We received a talk the other day at our local branch of the National Autistic Society about Self Injury/Self Harm. It was very interesting and something that a lot of families deal with especially as self injury can be used as a coping mechanism for someone with Autism.
I sat through this talk taking in all of the information and thinking that I hadn't seen any self injury for a while from my son now. He would use head banging as a way to cope and release some frustration now and again when he was younger but we hadn't had an epsisode recently.
Now only a day later my son got very wound up by a certain situation. It's a brother thing, they do tease each other and most of the time I do leave them to it but I do have to intervene and blow the whistle. At this point doors were slammed and I did shout up and said not to slam the doors. I didn't shout but did say it quite forcefully should I say.
I realised along time ago that my son is very sensitive to being told off or confronted about certain things and it is something he finds really difficult. That doesn't mean he gets away with everything but it does mean we had to deal with situations in a different way. I also realised that shouting gets you nowhere and can make things worse. So although ours isn't a shouty house it does contain rules.
I understand how my son feels as I too feel the same sensitivity towards confrontation, arguments and basically being told off. I find it difficult to watch someone argue and shouting makes me anxious. I can't bear to see people fight, which I don't suppose anyone does but it really frightens me. This doesn't come from any past childhood trauma as our house was a happy house, yes it had good family conflicts but hey whose hasn't? Nothing mayor though to give me this kind of sensitivity.
So back to the other day, and a day or so after this espisode I noticed marks on my sons neck, like as if someone had pinched him (love bite or hickey sort of marks). I asked him where these marks had come from and at first he said it was his brother, then it changed to a bully at college had done it. He had told a teacher and everything was sorted so I said to him that I would have to speak to college. He then hesitated and then came a full confession that he had pinched himself as he should have slammed his door and he didn't want to make me cross.
It's awful isn't it to think that they would do this to themselves because of trying to cope with a situation? We have always tried to talk things through but for my son it his hard for him to express himself and deal with some situations. I gave him a big hug and we talked about how important it is firstly to tell the truth about what happened but also that I do have to restore a bit or order to the house without a direct personal attack.
He does take it so personally and I am with him as I do too. Someone can say something and I can take it completely the wrong way......I don't read people very well, I would be hopless up against Simon Cowell.
In these situations it is about finding a different way to cope, yes this physical harm can happen but we have to find other ways of channelling that frustration somewhere else. The trampoline is good for us, I've encouraged a bit of time out on the trampoline or a stress ball. He is going to try and squeeze the stress ball as hard as possible instead of pinching himself so we'll see how that goes. I have other strategies up my sleeve so hopefully we'll find the right one.
Thats how it is though with Autism, it's trying to find that thing that works. What I loved about the other day was we all had a 'group hug' which my younger son won't always do so that was a beautiful moment - I think it was one of those moments that made us all think a bit. My eldest son isn't aggressive with his Autism but he keeps a lot in and therefore instead of letting this emotion come out by throwing things with aggression it presents itself as this.......self injury.
There's me thinking at this talk that it isn't affecting us then it suddenly reared it's head. It just goes to show it's good to attend these talks and be on top of all sorts of topics just in case. There is some information regarding self injurious behaviour on the NAS website here:
Details of the NAS helpline are there too if you do experience any problems regarding this subject.
Thank you for reading today and particulary letting me share this with you. Please join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now......
It has been Mental Health Awareness week this week and although Autism isn't a mental health condition there are believed to be 70% of people with Autism who face some sort of problem regarding mental health at some point in there lives.
That is quite a high percentage and things do need to change. I am going to point you towards a great blog written by Jane Harris who is the Director of External Affairs with the NAS. It is a great written piece on what the situation is at present regarding Autism and mental health and what really needs to change. There are also references to where you can get help and support if issues do arise. Please do take a read and if you are struggling do seek that help you need.
It isn't just the person with Autism who needs support but sometimes family members who are in a caring role too. Lets face it Autism or not we may all face problems somewhere along the line and this is why it is really important we look out for each other, raise awareness, break the taboo of talking about our mental health and reach out for help.
The link to Jane's blog is here at:
On Wednesday 12th September this year the NAS also have a Autism and Mental Health Conference - full details are here from the NAS website.
Thank you for reading today, please join me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday but for now......take care.
Well apparently it is Thomas the Tank Engines Birthday today and it is also National Train day. It must be so busy on the Island of Sodor with a lot to celebrate.
It's so lovely that after all these years these engines still bring joy to all children around the world but they have also had a special place in the hearts of our children with Autism. I have constantly asked myself what it is about the Thomas and Friends and the link with Autism. I wondered if it was the faces, the stories, the music but I suppose it's a bit of all those factors. I have asked my son what it is he loves and never got a straight answer, and that's ok, he tends to just think I'm silly for not knowing. He finally gave me the answer I have been waiting for and he says....it is because he can go on the adventure of his life just like in the story.
How lovely is that? He can enter into a world where he feels safe, happy and where he can have fun. A world so different from this one but one that may be easier to engage with. I can understand that now and from his Autistic point of view that is just my Thomas. Of course he has to come away from Sodor and the engines and engage in the 'real' world shall we say but his comfort is there with the engines.
He is fastly approaching his 18th birthday now and my natural instinct was to try and move him onto something that was more age appropriate but why should I? If this is his sanctuary and his 'happy' place then I'm not going to change it. It has fulfilled him and been the way to go for so many years that I always say 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.
So a huge Happy Birthday to Thomas the Engine and if you are a big train fan then I hope you have had a great National Train Day. Toot Toot!!!
Thank you for reading today, join me tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday.....for now though......
My son just has an amazing ability to draw his favourite cartoon characters. Maybe not amazing to some as there are so many great artists out there but to me I think it's amazing. It's as if he puts all his effort and enthusiasm into his drawing.....better than anything I could draw.
He has a love for Disney movies, children's tv programmes such as Fireman Sam and also Star Wars. He has a gallery of drawings in his bedroom and in the spare bedroom at his Nanny and Papa's house too. Anywhere he can display his artwork he will.
I love that about him as he may not have social airs and graces and conform to rules in life but he his happy when drawing a picture, creating a list of favourite movies or a powerpoint of comparisons between Thomas and Friends episodes. I really think he could take his drawing further but we'll have to do some research on how he can do that sometime in the future.
He is most happy when drawing what 'he likes' to draw rather than being told what to draw but he has experimented with a bit of scenic artwork and that was really good too. So it is a case of tapping into that special interest and going with it. I'd love to see him take it further and blimey if there was a way of earning a living doing illustrations or cartooning in some way I would definitely encourage it.
My sons drawings make my day and bring a smile to my face, and not just me, the rest of the family love a picture from him too. Although there may be complications with Autism, it's ups and downs, the sun shines through and there is something truly amazing that can be done and can be achieved. Look for it, it's there somewhere.
Thank you for reading today......join me tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday.....but for now take care.
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.