Monday, 18 May 2015

This Is (One Side Of) Autism

I don't know how to encapsulate the challenges of autism for someone who doesn't understand. There are wonderful things. George is a beautiful, bright, highly intelligent child. But life overwhelms him.
Please be Patient.

We've just been through the worst meltdown I think George has ever had. He veered between screaming and sobbing. I had to take him out of his grandparents' house. He's bitten me, kicked me, hit me. His strength is phenomenal. At times he literally sounded like an animal, howling, screaming, and moaning. It's not that he won't speak, it's that he can't.

He was terrified, absolutely terrified. It lasted for an hour or more. There was nothing I could do for him. Hugging didn't comfort him, but I had to hold him. Before this he was hiding in corners, behind doors, curled up like an animal. When he felt rage there was a danger he was going to break something. The frustration of not being able to speak was awful for him, and for us. I took him outside onto a hill of wild flowers, and held him to keep him safe, and try to minimise his hurting me.

And then he reached a point where I could let him go, when I judged he wasn't going to hurt anything, when he asked me to let him go instead of screaming at me. He was still slipping in and out of being non-verbal. In the end he went upstairs and slowly he came out of it. And then it's like the sun coming out after a thunderstorm. He's talking, smiling, laughing. He's a different child.

He has been filled up with tests at school, and with social activity. Something had to blow, and once school was over, it blew. It's not about being a spoilt child. It's not about being a bad parent. It's autism.

This is not the end. This is not the whole deal. There are two sides to the coin. George is witty and vastly intelligent. He is loving and compassionate and funny and generous. His empathy is beyond bounds. His hugs are to be treasured. But when we are late for school, when the children aren’t quite presented as they should be, when we have to leave a situation before things fall apart, when he’s so filled with emotion that he scares himself and his fear and frustration come out in cries and yells – this is autism too. It doesn’t need bald stares or snap judgements. It just needs your understanding for a little while.

No comments:

Post a Comment