Monday, 25 October 2010

Dealing with the difficult days

I'm anxious that my blog doesn't come across as an unrealistic portrayal of life with autistic children! Some things are really tough and we have really difficult things to deal with at times.

I hate the phrase 'Challenging Behaviour' (although I do use it to get my point across to professionals!).  I worked for nearly 10 years as a residential carer with children and adults with learning disabilities and this phrase was always bounced about without much thought for the 'why?'  To me, challenging behaviour is what happens when someone can't communicate to others what they need or feel.  When you have a baby and they cry, you tend to work through a mental checklist of 'hungry?', 'nappy change?', 'teething?' etc.  Sometimes there is no explanation that you can identify and those are usually the hardest times.  Its much the same with the behaviours we deal with.  We have to try and work out what the problem is because our lads usually can't get that kind of message across.

So how do we deal with the days when something is wrong but we just can't get to the bottom of it?  I don't have a magic wand to make it all better, wish I did! I do get stressed out by it at times but I've learnt to keep a few things in the back of my mind that sometimes can work.  They are usually distractions into 'loved' activities.  Simple things like a car ride, a walk, blowing bubbles all work for us on occassions but I guess the 2 main players here are music and our trampoline.

A jump on the trampoline with mum often does the trick and I just do not know where we would be without the love of music in this house.  We had the most horrendous visit to the dentist the other day (there is, I think, something that Charlie really does not like about the new waiting room) and managed to calm the situation with some Patti Smith on my mobile phone! At home, putting some music on loud and having a crazy dance around usually does the trick. Both boys really do like music but I think the deeper significance of how it calms them is that we love music too.  It relaxes us at times when they are wound up and a relaxed parent is more likely to equal a relaxed child I think.  We are lucky to have something so wonderful we can share with our children.

This morning, I was woken before 5 a.m. and have spent the last hour switching a flashing pumpkin light on and off for a very tired and grumpy boy.  I'm keeping this toy in the cupboard to bring out for such occassions and I guess it's what made me think about writing this post!

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