There’s something about socks…

Someone please tell me what it is about socks that can turn a child into a possessed monster?!!!

The kids have been back at school for 2 weeks now, and other than being a little bit tired and a little bit grumpy things have been ok.  All 3 have been thrown into dealing with the changes of classrooms, teachers and routine and have handled it brilliantly.  We’ve had 1 or 2 tiny wobbles but nothing more than any other child.  We’ve even been getting there early!!!!  (trying to get 1 child with autism out of the house on time is hard enough, let alone 3).

So this mornings trip to school was a bit of a shock to the system.  The kids got up fine, had there breakfast fine, got washed and dressed fine – until the time came to put shoes on.  The girls had theirs on but Danny was moaning about his sock not being right (sound familiar?) and before I knew it he’d completely erupted and was screaming and lashing out at anybody that was near him.  The next hour was spent trying to coax Danny out of his meltdown while he hit me, kicked me, threw things at me and screamed for the whole time.  For those of you who haven’t been around a meltdown, think of the most violent tantrum your toddler has ever had and magnify that by at least 10 (or more) and add in the fact that the child attacking you is 3 times the heavier and has a lot more strength.  After 40 minutes of this we were going to be late for school so in the middle of being used as a target for Danny to throw things at I had to ring them and inform them that all 3 kids were going to be late – this in itself causes problems as I’m now going to have to deal with the consequences of the girls routines being messed around and not as regimented as they are used to.  The school were ok and just said to get them there when I could.

After the hour of non stop screaming and hitting Danny was starting to tire so I took the opportunity to get his shoe and coat on – not as easy as you might think -my jaw found this out the hard way when I failed to see a kick coming 😦  but after a few attempts it was done.  Normally I would wait until Danny had completely calmed down but decided against that this morning for several reasons.  The main one being that it wasn’t fair on the girls to have to have their routine thrown out of sync and them suffering because of it and secondly to let the school see him when he was in ‘autistic mode’.  Over the last 2 years I’ve had a lot of dealings with the school because Danny doesn’t present in school and is a model student so when trying to get any kind of help it becomes difficult and the teachers look at me like I’ve made the fact he has autism up (frustrating is an understatement when this happens). 

God only knows what I must have looked like walking up the road, almost dragging my 5 year old (which isn’t easy by the way, I’m 5ft 1 and he’s quite tall and strong for his age) whilst having to protect myself from the constant punches, kicks and pinches as well as having to keep an eye on the girls too, Milly falling over and crying made this even harder as I was trying to deal with Danny and cuddle her- some days I really do feel like an octopus.  As we got closer to the school we had the delight of seeing at least a dozen other parents who gave me a variety of different looks; you have the looks of pity, the looks of horror and disgust that my child is behaving like that and then you get the sympathetic looks.  I was just thankful that I didn’t come across one of the judgmental parents as they would have got the biggest piece of mind after the morning I’d had.

As we arrived in the school office Danny had calmed down and stopped hitting me but was refusing to go in, so while one of the lovely ladies took the girls into their classes for me I had to take Danny (who was now clinging to me) to his classroom.  By this point I was struggling to hold back the tears but the manager of year 1 came over to see us.  This is the first time I had properly met her and I can honestly say that for the first time since he’s been in the school I am impressed with a teacher.  She came over and asked me my opinion on the best way to deal with the situation for Danny.  When I told her that I didn’t think he’d handle it if I left straight away she said that it was fine and then sat on the floor in the middle of the corridor (where he was now lying).  I told her that he had pictures of his favourite game in his bag that he’d done for his homework so she took them out and started to ask him about minecraft.  We managed to persuade him to stand up and move into the reading room and after half an hour of staying with him I decided it would be best for me to leave him as even though he was refusing to talk he’d calmed down and was acknowledging his teacher. 

Leaving was heart-breaking as he was clinging to me and crying.  The fact that it took Danny such a long time to show me any form of affection made it even harder to leave now that he was desperate for me but I knew leaving would be best as he would be getting back into his usual routine sooner.  Walking out of the school was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, trying not to cry walking down the road was even harder though. 

