Ouch. Children on the autism spectrum can have a CRAZY high pain tolerance. In some ways that is good because of the ‘crashing’ (See Day #11 – Crash Into Me) or their tendency to repeatedly bang their head on the floor, wall, couch, chairs, table, etc. They can bounce off things and fall – but they don’t often complain about hurting.
This can also be incredibly dangerous. They may have something really, really wrong – and you may never know. The summer between Tucker’s 2nd and 3rd grade year I was riding on an organized bike ride in our community. This was a special treat because it was during the day. It’s a rarity that we could ever have sitters at night (yes, having the spectrum has a direct effect on your dwindling social life). One of his favorite sitters was staying with him and his sister. Finding sitters that you trust to stay with your children is always a challenge – that challenge is magnified for children on the spectrum. We have had three sitters in his 12 years that I have really trusted. That’s a subject for another post…
I arrived home and she told me that he was laying on my bed. He had tripped over something in the back yard and had a cut on his ankle. I knew immediately that it was probably worse than described. I kindly paid her and she went on her way.
I went into my bedroom and he was calmly watching Spongebob on television. I turned it off and asked him what happened. He said, “I was running and tripped over the garden row maker.” I knew that meant a shovel or a hoe. I told him to stay still and went outside to find this lying in the backyard.
Yes – the triangle hoe. I rushed back inside to find him still calmly laying on the bed. I pulled back the ice pack. Oh. My. Goodness.
Now – here is where it gets tricky for parents. I COULD NOT get angry at the sitter. He told her it was fine – how was she to know? She flushed water over it, put a cold rag on the wound, and then put on an ice pack.
Be warned – this is going to get gross. He had a 1 1/2 inch gash on the inside of his ankle – you know where there isn’t much fat or muscle? The injury was 3+ hours old. I rinsed it again. It was too old to go the ER. I got him a popsicle, turned up Spongebob; and proceeded to pick out pieces of sand, grass, and soil from inside of the wound. Gross. Yes, I picked this out with a tweezers. No doubt, this should have been a trip to the ER. Most children would have been screaming. Tucker? Nope, he just laid there asking me in a calm voice if I was done yet so he could go back outside and play.
Now, of course we have a double-edged sword. He doesn’t recognize if something really does hurt and may overreact at getting bumped in the arm. So, if you are around when he gets hurt and I go running or I continue to ask him – know that I am not being overbearing. Instead, please understand that I am trying to make him really think about if he has pain or not – because he won’t often recognize it on his own.
From the checklist on: http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html
_x_ is not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises, and shows no distress with shots (may even say they love getting shots!)
For more information on the tactile (touch) system, see: