Tag Archives: services

My Child’s Diagnosis Didn’t Give Me Depression! The SEN System Did That!

7 Apr

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Its funny, Just recently I found myself engaged in conversation With a fellow parent at my daughter’s school. We were discussing depression, a subject I won’t hide from!

This parent reads my blog and is aware that depression has sometimes been a part of my life… More so than not.

So, if I’m ever asked a question I will try to answer it openly and Honestly. I’m not ashamed to say… “Yes I had depression” Why should I be? So, Having engaged in conversation for at least five-minutes with this lady I suddenly came to realise that there was some type of crossed wires on her part in regards to a depressive episode I experienced around 3 years ago! This started me thinking… Does everybody think the same way?

So I wanted to explain something, and do so very clearly! My son’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome didn’t bring out any episode of depression within me. My child being on the autism spectrum has never actually left me feeling depressed! However, what has had me running for the antidepressants is that of the things that come with that diagnosis (like it being stuffed in a brown envelope and shoved in your hands). I’m not talking in relation to little man’s autistic traits, his sleepless nights or sudden angry outbursts! I’m talking about the battles to get others to sit up and listen. Basically, It wasn’t my child’s Asperger’s syndrome that depressed me it was the system in which I now found myself battling with.

You think a diagnosis is going to change thinks. The right help and support will come and be handed to you on a plate… Well dream on, it most certainly won’t! I learnt almost instantly, that for some, my sons diagnosis wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Over the years I’ve come to realise that being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum makes you a stronger person. It gives you fighting power, the type you never even knew you had! Because when your a mother its not only your job to ensure your child has everything they need to lead a full and happy life but the love you have for them that drives you. Almost any mother can relate to this regardless if their child is autistic.

Battling schools for appropriate educational services, educating society about autism and getting your child’s voice heard is all part of the package but it doesn’t necessarily mean its going to come with instructions, and I guess it was this aspect of his diagnosis that hit me the hardest.

Being told little man had Aspergers Syndrome was hard, I can’t deny it! No matter how prepared you think you are, you never are… Not really! Even when you’re told by specialists that its almost a certainty and you’ve therefore done all your own research and have reached the conclusion that “Yes, they are right… you can see it too!” I guess its because it makes it all the more definite, more final! But what must be remembered is that little man was the same child he had been the day before receiving a final diagnosis and I wasn’t depressed then!

Its all to easy to assume that the giving of a diagnosis is the reason why a mother crumbles and starts suffering such conditions as depression. What one must remember is that its all that comes after… The fight to make others do the right thing by your child, its this that can really drain your energy both physically and emotionally.

So if your about to receive that final slip of paper enclosed within a brown envelope, then brace yourselves… As the battle begins.

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Failing to regulate one’s own emotions

14 Feb

I’m the type of patent who likes to embrace her son’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, though there are days, when I fail to focus on any positives, these long hard days filled with meltdowns, the explosive type, filled with rage and a good degree of violence!

Violence used to be a huge problem back when Little man was between the ages of 7-9 years old, however, with a lot of work we managed to get his explosive ways under control, and although he has always hit his younger sister, this become less frequent and manageable. I myself used to be his punch bag and with some two years since he had hit out at me, I thought this milestone had been well and truly achieved.

Since Little man turned 11 on the 1st October 20211, things have once more turned nasty and have progressively become worse since. Having seen the huge reduction of such violent and challenging behaviour outbursts over these past 2 years, their return has simply knocked me sideways and I’m completely at a loose on how to fix this!

His violent ways often spring without warning, leaving myself or his little sister in the firing line. Strangely, since leaving the mainstream school and receiving a full education alongside his peers, in a place he is far more happier, this violence has grown worse at home! he went through so much at mainstream, he was isolated, excessively excluded and sadly discriminated against, yet despite this he didn’t become violent towards me, though he did self harm on a few occasions! So why now? School life seems good, it is terribly frustrating that he is now in the right educational setting, yet another issue as serious and worrying as this should arise! There is no bullying and I know that he happy at his new independent special school, so why?

His not 7 anymore, his a reasonably sized 11-year-old boy who can pack a pretty impressive punch! This is a child who despite his nick name, ‘Little man’ is now almost as tall as myself! My son is now, taller, stronger and about to experience a flood of hormones… if not already!

Lately, meltdowns have been highly explosive, his jackle and Hyde personality takes over without warning and my usual tools of redirection that I’ve created over the years, are sadly little use, if any at all! The Switch in mood is so sudden that I now struggle to see it coming, I cannot decode a trigger, something I would have once described as one of my talents! I usually see the forming of a dark cloud building and as a result, I am often able to clear it quickly! Sadly once more, myself and his sister have become his target when frustration reaches its limits… I have found myself jumping in the path of his blows to protect my daughter and regrettable, just recently she tries to return the favour 😦

Thursday the 9th February 2012, Little man was sat at the PC, writing yet another one of  his business plans for when he reaches adulthood, a calm presence filled the air and everything was… well, fine!

