Autism. To crisis point...
I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ride for the last couple of weeks, resulting in a crisis point yesterday.
Towards the end of last term, Bright Eyes started getting grumpy and negative and obstinate about school. In the last two terms his attendance dwindled down to two or three short days per week. It was really hard to get him there and he spent a lot of the time when he was there talking negatively and refusing to participate.
We all put it down to tiredness from a big term and hoped that the holidays would make the difference.
All through the break, however, he continued to be negative about school. He said things like, "I'm going to school on zero days," or "I'm changing schools," or "I don't belong here at this school. I'm not a student any more," or "I'll go back to school in year 3".
I ignored the negatives and instead tried to focus on the children that he likes and the fun at recess and lunch, but it didn't seem to get anywhere. The holidays ended up with him being fairly negative and difficult most of the time. I ended up dreading the return to school, because I couldn't see anything getting easier.
My mum took him for two days at the end of the break, and I felt so relaxed that I almost felt guilty about it. The burden had been pretty heavy for about a month, and it was so nice to not have to shoulder it for two days.
The trouble I find, however, with having a break, is that I forget about the burden, or dare to hope it's gone, and then get myself disappointed all over again when it comes back.
The first day back for Bright Eyes saw him in bed with a 38.4C temperature. He bounced back fairly quickly, but I still kept him at home for the first day of school.
The second day of school is where things got really difficult. He spent the morning refusing to go at all. He wouldn't put his uniform on, refused to participate in choosing lunch items and even hid at one point because he didn't want to go. His talk was negative and his body language matched. He wasn't going anywhere.
AP took the other two children over and then we both worked together to get Bright Eyes out of the door. We used blatant bribery (a milko from the lolly shop) to help him leave the house. With sugar in his mouth, we finally ended up at the school gate, at which point he refused to go any further.
Thankfully a nice teacher happened to be going in which helped to distract him and I suggested that we all go and look at the new library which has just opened. The trickery worked, and we got up to the library, where we got out a few books.
I waited until assembly was over and the classes were going in, then raced down to his teacher to ask if two of the little boys could go up to encourage him in. I sent them, and hid in the staffroom to see what would happen. He came, holding on to his dad's hand, but was adamant all the way down that, "I'm not going to school," and, "I shouldn't be here!"
He refused to go in the door of the classroom, at which point we did what I call the 'smash and grab' routine, where the teacher basically pulled him in forcibly and AP left immediately. I saw all of this from behind the staff room door and started to cry.
Once I started, I couldn't stop. I think I was probably letting out the stress of dealing with him over the entire past two months because I cried most of the morning and some of the afternoon.
Click here to find out what happened next. Don't worry, things got a lot better!