Friday, September 17, 2010

Blow up at the Library

In my Technical Writing days, we were taught that when writing a professional document, to always start with good news and end with not-so-good news. I'll start with the not-so-good news.

I took the kids to our local library on Wednesday. They know us because we practically live there. I told the kids to get one DVD each. Raymond got one. Jona got four. While Jona was getting his four DVD, Raymond was getting agitated. His agitation is nothing new. He does not like change (as he told me today!). This is very Asperger's-like behavior. The neuropsychologist at Kennedy Krieger did list that as a diagnosis for him. But usually, Raymond is very mild-mannered.

I kept telling him I would handle it. My fear was that Jona would blow up inside the library and have a screaming fit.

Instead, it was the opposite. I let Jona get his four to keep him from screaming, but he is the one who has the behavioral issues. This time, Raymond let it RIP! Once we got to the check-out counter, Raymond was FIGHTING to keep Jona from taking home all those DVD's. I literally dragged Raymond out of there as he SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS.  He screamed like someone was trying to kill him and he was fighting for his life.

I sat them both down on the bench, right outside the front door. It took a while, maybe five minutes for Raymond to calm down. He kept saying, "Jona, can you take those DVDs back? You can only keep one!" After I calmed him down, I talked to Jona. I said, "Raymond is upset. He has one DVD and you can only have one."

I'm convinced Jona is going to join the ScreamFest, but he never did. The most I saw was a whimper. I coaxed three DVDs out of him, slowly. I put them in the outside bin. I gave Raymond lots of hugs and thanked Jona for cooperating.

Then I told Raymond I understood how he felt, but he can't go screaming like that again (I said it nicely). I took him back inside and he apologized to the librarians. He said, "I'm sorry I screamed in the library," without coaching.

Jona, on the other hand, was cool as a cucumber.

I must say I don't EVER want to experience that again. Raymond has shown signs of rigidity before. But he's never exploded like that. The experience was haunting for me. No one wants to see her child in such an emotionally charged state.

I took one major thing away: I have to be consistent in enforcing my rules. That's true for all parents. But the stakes are higher with Autistic children. You give them an inch, they'll take the whole town, not just a country mile.

The other take-away: stick with the healing plan. Jona is a different kid. I started him gluten-free on August 30th. There have been NO blow-ups, NO behavioral problems (outside of the DC VegFest in which there were simply too many people around him), and NO digestive issues. He's calm and cool. About an hour ago, I told him he couldn't watch his movie. Raymond was going to watch his. Jona said, "Okay, let's watch Raymond's movie."

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? No tears? No tantrum? Is this Jona?

And he's picking up books on his on without prompting from me. This is WONDERFUL news!

So let the healing continue!

Althea ◦

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