Suddenly, Little man unplugs my iPhone which happens to be charging, I tell him this and politely requests he replugs it in to the extension lead, while reminding him he should ask if he can use the extension in the future! This didn’t go down well, shouting and screaming he tells me to F#*k off and plug it in myself as it’s my charger!  I actually did this in the end, as not to fuel this any further! However two minutes later and for no apparent reason whatsoever, little man randomly switches of the TV which his sister is watching! I ask why, to which he states, “if I can’t do what I want, she can’t watch TV” This was all the crap I needed! Already feeling quite unwell, as if a ton of bricks lay on my chest, I told him I wasn’t in the mood as I felt reasonably unwell, to which he continued to refuse. Getting up, I head to the TV , Little man runs off to which I presumed he was heading for the extension lead to once again remove my charger… Like this was now a game! Though actually, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Suddenly as the TV screen flicked on, I felt a pain fly up my back… No bloody way! Turning my head slightly, my fears were confirmed, stood behind me was little man who had just punched me in the centre of my back! Feeling so angry I ordered that he went to his room, now I know I should have persisted, but given the fact… my 2-year-old toddler was becoming increasingly distressed and I didn’t want my 9-year-old daughter getting hit, I scooped the toddler up from his chair and ordered my daughter to follow me to the bedroom where she could finish watching her film.

Little man would now stay out the way, downstairs and hopefully become much calmer, he could finish his business plan before settling down on the sofa or heading to bed! Again… could I have been anymore wrong? He followed us upstairs swearing all the way  and at one point he even beat the hell out of my bedroom door… AGAIN! Losing the will to live, I informed him, I’d call the school and see if they could help me fix this, he flipped out, telling me to stay away from school before once more setting himself upon me like some frenzied lion! I know that this was partly my fault now as he then felt threaten. Although I normally reframe from such behaviours, it should be understood that by now I was close to breaking point, tears quite literally streaming from my eyes as I tried to think of a way to turn the situation around.

It got to the stage where the little man needed to be carried into his bedroom, I must have incurred super human strength as I lifted him, ignoring the thumps and pinches, I placed him in his room making a bee line for  the door, though I wasn’t quick enough as I found myself being hit by a number of heavy flying objects. Before I knew it he had taken up to running at me inflicting an array of high flying kicks directly to my body, seriously consumed with anger, sadness and sheer frustration, I told him that if he laid another finger on me I’d call the police! Again this wasn’t the best choice of words because 1) He felt threaten, 2) I pointed in his face, 3) he kicked me instead… well, feet do not have fingers do they!

I  was actually now extremely exhausted by the whole experience that had been continuing on for some 2 hrs now, not being able to bear a minute more of this, I turned to leave the room when he gave me one final blow in my back which  just happens to be the act that pushed me over the edge, giving me an intense desire to hit him back (which I don’t do, and don’t want to do)! I spun around and instead of hitting him I began screaming the words “No…… more, please no more!” as I proceeded in kicking toy boxes that resulted in them flying across the room, I also found myself knocking books from their shelf… I had lost it! Suddenly there was silence… stood shocked little man stared through me, he then lowered his eyes to the ground and started to cry as he asked me, “Mum why have you done this?” Then he very cheekily said out loud, ‘ Mum, you really should control your anger’ He no longer chased me just sat scrapping Lego bricks back in their rightful boxes, I retreated to my bedroom only to surprisingly discover the toddler and his sister were now spread out across my bed sleeping! Closing the door behind me I sat with my back against the door, tears filling my eyes as I looked at my bruised arms and legs, I cried, not due to the physical pain but the emotional one, plus the uncertainty and unanswered questions left me feeling isolated and alone! Should I be calling the police, what would make him stop! I couldn’t allow him to grow up with this approach to a problem, it wasn’t a solution! I love him and have that understanding… What if he hit someone else who then turned around and battered him, would he be behind bars by his teen years or even fall in love and beat his wife! Consumed with worry and knowing it was my responsibility to avoid any of the above happening! I grabbed the iPhone and visited my A boy with asperger’s Facebook page where everyone was so brilliant helping me find answers, making suggestions or just giving me a virtual hug!

The house was now silent, looking around his bedroom door I notice his laid out on the floor surrounded by a mass of Lego, I quietly pick up what seems like thousands of Lego bricks, I then slip a pillow under his head and place a cover across his body, kissing his forehead I then turn of the light (they is no way, I’ll even try to move him, if he wakes it could be an even longer night than it has already)!

I didn’t sleep for the remainder of that night, a host of things crammed my mind inducing a type of dull headache! What now? We have asked for help, but what with a massive waiting list for a CAMHS behavioural therapist, an LEA that avoid me like the black plague, I’m running out of options! Is there any respite? No! Do I look like it would help? Of course! With a Government only interested in throwing money at the 2012 games, I sadly hold little hope, after all our family situation isn’t as important as a sporting event is it? Well, it’s not every year we host an oympics…. but it’s everyday I host a meltdown, so…. I guess we will have to wait, after all we’re good at that, wouldn’t you agree?

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