Kneeling on the floor of the hall it took all my strength to hold my struggling son and prevent him from opening the front door. My 9 year old aspie boy wanted to 'leave home'. Apparently he had been so bold that he couldn't live at home any more. He didn't 'deserve to'. It was 3.15 in the afternoon. Smiley's bus was due to arrive, and I had no idea how I was going stop CD escaping when I opened the door to let Smiley in. Who did I turn to? One of the Autie Mums on Facebook, one who 'knows'. She calmed me down and organised help. I managed to get Smiley inside, and then friends arrived, some to hold him, and others to put bolts on the door. He refused conversation, food and drink: a very bad sign as that always makes him worse.
Some four hours later he was exhausted and signalled that he wanted a hug and a drink. But somehow I knew that this was not over. Clearly something had happened at school, but what? I thought I'd sorted everything out the previous day! On Wednesday morning the signs were not good.
The shutters were down, the eye contact was gone, there was no interaction, no cooperation, he was lashing out at everyone and everything, and it was a huge effort to get him to eat, drink, go to school, wash, go to bed.
They say all behaviour is communication, I just wished that this was clearer, because it made no sense to me. What kick was he getting from this carry-on?
He told me that he would cause mayhem if I sent him to school. Well I called his bluff as I don't believe in backing down in the face of threats, and certainly not from your own children! He had to be put on the bus...and taken off the bus. His behaviour meant that it wasn't possible for him to stay in the outreach unit and he stayed in the principal's office all that day. He would not talk about what was bothering him...in fact he barely spoke.
I have a boy who always goes up to bed when I ask. That night he didn't. He curled up in a ball in the hall and refused to move. I tried to talk to him, his Dad tried to talk to him, but still he stayed. So I just sat it out and after four hours he came into the kitchen and pointed up to his room. There was no other communication.
Thursday saw another meeting at the school, with the Principal and two of the outreach unit teachers. We went over everything. It seemed that he was not entirely happy about the changes put in place on Monday and then a very small incident in the school on Tuesday upset him. Upset him? Talk about a total overreaction. The teachers even mentioned 'selective mutism', which I found very scary. Then we called in CD, discussed further help for him and tweaked his school timetable. He was asked to confirm verbally that this would sort out school for him. And eventually, he managed to say 'yes'.
I thought they were fairly small changes, and was on edge to see what would happen next. But he got off the school bus by himself and was calm at home. I dared to hope that things would get better. The local autism services are now aware that there is a problem and have promised to take action.
By Friday morning I could breathe again, and he woke up on Saturday with a smile on his face.
Yet as I write this he wanders into the kitchen with his head down and shoulders slumped. "What's wrong?" I ask. "I'm fine," he says. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what this week brings. The rollercoaster goes on.