Monday, January 20, 2014


Remember the mention that life with people on the Autism Spectrum isn't always a grand adventure?


Sometimes it's so hard, you want to throw up your hands and cry "Uncle".

Sundays are our Young Adults with ASD group. Last week, the young woman who leads the group let us know she'd be out of town today. She asked for a volunteer to unlock the church where we meet and make sure the alarm was deactivated and reset.

You could hear a pin drop. And for a group like ours, that's saying something. Everyone giggled into the silence, I looked around at the other parents in the room and caved. Sure. We can do it. No problem.

Fast forward to yesterday.

John is hard to get moving on the best of days. Whether a bed, a couch or the floor, he's achy in the morning and it's hard to get started. I get that. I also get that when he's made to wake up before he wants to, the lack of motivation on his part drags things out.

It's one of the reasons he's had attendance problems and mornings just basically suck.

It's not all on him. We've got 3 (if not 4) on the spectrum at home and not one of us is a morning person. Dan likes to play video games to the wee hours of the morning so is slow too, though not to the extent John is. Charlie has to get his medicine and wait half an hour before he can even really sit up. I don't want anyone breathing near me before coffee... so we're a happy morning bunch around here.

There was no problem for John getting up yesterday. He had been invited to spend the day with a friend and we were meeting at 10 am. He was up, dressed and ready in time for us to leave. He and his friend then spent the day playing with airsoft guns and generally running around like maniacs.

I knew it was more outside time than John has had in awhile. Getting him and, well, any of us, out of the house has been hard the last several months. So, of course he was going to be sore this morning.

When I woke him to feed the animals, we still had almost 3 hours to leave for our meeting. I gave him some Advil and waited for him to move.

2 1/2 hours later he had dragged himself, with moans and groans to wake the dead, to a chair. He still hadn't fed the animals.

There's more to it... but by 15 minutes to leave, he hadn't moved and tensions were high. So he snapped... and then Charlie snapped... and then I snapped... and Daniel, despite doing his best to keep the peace, snapped.

Everyone screwed up. No question.

Had I not felt the pressure to be a certain place because I'm determined not to be the person who breaks her word to others anymore, I might have been able to keep it together... but that particular pressure had me at the point of near panic before things went all to hell.

Long story short, Dan and John are staying the night with a neighbor. I'm still trying to deal with thinking for the first time, we wouldn't have a choice but to call the police. (I don't want Charleston County officers anywhere near my son in full meltdown. The idea terrifies me beyond words) Charlie feels letting them stay away from home rewards John for his meltdown... I'm to the point, I just needed a few drama free hours and welcomed the space and quiet.

I made it to the church to let everyone in, made my apologies and tried to explain without explaining... enough detail so they could understand it was simply a bad Autism day, without saying "Oh, yeah, my kid lost it and we're dealing with it is the worst possible way." because it isn't that simple.

But it is.

Not knowing how to help John and also Dan right now makes me long for teenage daughters... mostly because the passage of time helps you forget how intense those days were. They weren't easier... but they were different.

Things were said that can't be taken back. Statements made that reveal how far back he's managed to slide and how fully he blames us.

I'm lost. How to teach them to be responsible for themselves and take positive action for themselves without reinforcing their idea they are useless screw ups. How to recognize what's part of the problem and what's a convenient thing to blame. How to hold my shit together when all I want to do is lie on the floor and scream until I'm hoarse. How to get everyone to acknowledge they are responsible for their own triggers but that doesn't make it okay to go jumping on someone else's.

Everyone wants someone else to be the bad guy. We're the parents and they have got to respect our authroity in their lives while they still live at home. We need to respect them as the young men they are and not dismiss them as boys or play the "because I said so" card... because that flips a switch in both of them.

There's so much we need to change and do, I don't even know where to start. Everyone is so raw.

Where do we even start to pick up the pieces?

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