Friday, March 5, 2010

Try not to whine

Okay - let's be honest here.  Autism is tiring - for everyone.  I cannot imagine how exhausted my son must feel at the end of the day after having to filter everything he is hearing, try to conform to the norms of society when he has no idea WHY we do some of them, and then having a meltdown at home.  I know some of the rumbling is just being a 13 year old, but the self injurious behavior and the yelling and bile which comes from him most evenings is wearying.
    A typical evening:  He comes home from school and disappears in to his room or the tub, or dashes outside.  Okay - nothing too bad here.  Call him for homework.  The deal is he starts at 5 pm.  The reality is he usually manages to get started by closer to 6 or 6:30 pm - meaning he will have to stop to eat - if we can convince him to eat what we are serving.  Without applesauce, ketchup and chicken nuggets, there would be many a hungry night for the boy.
   His little brother walks in to ask for something to eat, or for attention, and he will scream at him to "Get out" - it can be like living with someone from the Exorcist!  Often this degrades into punching his own face, or kidneys, or stomach and yelling all sorts of rude things.  Eventually his sister might be called on to keep her little brother occupied, and we might manage to get the homework focus going again.  However, for every problem, every assignment, he needs re-direction as his attention wanders, reminders of rules and axioms,  and a constant adult presence.   As I said, wearying.
    And people wonder why the little one is getting spoiled?  A pretty good kid, he has learned that especially when his elder brother is around, he just has to cry and his brother yells and flees to his bedroom (usually hitting himself as he goes) and suddenly the focus is all on him.   Who do I throw to the wolves?  The elder boy, who has a true disability and needs a great deal more extra time and attention?  The younger one,  who is essentially having the fun and attention of childhood taken from him by the needs of the elder?  The daughter who has to take on so many responsibilities for helping her elder brother to cope and her younger brother to stay safe and happy?  If only it were black and white.

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