Not every day is easy when you’re an 11 year old boy with Aspergers Syndrome.
Little man is currently in year 6 of his independent special school. He will be making the move from primary to secondary in just a few short months. Although this is within the same school complex, this is still a massive step in Little mans journey.
Maybe this is why his current teacher is doing a great job to teach the children in her class some effective steps to independence. Every week Little man and his class peers embark on a creative cooking challenge which results in him bringing home some really tasty treats. However last week not only would they be cooking but first they had to go out shopping and purchase their ingredients.
Little man was dead excited and he left the house in high spirits despite having very little sleep the night before.
However at about 2 PM I received a phone call from his teacher. She explained that little man wasn’t feeling himself and was actually quite upset. He had expressed a need to speak with me so I said to put him on the phone. She was right, little man was indeed very upset, he sounded muddled confused and panicky. He repeatedly told me that he didn’t feel right and that I just didn’t understand as something seriously wasn’t right. Normally when the Little man isn’t feeling well he is rather quiet and reserved, so something definitely wasn’t right here!
Now I don’t drive and the school Is a good few miles away from where we live. Little man gets transport to and from school which is provided by the LEA. I asked him if he could possibly wait as he only had one and a half hours remaining until he was collected, this however didn’t go down well and he seemed to become quite erratic in his speaking.
I was quite concerned and it seemed he’s teacher was too as she volunteered to drive him home herself. Yes, I’m not actually used to such kind and thoughtful actions as things in mainstream school were of an extremely different story.
His teacher accompanied by a TA bought him home within about 20 minutes or so, much quicker than I could’ve collected him myself. This I was most grateful for.
Seeing little man and from speaking with his teacher and TA it was pretty apparent that little man had experienced a panic attack. He had claimed several times that he was feeling dizzy and he even asked one of his teachers if there was a possibility of him collapsing.
Little man looked tired and as white as a ghost. His forehead was sweaty and eyes were red, there was no doubt within my mind that this particular panic attack had been caused by his lack of sleep combined with the excitement of his planned day of shopping and cooking with he is friends.
He also had a bit of a tummyache which he had complained about the night previous. Once home he spent quite a while in the toilet something you wouldn’t find him doing while in school. Now in his own environment he seemed to relax and calm down somewhat. Lying on the sofa with a blanket over him, he drifted off to sleep pretty quickly.
Panic attacks are extremely scary for any adult let alone child to have to experience. The mind is a pretty powerful tool and during an attack there really is no reasoning with this tool. How do I know? Because I’ve been there before! My first experience of a panic attack was when I was a teenager. Seriously I thought I was going to die right there on the street and in my panicking state I started requesting that random people call me an ambulance. There is no words to describe the feeling you experience during a panic attack. The sheer terror you feel within. You really feel close to death, at that moment in time you actually couldn’t feel any closer if you tried!
Those who’ve never experienced a panic attack will never know the true extent of how frightening an experience this really is. The whole world around you is moving yet somehow you feel impounded to the ground your body is heavy, too heavy to move, your heart beats faster and you’re hand begin to uncontrollably shake. Your mouth feels dry, it’s hard to swallow even breath. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody especially my own little boy.