One step ahead.

When a big boy like Andy decides he wants or does not want to do something it can be hard to stand in his way. At 9 Andy is strong and powerful. His physical care is demanding at times, as is the fun rough and tumble he enjoys.
We try everything we can think of to avoid direct conflict or the need for physical intervention, while still trying to impose some structure and keep Andy safe. Solutions often have to be quick and inventful. They may often appear unconventional to some but in our lives nothing much surprises us anymore when supporting Andy.
Let me give some examples – the milk cartons in our fridge are often without lids – because Andy takes them to skoosh water on. The bathroom is nearly always occupied by Andy playing at the sink or bath – it’s a strong sensory drive to feel the sensation of the water and admire the way it looks as it flows over objects.
You may observe us in the supermarket with Andy eating his favourite snacks right off the shelf or with Jen or I chasing him down an aisle as he whoops and laughs – we have to pick our battles ( as well as get the shopping!) and a busy environment like a supermarket is not ideal to have a full scale tantrum.
Recently Andy was in and out of the bath all night. He was noisy and hyperactive and as it approached midnight Helen and David were still awake and had school in the morning. We decided to let him stay in the bath to allow his siblings to get some peace and rest. By 3am it was only Andy and I awake. I had work in the morning. I tried to encourage him to go to bed but to no avail. I decided to turn the water temperature down a wee bit to see if it might encourage him to come out. I offered him a drink of orange, with his prescribed melatonin dose in it. This was enough to tip the balance. He came out happily and drank his juice as I dried him. I took him up to his cosy bed and he was sleeping by 3.20am, phew!
All of the above behaviours are however manageable (just!) and allow us to carry out ordinary tasks and get on with life while avoiding upset that could last for some time or escalate to something worse – like self harming or an accident.
Andy’s way of being is as valid as any other person’s and once you begin to understand his autism and developmental delay, tolerance and acceptance will often follow. As he gets bigger we have to work harder to meet some of the challenges. Like all carers however we need a rest every now and then to allow us to look after ourselves.
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One thought on “One step ahead.

  1. I was just thinking how tired I am tonight after a busy day…and then I read your post and was reminded what tiredness really is! Hope you get a better night tonight xxx

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