Last night the house was like a battleground.
More like Theodore’s room.
Recently the school he attended has gotten the go ahead to add an extra classroom, which is great because it means more children like Theodore will be receiving the services they so badly need. However, this meant that the classroom Theodore had gotten used to will now be home to another class.
He took the move well on Monday.
By Wednesday, he was clearly upset by this thing he could not change.
ON the plus side first: the new class is bigger, and has more space. He also has a swing right in his classroom. Awesome since Theo loves that motion.
However, there’s everything else. The sink is no longer in the tiny kid-sized bathroom so since Monday Theo apparently has been trying to “push” it back where it belongs. He’s also notice that one door opens the opposite way. Disturbing to his autism and his routines… And that has led to him punching his own forehead.
To combat that his teachers and therapists are trying to catch him before he does any damage (it looks way worse than it is and believe me it’s hard to watch), and are redirecting him.
But he had the same reaction Wednesday night which totally caught us, poor mom and dad, and sisters, off guard. I had never seen a meltdown like that. So severe I actually asked at one point if he was seizing.
He wasn’t. He was just mad and had no other way to express it.
Which then put all of us on edge. But he finally relaxed enough to fall asleep and slept most of the night.
This morning, he lucked out… school was closed so he went to the sitters house. I called his developmental doctor this morning, and they gave me a course of action:
- Give him plenty of visual and verbal cues before bedtime.
- Give him time to explore the room before going to bed.
- Read to him, sing to him, or have his favorite toys on hand to use if he gets upset.
- Redirect him from hitting himself by using his favorite toys/music/etc. but do not restrain him.
- Stay calm.
He actually had a very good day and even ATE during the day. I know this because the sitter told us, but he had much less at dinner time.
But before bed I was exhausted just thinking about what we had to do to prevent another epic meltdown.
Did the visual cues. Got him his meds and got him upstairs early. Everyone joined him in his room to read a story, to say our “Bless Me” prayer, and allow him time to explore his room and get into the bed on his own.
It took much longer than usual, but he got into his bed by himself, soothed himself, and fell asleep.
So what seems like minor changes in our daily lives can lead to such upsetting behaviors in Theodore. It’s not him, it’s that damn autism. But the good news is, we recovered well tonight. And I got some time to be with Theo, one on one, while the girls listened to a story from daddy.
May the peaceful nights continue.