When he was overwhelmed he would lash out physically. He would hit, throw things, and scry (my made up word for scream/cry).
This morning when he was overwhelmed his lip began to quiver and he went outside to be alone.
I would hold on to him until he stopped. Once he stopped hitting me I told him I loved him and then would gently ask questions until I could understand what was wrong.
I follow him outside and sit beside him. As he drops his head into his hands I see a tear fall. I gently touch his arm – yet give him space. I tell him I’ll wait beside him until he can tell me what is bothering him. He always does…in his own time.
Then and now are common themes in our life…because Tucker has and will continue to develop more positive coping skills. Notice I didn’t say ‘appropriate.’ However he responded in whatever age of life was appropriate for where he was and what he was feeling. I simply try to focus on the word ‘positive.’ It’s much like the difference between understanding a melt-down and a tantrum.
Then and now are present in a variety of ways – not just in his behavior, but in life.
We are leaving soon for a weekend getaway to a nearby (1 hour away) lake. My husband’s family gathers there every summer and it is a ridiculous amount of fun – floating, laughing, eating, boating…all of the best stuff in life. Last year on the trip there was a boating accident.
Then…this accident happened while we were asleep – so none of us were present. We only heard about it the next morning. A boat was going too fast and hit the dock at our hotel. This was a year ago.
Now…it’s the first thing Tucker brought up after he sat in the chair outside. Lip quivering…worrying about what we would do if we were on the dock and the boat hit the dock. Worrying about our boat having an accident. This memory of his is truly remarkable.
Then…we made a logical plan for all of the ‘what if’s’ were bothering him. It does seem ‘nonessential’ to make a plan for a boat hitting the dock – but it IS essential to him.
Now…we have a plan. More importantly – he has a smile.
While you can’t ‘cure’ autism – we have found with gentleness and persistence our ‘nows’ often become our ‘thens.’
Now…we’re off – I’m sure I will have all kinds of adventures to tell you about soon.