An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

Autism and Change

As I have shown with my recent posts over on Stripes and Autism, life has been changed pretty drastically around here.  With me being down for the count and unable to do anything about it without someone’s assistance, it has changed what I can and can’t do with and for my boys.  It also has caused a major change of structure and stableness and a loss of familiarity that David specifically has been butting back at for understandable reasons.  Just a couple days after Mark (our new sitter/assistant) left for college, as we were coming down off yet another meltdown and an aggressive explosion of anger, I sat with David in my arms and asked him what was wrong?  I wanted to know if he could voice for himself what was causing him to be so upset and so unstable behaviorally and I thought I was prepared for the answer.

I figured he wouldn’t be able to articulate anything exactly and pinpoint all the root causes, but I still assumed he would be able to say something to the effect of things being different or him feeling different or something.  In a way he did express these things, but he did so with words I wasn’t expecting to hear.  With the tears still on his cheek from the recent crying and the memories of the chill out session I had to help him do (I brace him until he can calm down to keep him from continuing to hurt me or himself), he said simply, “I’m mad at you Mommy!”.

At first I figured he was just still stuck on having to be braced or that he was still upset for having some of his trains taken away due to getting violent again and so therefore didn’t hear or understand my question, so I asked him again.  To my surprise he said the same thing but with a slight addition that clarified he did understand me afterall…

“I’m mad at you Mommy because you can’t move anymore!  I miss playing with you.”

My heart broke into what felt like a million pieces at those words.  I was flooded with a range of emotions from being angry that my body had to fail me to the point that we got into this mess to wanting to cry for how badly it was effecting my kids and everything in between.  I did my best to talk David through how this was just temporary and that it was hard on us all.  I tried reminding him of things I could still do as well, and about some of the cool new things he has as a result of the situation too like the Roku from Grandma for instance.  I wasn’t sure how much he understood, but I am used to that as he isn’t always able to communicate well enough for conversations that break away from his tried and true scripts.

Over the last few days though he has definitely been coming around more and has started finding pride in his ability to help mommy in new ways.  Things like helping bring me water or working with his brother to hold the walker still so I can use it to pull up and transfer myself to the wheelchair and back when needed, etc.  His favorite though I think is getting to answer the door for me, although he is still working on doing that one correctly. lol  I am right here on the couch so I can help with coaching him through and telling the people to come on in, but I happen to be just out of reach of the door knob so I can’t actually open and shut it myself.  (Joshua’s new roll with the door is climbing up and chaining it shut and sounding an alarm for me (he’s a LOUD whiner/screamer when he thinks David is taking over his territory 😉 ) any time David starts to climb up after it as well.

Through it all, things are still no where near the same that we’re used to, but we have regained our ability to work as a team and are making the best of it.  Kind of reminds me of that saying by the three musketeers… “All for one and one for all…” 😉  Proud of my little guy. : )

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