Today is the first day in a long time that I’ve cried at how hard living with autism can be.  I know that there are people worse off than me and that I have it easy compared to others but days like today remind me that all the steps we have taken to move forward can be erased so easily and we can end up right back where we started.

The 2 ladies in the school office (not the one I had an issue with last year) could not have been more helpful this morning and even rang me to let me know that he’d settled down and was fine and when I went back to drop the lunchboxes off (yep I’d forgotten them with all the chaos) checked that I was ok (cue eyes filling with tears again).  It’s just nice to know that a negative experience has turned into a positive as for the first time in a long time I’m now feeling confident about the school again. 

Seriously though, who’d have thought a sock could cause so much trouble???

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15 thoughts on “There’s something about socks…

  1. I really feel for you. I have been in this situation many times. My son hasn’t yet had a meltdown at school but it could strike at any time (today was close). Such small things can set him off but with each experience I get to learn a bit more about him and how best to help him 🙂

    • It’s a really hard one because in a way I’m glad that none of them really show the autism at school, it makes life that little bit easier but on the other hand it’s nice for them to see it rather than thinking your exaggerating what goes on at home.

      You definitely learn from each experience but then you can try something that has worked a million times before and suddenly it doesn’t work anymore.

      How old is your son? z

      • My son is 9. The school thing for me is tricky. I feel like I need to prove that he is a different child at home! He shows his insecurities and sensitivities to a certain extent but they haven’t seen the agrssive and out if control side of him. The most they have seen is the face that clearly shows it has spent a considerable amount of time crying but, I guess, I should be thankful for that. Trouble is it must be incredibly hard to fight your real self jar school just because he worries about how it will look – it can’t be good for him.

  2. My grandson is autistic, and I’ve seen him have meltdowns like that. Usually over something so small most people don’t even know what it is, but to him it’s the huge elephant in the room. Just keep telling yourself you’re a good mom, and keep on keeping on. He’s a special child in all ways.

  3. Hey – I was here 4 years ago and things can and do get easier. My daughter is now 10 and doing so well. Her early years were hellishly hard & I cried most days, whilst trying to hold down an Assistant Headship! She was nearly excluded from her private nursery due to the constant meltdowns and head banging. At one point she trashed the entire nursery and was shut out in the garden, with the rest of the children withdrawn to another room. My heart broke that day seeing her stressed out, sobbing and screaming – her arms beating the patio doors and scratching at herself. I persisted with ASD friendly living – routine routine routine, rewards (minecraft is a godsend) and knowing I loved her more than anything. She now has awesome coping strategies and is doing really well 🙂
    I have chosen to start up therapeutic animal interventions for children and leave full time education -= not least because I imagine puberty my be a bit of a toddler rerun and my daughter is going to need me more than ever!
    Your blog struck a chord & brought tears to my eyes. So often schools don’t cater well for our kids – sounds like you have a great Yr1 manager! Great that she asked YOU how to deal with it – you will always know what’s best. Sounds to me like your a great mum 🙂

    • wow you sound like you had it so much harder than me during the nursery years (although my youngest has only just started so there may still be time!!!).

      It’s really nice to hear that she’s now coping brilliantly, just goes to show that all your hard work has paid off. I’m looking at going into teaching once my degree is finished but I’m worried how the kids will handle it. I’m just hoping I can bring something that many teachers can’t as I’ve been around hidden disability.

      Oh no, the teenage years are fast approaching – I might accidently leave them at my mums house for those years!!! The thought of 3 autistic teenagers with only a year between them in one house terrifies me!

      As for being a great mum, I’m just doing what any of us mums do 😀 x

  4. My heart goes out to you, too. I was a special educator for 31 years and could easily put myself in the teacher’s place in your description. Before reading your original post, I thought this was a sock issue and was going to advise “picking your battles”, let him go to school without socks; but then after reading, saw that this is not a sock issue – it’s an ASD issue – one that many parents have dealt with for many years. Some days are like that in the world of Autism. You made it through that day. Congratulations!

    • yep I survived another day!!! 😀

      Picking the battles is great advice, we learnt very early on to not get too fixed on the small things and save it for bigger, more important issues – generally ones that involve safety.

      At least the world of autism is never dull 😀 x

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