This week has been my first week back at uni after having 17 weeks off, so when I finished at 4.30 today I was looking forward to picking the kids up, going home for dinner and a relaxing night of doing nothing. Obviously things never run that smoothly in this house!!!
On my way home I gave my mum a quick call so that she could warn the kids that I would be there in 15 minutes and that they needed to start putting their things away and get ready to go home. When I arrived at my mum’s house the kids had their shoes on and were packing away the paper shields and bracelets that they had made. Somehow in the process of packing away big Danny accidently stood on one of Poppy’s paper bracelets. It wasn’t damaged just slightly crinkled but this led to Poppy going into full blown melt down mode. She sat curled into a ball screaming at anybody that tried to help, distract her or offer her an alternative solution to her bracelet problem. When you have to deal with these episodes frequently you soon learn which ones are going to be easy to break through and which ones are the mega meltdowns that will go on for hours – today was a mega one. So rather than sit and ride out the storm we decided the best thing was to take her home and let her scream it out there.
As we got to the bottom of the path, Poppy began to get more worked up so for her own safety I had to hold onto her arm, if I hadn’t of held onto her that is a very strong chance she would have run into the road. Unfortunately this is not what Poppy wanted and instantly started lashing out at me, pulling my arm and slapping me. In an effort to try and calm her down and prevent her from hurting herself or Milly I picked her up but this resulted in her punching me repeatedly in the face and throat extremely hard. Once big Danny had put little Danny and Milly in the car it was Poppy’s turn, we knew that this wasn’t going to go smoothly but having her in the car was a much safer option than standing by the road.
We got her in the car, where, as expected she refused to sit down and continued to hit me, the screaming never stopping. Both Danny and myself took it in turns trying to speak to her to calm her down, instead she progressed from hitting to kicking. After 15 minutes we warned her that she would start to lose toys as a consequence if her behaviour didn’t stop. We told her we were going to count to 5 and she needed to be sitting on her chair or she would lose her bear (it may sound cruel but it seems to be the only thing that gets through to her sometimes) – by 4 she was reluctantly on her chair, still screaming but the violence had stopped. When we came to put the seat belt on she started to fight again, pulling at the seatbelt and tangling it around her neck as well as lashing out, once again we gave her the same warning and started to count. By the time we reached 5 she was still enough to get the belt on. Still screaming but strapped in and safe we managed to get going an by the time we had finished the short journey home she had calmed her screaming to quiet sobs and the meltdown was almost over. We were very wrong!
Getting her out of the car, she began lashing out again and refused to walk so I was left to carry her up the path and into the house, all the time being hit, kicked and head-butted. I took her into the house and put onto the bean bag in time out, explaining that she had to sit there until she had calmed down and was ready to talk. I left the room for a minute to help Danny bring the bags, coats and kids from the car and returned to the living room to find that instead of sitting trying to calm down she had chosen to pull my curtains and the curtain rail down.
To top the day off, whilst trying to sort out Poppy and the curtain calamity out Milly had put marbles in her sock and hit Danny in the eye with it, causing him to cry and Milly to cry when she got put into time out to think about what she had done. 3 screaming kids really wasn’t needed after a long day 😦
The issue I am having with the whole situation is that I have no idea how to handle her violent outbursts. I understand that it can be a trait of the autism and I understand that she was dealing with the change of me being at uni which was more than likely the cause of the meltdown but what I don’t understand is why nobody is willing to help me or offer me advice. Everybody I turn to for help just seems to brush me off, I have mentioned it to the school who have referred me to a parenting course (which I am going on tomorrow) but after speaking to the lady running it, it doesn’t look likely that they’ll be able to help me with my issues. I have repeatedly contacted the Coventry Autism Support Service (CASS), who either don’t return my calls or visit her at school (where they know none of these problems occur) and tell the teacher that they can’t see a problem with her – they don’t even have the decency to call me to tell me they don’t think there is an issue, if they did they might actually realise that I need help at home. In the 3 years since the first diagnosis, I have never met my appointed CASS officer. I find it disappointing that these are the people who are meant to be there to support families who have children with autism and help them through problems and hard times but it appears that they are only helping families whose children are a problem in the school setting.
Is it really too much for me to ask for somebody who can help or advise me on how to stop Poppy and Danny attacking me? I need to find techniques to deal with these situations now while they are young as it’s just going to get harder as the get older and bigger. I’m already black and blue now, how long before one of us gets seriously hurt as a result of a flailing arm or being kicked in the jaw. Is asking for a little bit of help too much to ask for???