Stress of a Different Colour
About two weeks ago I was sitting in the living room playing with some photos when I heard Colt making a strange noise. I went to see what he was up to and found him watching a video on his iPod, lying on his bed, making a noise that sounded like a sigh crossed with a word.
“Huhn. Huuuhn. Huuuuuuh! Huhn” over and over. I asked him what he was doing and he didn’t seem to know.
A week passed and I started hearing it more and more. It got to the point that he was *never* quiet…watching his shows or playing with toys, he kept making the noise constantly. I brought it up two weekends ago.
“Sweetie, what are you doing when you make that noise.” I asked
“I dunno” was his (standard) reply.
“Well, I know you’re not meaning to do it but it’s very annoying to others who are in the room. Could you try maybe humming a song instead?” I thought I was being quite clever, but, in the end all it did was change the sound of the noise.
“Hum! Hum! Hum!” he would day. I tried to correct it several times but then thought I’d better look it up in case I was treating it the wrong way.
Apparently, even though Colt had very few stimming routines as a little one, they can develop any time for people on the spectrum. This is what he was doing…making a sound over and over to calm himself when overstimulated. That said, he didn’t seem overstimulated but, I’m not in his head and he’s learning to hide some of the things he feels now that he’s nine. 😦
Of course, I found out that drawing attention to stimming behavi0urs only seem to make then worse. I stopped, of course, and told D what was going on. For some reason, it really upset both of us. It’s one of the most harmless behaviours he has and yet, it made us so sad. It’s just another thing about him for kids to pick on now. It makes him more different than he was…less like his peers. I wish there was a way to help him stop.
We made sure to keep things calm at home, built a visual schedule for household routines (time for iPod/iPad/ time to eat/sleep/bathe etc. He works off a visual schedule at school and does well when he knows what is coming next. Rather than just letting him detach when he gets home from school (I used to think he needed the mental break) he can stay engaged with a routine. It will only help all of us, really…should have done it years ago.
As the anxiety decreases for Colt, the noises calm down. I’m hoping I can find something for him to fiddle with in his fingers or spin around in circles….anything to make the behaviour more physical and subtle. I’m not sure these things really can be adapted to environment though so it may be wise to just ignore it and see what happens.
That was where I left the though yesterday, but then last night while he was unwinding in bed (he goes down an hour before bedtime so he can decompress, play quietly in bed or watch his videos on his iPad – he gets the warning call when he has 15 min left then all of the distractions are removed so he can sleep) he was making such a racket.
“Ah-Haaaaaah. Hum! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba Hum! Ah-Haaaaaaah. Boop boop. Ahhhhhhh.”
I couldn’t sleep around it. Eventually, in frustration I yelled at him. “Jesus Colt!! Be quiet and SLEEP!” I felt so bad immediately afterward though, I had to go apologize and let him know that it wasn’t his fault and that mom was just cranky from no sleep that night. He forgave me. He always does. Of course, the noises got worse after we talked until he finally fell asleep around 2 am.
Not sure how to cope with this one. I thought, for a terrifying second, that he might be developing some form of Tourett Syndrome . A co-worker of mine has an autistic child who had that co-morbidity. It was the worst part of things for them. Her son would start screaming filthy words all through the day…she didn’t really like to take him anywhere because she hated everyone staring. When I got the call about the “F you F you F you!!!” crap Colt was pulling on Monday my heart just about dropped to my toes. Autism, anxiety, developmental delay, sensory overload, routine oriented child rearing…all of these things I can handle but to have a child who screams out curse words without being able to stop? Holy god I just don’t know if I could handle that. First off, the PTSD kicks in and I start to panic. I do not like attention drawn to me in public…never have liked it. For Colt I dislike it even more now. I just don’t know how to cope with suspension threats when he’s obviously acting in a way that is not acceptable. That said, I think it’s their responsibility to ensure he has the tools he needs to be successful. Punishment won’t work for him…he needs direct instructions and I’ve been asking since Sept to pair him with an older child out on the playground…someone who can mentor him in peer relationships some. Anyway…I was quite glad to hear his side and to know that he had a reason for being so angry and yelling the F word. The “I’m going to kill you” came from television and from all the other kids. I’m not sure how he is meant to know all the rules when everyone else is allowed to do the things he is not. I mean, come on. He wasn’t actually going to kill the kid…he doesn’t even understand what “kill” means. :S
Stress. I’m rambling. Sorry.
*Big sigh* So that’s that. We’ve tried to let him know that he has to walk away when he feels angry so he doesn’t’ get into more trouble. I’m not sure the strategy will work but it’s worth a try. I also asked if he could shadow one of the peace keepers (a program they put in place to stop bullying – kids are empowered like hall monitors used to be in our day. Letting him be the one to help restore order and standing up to bad behaviour will maybe give Colt the info he needs to understand. I’ve emailed them and am awaiting a reply to see what they think of this idea. Will see how it goes. At least they are following his IEP this year. *rolls eyes*
The nightly sweats (and through the day too) are going full blast. I slept only in small pockets last night, waking every while freezing and soaked in sweat. I had a polyester fluffy blanket over me and it created a heat wrap, almost. I’d get up, peel off whatever item was bothering me the most, get a new blanket, throw my sopping wet clothes in the laundry, try again. Eventually I got smart and took two bath towels to bed, one over me, one under me. I slept at that point for a few hours before the alarm went off.
D did try to wake me to go to bed. I wanted to but I was so cold and soaking wet…I didn’t want to lie next to him and sweat into our shared bed. He’s not slept beside me in years and years…don’t’ want to make it horrible for him. lol. He did lean in to give me a kiss on the forehead but my wet, ringleted hair stopped him short. This will be my life until my next period comes and goes. Hate this time of the month. When I see my doc tomorrow I’m going to ask for a birth control pill. Might as well give it a try right? What’s the worst it’ll do? Kill my sex drive and make me what? Bitchy all the time? Yay for D….poor fucking guy. I really don’t know what to do.
Pain is the same. Not crippling but constantly driving. I’m always tired to the point of passing out this week…can’t seem to shake it at all. Doc’s tomorrow though. Must just make it until then.
So that’s the news. xx Still alive. Still kinda miserable. Hopefully, better days are just around the corner.