Thursday, May 2, 2013

Autism and Behavior in Elementary School

I am not sure whether it is sensory or just defiance. How do we as autism moms know which it is? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess the answer is to try to decrease the sensory as much as possible and see how it goes. 

A little back story. Our son has had numerous incidents of violent behavior. It is really just threats, not a lot of follow through. It is accompanied with really horrible profanity directed to whomever has wronged him. Most often this happens at school. Almost always it is when he does not want to do something that he has been asked to do.

Ninety Nine percent of the time our son is kind, caring, a rule follower, and very empathetic. He really cares for people and their circumstances. The other one percent of the time, he can act absolutely HORRIBLE. It is a requirement that during the one percent times you learn to have a very thick skin. Ignore the hurtful words that he says to you and the violent outbursts, because he really doesn't mean any of it and is very remorseful after the fact.

I am able to do this. I can ignore and not take anything personal that he says to me, because I know the turmoil that he feels about his words later. However, I am sure to be the only one who can do this -other than his father. Even my other children have a hard time not feeling genuinely hated by him during his meltdowns. What friends would put up with this? Will he have any friends as he grows? 

So, back to the question of it being sensory or defiance, which is it? Maybe it is both. Could it be that his daily schedule takes every bit of effort that he can manage? Is he always on the verge or is he seriously just wanting his own way?
Sometimes I can almost see him taking notes in his head on the different things in his class room that are driving him nuts. 
I sometimes relate it to a batter in a baseball game.
The weather is cloudy  STRIKE 1
He was rushed getting ready STRIKE 2
His regular teacher is absent STRIKE 3
.........AND YOU'RE OUT
But perhaps there is a STRIKE 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
That is when the batter throws the bat at the pitcher, pummels the catcher with his fist, and turns to the crowd and flips them off. 
This is his life at school! 

He is almost ten years old. Life isn't going to get any easier from here on out. The next eight years are going to probably be worse. Hormones are going to be devastating to him. God, I need to start praying now for puberty to just go quickly.

So how do we get his anxiety under control or how do we control his environment so these outbursts and behavior don't surface? I would love suggestions. I would love thoughts and prayers heading our way. We have tried pretty much everything. 

He is a great kid. I want him to succeed. I know he will. I just want him to have friends and be able to control himself so that he is not looked at as a bad kid. He is a GREAT kid, but makes some awful choices of late. Looking for answers is not always easy. Loving him is the easy part, no matter how many times I am cussed out. I know that at the end of the day,  I am the constant in his life. I am the one he always apologizes to and hugs me with all his heart. I am the one to remind him that if it be defiance or sensory that makes him make these bad choices, I will always love him.