Monday, September 26, 2011
It's Just Not Right
Aaron likes his routines. Unless it's a "cool" surprise, like when our neighbors gave Aaron their old PlayStation II complete with, well, pretty much everything(including two game guitars - TWO!) Yup, to Aaron that was a very cool surprise, a definitely ok break in routine.
We're sharing one car in our house now. One died so now there's just the one to share, and yes, I know how Blessed we are to have even one relatively nice, safe, legal, comfy Subaru Outback (love the Outback - it's name is Yoshi).
This means a not cool shift of routine for him. We have to get him out of bed and into the car at five-thirty am in order to get Ginny to work by six. Then he can come back home and snooze for a half hour or so before he really starts his day, but I'm afraid by then the damage is done.
Now remember that Aaron is high-functioning autistic. Most of the time he seems like a pretty normal(and bright of course) seven year old, if perhaps a little emotionally young. Think seven and a half, going on four and a half or five emotionally. Add to that mix an autistically expect-able rigidity of mindset regarding things like routines, what's ok and right, and what's decidedly Not Ok or "Just Not Right". This makes the crack of dawn disruption of routine a potentially big deal.
Today was our third day of the new thing, hopefully soon to be for him, routine. Fine. Got Ginny to work, him to school, me off to my Dr. appointment across town. I got home about eleven am, just in time to get a "Come to the school NOW" message from his school Principal. It was his first big Melt Down of the school year, now in it's third or fourth week. We did have enough foresight to have our intro to Aaron show and tell meeting with his new teacher less than two weeks ago, so the melt down chair tossing session should not have come as a total surprise to her. Except - we're talking a TOTAL five star no-verbal communication, kicking, snarling, throwing chairs to the floor kind of a Big Ole' No Reasoning With Him Aaron Melt Down. It was a "Room Clearing Event" as they say. That means that what Aaron was doing in the class room caused his teacher to get everybody else the Hell out of the room in a big damn hurry for safety's sake. Not good. Big. Not. Good.
I got there a half hour after his classroom antics, fifteen minutes after the phone call, to find him in the Principal's office, at least sitting unrestrained while the Principal attempted to get him to talk to her. I tried to get him to talk to me. That was a no go on either account. Principal and I had our necessary chat around him(she at least, has seen similar from him before) and I carried him(it's just safer all around that way) out to the car.
Got him home, sent him stomping up to his room, where he screamed incoherently at me for ten minutes before crashing out on his bed. An hour later I got him up, he, still not talking. Two hours later over a peanut butter sandwich I finally got him back to talking again enough to ascertain that there was some issue with his reading worksheet paper which frustrated him. A Lot. (somewhat of an understatement, that.)
When these things happen the not talking at all for a couple or three hours is probably the most frustrating and scariest part for me. Well ok, after I've determined that neither he, nor anyone else, or any expensive school property has sustained significant damage.
There's that irrational little voice in the back of my mind that thinks "What if he's crossed some new threshold?" What if today is the day that will be remembered as "...and he never spoke again"? That would be highly unlikely from everything I've been able to find out from reading, from talking to other parents, and to more than a few professionals of various levels and experience. I mean, normally this kid can not shut up for more than five seconds. Maybe six.
Still, every time he Melts Down Big Time and goes non-verbal, the fear is there.
Later on after picking Ginny up from work, he seemed to flow back into his average evening of being a basically normal seven year old. After his almost favorite dinner of waffles and bacon we went and played some Guitar Hero. He kicked my ass about half the time. Hey, it was only my second time to have ever played, and besides, he needed to win at something today, ok?
Was the real issue behind his melt-down the disruption of his three or four week old routine? We will probably never know. It's just the biggest thing to have changed around him recently, and we know that can be kind of a trigger set up for problems.
OK, so it could be a weird reaction to having been given the neighbor's old PlayStation this last weekend, but he's not really playing violent stuff. He's playing football, bike racing, Guitar hero- OK, one Fantastic Four game(rated E for Everyone). Somehow, I'm not buying that as the fuse, just from my observations of him.
I'm more inclined to believe his emotional stamina or fortitude was compromised by having to get up an hour earlier than his normal six-thirty. And then, something was "Just not right, It's gonna be ALL MESSED UP!" That can definitely be a trigger for him. It's like if this one thing, especially if it's about his performance on something he is insecure about doesn't work, The Entire World will End!(at least for him).
Now he's bedded down all safe and secure. he's very recently been happily playing with some small thing, talking non-stop to Ginny, watching Dancing With the Stars(hey don't judge, now). and he's been as happy as a proverbial clam. Everything in his world restored to equilibrium, to ok, to just fine and dandy.
Until next time.
I have no idea what would be an appropriate music selection for this. Sorry.