All Autism All The Time?

You know how I’m always saying it’s not all autism all the time around here? No? Well, I do say that. A lot. Sometimes it’s all about the NTish WeeOne getting himself into big trouble at school and wondering what int he world is happening here. The WeeOne has a temper.  I think I’ve told you about it before. I say temper, but I really feel like it’s frustration that exhibits as anger. Okay. Splitting hairs. He’s got a temper. We’ve worked with him on all the things we know to do that could possible help him:

  • Breathe in for five, out for five.
  • Imagine yourself using the force to control your emotions.
  • Count to ten.
  • Count backwards from ten.

This kid can meditate six ways from Sunday. But he just can’t control his temper. At home it exhibits as lots of yelling.  We’re not talking about the occasional shout of displeasure. Anytime there is the slightest hint that something won’t go his way, it is histrionics. Of epic proportions.

I thought Bigs meltdowns on his younger years were big. They were, but this kid’s tantrums are nothing short of impressive. Take for example the way he apologizes.  It’s hilarious from an outside of your body experience, but in the moment fairly painful. Picture it: mild infraction against him, usually greatly blown out of proportion on his part. Him:  HUGE reaction. HUGE. Yelling, crying, the works. Then, a mild reprimand for the overreaction.  The fun really starts now. You truly haven’t lived until you’ve had the cutest brown eyed boy scream, “I’M SORRRRY!  WHY WON’T YOU ACCEPT MY APOLOGY?!?! I SAID I’M SORRRRRRRYYYYY!” Insert much stomping and noise as a child of 8 can make.  Yes we’ve ignored. Yes we’ve reprimanded. Yes we’ve used positive reinforcement. We’ve seen a marked improvement at home. Then….da.da.da….

I pull through the pick up line I so often write about on my Facebook page. Big gets in (we’re just fresh off a doozy of a week the week before with him) happy as a clam. WeeOne gets in and immediately starts yelling at me. (No bueno.) I try calmly to tell him to chill out and quit yelling that no one is yelling at him, I need to drive safely there are tons of other cars around. Turns out he’s telling me that he’s in trouble at school. Big trouble. We tackle the unavoidable task of going to the grocery store. (That was fun.) We get in the car to find a voicemail from WeeOne’s teacher.  I call back. Yep. Trouble. Big Trouble.

What I gather is:  at the end of the day, as the kids are lining up to go home, WeeOne “thinks” the child behind him is digging in his backpack.  He physically felt nothing, he just “thinks” the kid is trying to steal from him.  WeeOne turns around angrily, elbowing the child in the stomach, knocking him down and making him cry. (UGH. Typing this out makes my stomach hurt.) We get home, WeeOne is seriously freaking out. This isn’t the I’m freaking out because I am scared of what punishment lay ahead. This is the I am disappointed in myself more than you will ever be freaking out. (Don’t ask me how I know this level of freaking out.) Punishments are decided and accepted relatively well, considering who they are dolled out to.

The next morning, I walk the boys in. Because it’s Thursday (I always walk the kids in on Thursday), and because I need to talk to the principal before she calls me.  When she sees me.  Do you know what she says? “Kristi, I thought I’d be seeing you first thing this morning. I have the WeeOne’s paperwork right here.” She assured me that knowing she’d see me meant she knew I cared and wanted to take an active role in school. (AKA I hover with the best helicopter pilots ever.) The principal and I discussed WeeOne’s punishment, agreed, and I went about my business.

When I picked the boys up, I asked how the boys days were. I was shocked(ish) to hear that the WeeOne enjoyed his day in In School Suspension (ISS); he said “I was able to do my work in two and a half hours, read and concentrate.  It was quiet and calm.”  At first I was worried (like a lot) about this statement. Really though, truth be told, a smaller, more controlled classroom environment would be good for this high expectation having NT(ish) WeeOne. It would be good for all kids.

I worried about all of this so much that I gave myself hives. (What does this say about me? No. Don’t answer that.) I worried that I’m missing something.  I worried that I’m ignoring something bigger. Then I broke down all the explanations (NOT EXCUSES).

  • He’s EIGHT and on a good day gets 15 minutes of outside time at school
  • Full Moon
  • It’s not easy being the NTish Brother of a Kid on the Spectrum
  • Winter-No Recess For At Least Two Weeks
  • Another cold front
  • He’s EIGHT

Don’t get me wrong.  If another darling child such as mine did this to MY kid, I’d be up at school the next morning. I KNOW this about myself.  I also know this. WeeOne is in no danger of becoming Dexter. Do we need to talk to his pediatrician to see if there is an ADD dx or the dx formerly known as Aspergers? Probably. But, in perspective, he’s a good boy who made a mistake. Is it worthy of consequences and discussion, yes! Hives? No.

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