When you have an autistic child, the thread you grasp on to is very thin. For days, weeks, or even months, you may think you have the hang of dealing with your precious child. But then one day, one small thing might change and all of the sudden, you’ve lost your grasp on even that thin thread. That’s exactly where I am.
Little man had a good week last week, until Friday. I had four phone calls from school between noon and 2:20pm. In the first, his teacher had him in the classroom at lunch time, and he was bawling his eyes out. He wanted to come home. He missed me. He was tired. He did not want to be at school any more. I happened to be out to lunch with friends twenty minutes away, and I did not have my car so there was no way I could pick him up even if I had thought that was the right thing to do (which it wasn’t..he needs to be in school). I did my best to talk him down. It seemed to help, but then half an hour later, the nurse called. She had him with her. He was still crying. I’m not even sure he went back to the classroom the remainder of the school day. I know he spent time with the speech therapist somewhere in there too.
This is fairly par for the course for this year, it seems. We have yet another process in place. This morning he took his stuffed shark, Jaws, with him to school so he has a comforting piece of home with him when he needs it. He is allowed to take chill breaks when he needs them – he is able to go into the pod, to the nurse’s office, to his old 2/3 classroom, or to the speech room with Jaws until he pulls himself back together. He reported after school today he had Jaws with him all through lunch, and he spent over an hour in his 2/3 classroom. I have no idea how to fix this. He’s never, even in the worst moments, cried at school. Now he seems to cry every day. Getting him to stay in his class, learning and doing his work, is an insurmountable feat.
I’m at a complete loss. I’m sure his teacher is so over it. I haven’t even been brave enough to ask. It’s breaking me. I’m so sad. I’m having one of those times when I wish we’d never even heard of autism, much less had to deal with it. And I wonder if he knows I’m feeling that way, maybe thinking I wish he were different (which right now, trust me, I do). I wish he didn’t have to face this. I wish I didn’t have to watch him face this. It’s one of those times I would give anything and everything to take this all away for him. I don’t know how to make this better for him right now. I keep thinking he is just transitioning and he will come around. He is in a new classroom with a new teacher for the first time in two years. Fourth grade is much more demanding. And as for Friday, I wasn’t able to be there for the salt dough map making as I’d told him I would be. So I’m feeling beyond guilty, like it’s my fault for sending his day sideways.
I pray his teacher and the staff members working with him are patient. Logically I know they will not give up on him. But my heart is fearful of anyone giving up on him. And I’m stressed out he seems to be spending more time out of his classroom than in it. I believe, for the first time, his issues are affecting his academic success. I desperately need to regain my grasp of that thin thread, figure out what’s going on with him, and make it better. Or have we just entered a new phase we’re going to stay in for awhile?