Well, it’s Easter Sunday. The boys have gone on a long bike ride after hunting for eggs this morning. Despite the fact that my son doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny, he was still really excited about Easter and asked if we could please still hide all the eggs for him to find in the morning, and we are very happy that the belief in an imaginary bunny has no bearing on his happiness on Easter morning!
Last week, my son attended OT social camp. It’s a really awesome thing where four kids are put into a seriously multi sensory room with three therapists for two hours every day for a week. All the kids have some kind of processing issue, so there can be some really interesting times at these things! Basically it’s designed to give then practice socialising appropriately in a safe environment where there are trained people who know how to kindly point out what might be going wrong, or help them see better ways to deal with things.
At the start of the week, my son was hiding under the mats, crawling into cupboards and giving a tongue lashing to everyone who didn’t agree with him, or if things didn’t go his way. That’s pretty normal in that type of situation. He did however, meet a couple of kids that he liked playing with, and by the end of the week, not only was he staying in the room and not hiding when his feelings became overwhelming, he was actually starting to calm himself down and try to go with the general flow! That’s always good news! He’s not quite ready to be unleashed on general society yet, but with more practice, he’ll get there. His therapists said he’s making really great progress, and we can see it too. Despite now being on a lower dose of Risperdal than when he originally started on it, he’s starting to deal with things himself.
We have really noticed though how much more sensitive he is with lowering the dose of medication. Everything bothers him now! Tags on clothes, seams on socks, undies riding ‘up’, if I stroke him he thinks I’ve scratched him… that sort of thing. It’s quite annoying actually, and it’s really starting to make Daddy lose his patience, so we just need to give Daddy some time to calm down and get back on track for a bit. :)
I also met some really lovely parents who have two children who were at the camp. We had coffee together and then spent an afternoon at my house chatting while my son and their daughter had a lovely play. It was so great to chat to people just like me, who have recently started homeschooling their autistic son because the school system simply wasn’t meeting his needs. It’s a story I hear over and over again sadly.
With all that going on I was feeling really good going into the weekend. Then yesterday my son came inside with a phone number and name on a piece of paper and said that the lady across the road would like me to call her please. Uh Oh.
I know that my son chats to them and they have a little girl that he likes to talk to and has even been over to their house once or twice…. I thought. So I call her up and she says,
“I just wanted to let you know that your son has been coming over to our house quite a lot lately. I always ask him if you know, and he says that his mum trusts him and that it’s OK. I usually send him back to ask you because I know as a Mother I’d always want to know where my children are. When he comes over he’s moderately well behaved and we don’t mind if he comes over sometimes, but at other times it’s just not convenient and I’d prefer if you could call or text before he comes over please.”
Damn. I was quite embarrassed to say the least. Now I figured out that he must have been popping over there when I’ve let him race ahead of me on his bike during our walks, which means there’s about a 10 minute lapse before I get home as I’m walking. He also admitted that he’d been going over there when I thought he was riding his bike up to the end of the road, which I know takes him about 10 minutes round trip, so I usually allow him to do that. He’s eight, and I don’t see any reason not to allow him a little bit of freedom on his bike. He’s very responsible with roads, and I thought he’d be fine. Sigh. I guess he can’t actually be trusted yet not be bothering people.
I thanked the lady for letting me know, and tried really hard not to feel like she was saying I don’t know where my child is and I should take more responsibility for looking after him. I also tried not to think too much about what ‘moderately well behaved’ even means!
Then I had to explain to my son about boundaries….again… This time I was more specific and blunt.
“You need to understand that other people don’t like it when other people’s kids just pop around all the time. It’s got nothing to do with you personally, it’s just that people like their space and they don’t want to see other people’s kids all the time.”
He nodded, and agreed that he would always ask me in future to text them and see if he can go over for a little bit. The thing is, he’s also hard work, so I feel worried the whole time that he’s not around me because although they know he has issues, I don’t doubt he’ll say or do something that will make them judge him. So then I walk this fine and very stressful line of just not letting him go places without me, or letting go of my worries about it and letting him have 10 minutes here and there on his own with other people. It’s a tricky one. Especially as he just gets really bored being around me all the time.
Hopefully next term will start being a bit different for him as we are really going to start finding more social groups. I’ve now got a lot more contacts for people who homeschool in our immediate area, so that will really help. We may even start being able to do some of the group learning activities that they get up to, just to ease him back into learning when other people are around him. If it doesn’t work, that’s fine, we’ll keep it just for social practice and stick to our workbook schooling at home though.
So there’s the first week of our school holidays! Now I must mow the lawn and get ready to pick the boys up at the other end of their bike ride (they went to Daddy’s work so Daddy can pick up his motorbike and ride that home, while I get the little one and the bikes in the car.) Then there is chocolate to be eaten!
Everyone have a happy Easter.