Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving and more......

If you are thinking the reason for no blog posts is because of Nick's behaviors, well, you would be partially correct. But, it is not what you are thinking. Life around here for the holiday weekend has been rather boringly 'normal'. Nick is over his cold, and his aggression/SIB (self injurious behavior) are almost non-existant. He has been quite mischievious, but that is completely different.

On Tuesday Nick stayed home from school due to being sick. He only had a minor cold, but with Nick a minor cold can cause just enough pain for him to launch into aggression and SIB. Which means school becomes pointless, as he cannot function. Wednesday, he was a little better, so we decided to try to send him to school. Mike got him dressed and walked him to the busstop. Nick was not having any of it and proceeded to get aggressive towards everyone. So, as the bus pulled up, Mike just held Nick's hand and waved at the bus driver. Nick would miss another day of school. It was a half-day anyway, so no big loss. On one hand I hate that he misses so much school, but on the other hand-what is he getting out of it when he cannot function?

Wednesday afternoon I had a meeting with the school psychologist, his teacher, his speech therapist(at school), and his occupational therapist (OT at school). The meeting started at 11:30, and we did not get out of there until 1:45! During that meeting, the psychologist went over her evaluation of Nick. Of course, with his autism comes along certain sensory processing difficulties, and those of you who know Nick will agree to that. We knew that. We just did not know HOW many difficulties. We had begun to realize that he was developing some light sensitivity at times because he would often turn the lights off at home and at his OT appointments. We also knew that certain sounds he did not like.  However, we thought these were rather minor and that he had overcome some of this.

Nick's senses get distorted. He was found to have Auditory Processing difficulties, Visual Processing difficulties, Vestibular Processing difficulties, Touch Processing difficulties, Multisensory processing difficulties, and Oral sensory difficulties. 

Basically in his daily life if things get too loud, or there is a lot of movement (i.e. people) he gets over whelmed and cannot cope. When he is put in situations like this he feels unsafe and that is likely to lead to aggression and meltdowns. He wants to go places, but once he gets there, numerous things can set him off. If the place is too crowded, the flourescent lights, the unexpected noises, people talking and moving all around him. It must be like when you have been drinking and the room starts to spin, and people become a big blur moving around you. He becomes anxious because his brain cannot make heads or tails of what is going on. Everything is coming at him at once, and he goes into overdrive.  This can also happen when he is engaging in self-stimming behavior. He 'stims' to calm himself, but when it is not working he will meltdown as well. Which would explain his outbursts even when doing things that normally calm him down, and that can make it seem like it comes "out of the blue".

In other ways, visual and auditory senses stimulate him and he will constantly seek input. That comes out as dropping things. Nick will carefully move things to the edge and watch/listen to it drop to the floor. He does this with matter what it is. He will try to move anything for that satisfactory "drop" to the floor.

We also set up another meeting to go over their behavior plan that they will set up for him(and that his next school can evaluate) and go over a new IEP (also steps for the next school ). That is set up on the 12th.

As far as Thanksgiving went; it went well actually. It was just the four of us and we celebrated with a ham, mashed potatoes, corn, and stuffing. We stayed in our jammies and just relaxed. No meltdowns, no aggression, nothing. Nick did manage to wash his socks and underwear in the toilet, but that was about it. The weekend has been much of the same. Michael playing video games, Nick watching the washer/dryer and rotisserie grill, and daddy and me enjoying every minute of relative 'normalcy'. This is our last holiday in this house, and in three weeks we will be moving. We have a buyer for our Hyundai (we are only taking the Jeep), need to get the travel trailer ready for a trip across the country, and have movers scheduled to come and pack up our house on the 12th-13th of December.  It is going to be a very busy time for us, but hopefully for the better.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Not sure when my next post will be. I will try to post before the big move!


Emma said...

He sounds JUST LIKE SAM!!! Dropping - constant dropping. Sam has major sensory issues as well. I never thought about the light thing. Sam flicks light switches all the time and I never realized it sould be a sensitivity. I always assumed he was just fixated on it. Now that I think about it though, he generally turns light switches off more than on. Did they offer any suggestions?

Amy said...

No suggestions yet Emma from the school, I have another meeting with them on the 12th. I almost think this whole sensory dysfunction is worse than the actual autism. When he is calm and collected he is a totally different child! He uses more words, goes potty on his own, and is much higher functioning. When he is not having a good sensory day he is much worse. To make things worse, I found out that he was also only eating HALF of what he eats at home. For instance, at home he scarfs down four hot dogs(no bun), but at school he was only given two. So, part of his meltdowns at school may be due to the fact that he is likely hungry. This was not really a factor before, but I think he is growing and his med also increases his appetite.