was a lady already being served as we walked in. Despite me telling him to “WAIT” he ran up to the counter and asked for his sweets. The lady serving behind the counter was so good with him and the lady who he’d barged in front of just smiled at me. I said, “I’m sorry”. She kindly said “It’s OK, don’t worry about it”. It’s not OK and I do worry about it. We (S and myself) are judged on a daily basis. Occasionally, you encounter human beings who don’t judge you and it makes a HUGE difference. A smile or a kind word goes a long way!
Recently, we took S and his big sister out to a craft village. Again, this was one of those occasions when we were trying to do normal stuff with him but it was obvious that he was getting overwhelmed. We made the mistake of allowing him to go into a toyshop at this stage. This is where he started to lose it. Naturally, he wanted to touch things, it was a toy shop after all. He went towards a window display and the man behind the counter spoke sharply to him, sharply enough for me to remove S from the shop there and then because I was fuming at the way the man had spoken to my child. I wrote an e-mail to the shop later that night and I explained the situation with S and told him how upset I was. I got an apology and I believe it was sincere. But it’s nothing out of the ordinary to be treated like this.
We have to fill the forms in for the SEN team so that they can all sit down and compare notes after the hospital results are back. We should have a decision by October. The psychologist has recommended that our little boy gets help. I hope that they will help him and us because the other side to my son is the one which melts my heart. The loving little boy. The little boy who pulls his shirt over his face, just to make me laugh. If we laugh at something he does, he will do it again and again. It’s the little boy who runs in front of me, hoiking up his tracksuit bottoms. It’s the little boy who throws himself at me for a cuddle. His loving side is the total opposite to the side that has me tearing my hair out. The side that throws chairs and spits in my face. There is no in between with S.
I read through all these blogs from women with autistic children and I worry that I will fail my son because I’m not strong enough. You have no idea how many times I have relived situations in my mind. I should have told that man face to face that I didn’t like how he spoke to my son. How can I fight this little boy’s corner when I’m socially fucked myself? The words won’t come out or if they do, they don’t come out right. I just feel so frustrated at times…