A Dad's Journey

Father of Autistic Twins Speaks Out

Browsing Posts in aggressive behavior

Michael and Sean entered high school yesterday.  Both boys seemed pretty good with the idea of returning to school.  Sean, in particular, seemed rather enthusiastic about having additional structure in his life.  In fact, both boys had “an amazing morning” on their first day.  Not too surprising, as both boys try very hard to please.

But…

Then came lunch time and Sean had to walk past a couple hundred loud happy kids enjoying their first luncheon of the school year.  And that’s when Sean had a meltdown.  I can only imagine how his brain must have short circuited and how his anxiety level increased with every step he took.  From there, it was full out restrain time, including the assistance of his personal aide and one of the high school football coaches.  For a kid who only weighs 128 pounds soaking wet, Sean is amazingly strong.  I guess that’s what adrenaline will do for you.

Anyway, the call came from the nurse around 1:10pm alerting us that there had been “an incident” as Sean was walking past the lunch room.  To the school’s credit, they didn’t try to merely sweep this under the carpet.  Instead, they plan a successive approximation strategy where Sean will slowly but surely be reintroduced to the same lunch time situation.  Susan and I are very much in agreement with this plan as Sean will need to work on his coping skills if he’s going to find a fulfilling vocational work experience when he reaches adulthood.

Being a typical dad, I spent yesterday afternoon searching the Internet trying to fix the problem by looking at anti-anxiety drugs for an autistic teenager.  Of course, there is no panacea.  Drugs like Xanax and Zoloft come complete with multiple side effects and long term addictive consequences.

So today, I wait for the phone to not ring.  It’s only 12:33pm.  The next hour is going to move very slowly.

Image result for teenage boy autism anxiety

This has some potential:

The exact nature of very real and arresting ‘meltdowns,’ or periods of stimulation overload, is unique to each person living on the autism spectrum, but the inexperience and extra challenges of childhood can make them particularly tough for kids to work through. The team behind Reveal, a new wearable for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), wants to start putting emotional and environmental control back in families’ hands with mood-monitoring data that can help anticipate meltdowns before they happen (and even prevent them).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2016/06/14/wearable-for-kids-with-autism-may-help-predict-avoid-meltdowns/#577b8f2c7a24

reveal-cover

Great article in NY Times that separates the world of the autistic from that of the psychopath.  They ain’t the same guy.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/10/04/responsible-autism/16749633/

A touching story from The Cincinnati Enquirer on one family’s struggle with their son’s autism.

And I mean that literally.  My son Sean has become increasingly aggressive.  This morning when the bus arrived, I opened his door to find out he had removed his socks and shoes AGAIN!

I had Sean sit on the bed so I could put on his socks and shoes for him.  I was clearly upset, he wasn’t happy and WHAM!  He nailed me a good chop across the temple that sent my glasses flying.  He then retreated, apparently expecting my response, which actually took all the anger out of me.  I put on the footwear and he got on his bus, in a suprisingly good mood.

I was thinking that if I had let that moment affect me, perhaps the way it should, it would have ruined both our days.

As they say, turning the other cheek, while a very hard thing to do, was clearly the right thing to do.

And maybe, just maybe, there was a lesson learned there for Sean and that aggressive behavior won’t accomplish anything.

And of course, when people ask me, how Sean is doing, I’ll say, he’s doing just fine, because he is a work in progress.