Tuesday 6 March 2012

Dealing With Agitation

Alex has been very agitated lately.  I’m not sure what’s bothering him but we’ve been getting a lot of headbanging, whining and he can’t seem to sit still.  Often, he’s complaining about things which aren’t immediate issues.  On the way to school today he was whining about “No Hot Potatoes”, meaning he didn’t want to watch the Wiggle’s Hot Potatoes DVD.  We haven’t watched that DVD in over a month since he decided he didn’t like it.  It hasn’t even been mentioned in two weeks.  And it didn’t seem to matter what I did.  I agreed with him “No Hot Potatoes” but the only change was even louder whining.

I reminded him that we were going to school and the DVD was at home.  Even louder.  Finally I had to threaten to not let him see the OC Transpo bus to get him to be quiet.  I don’t understand it.  Clearly something else was bothering him.  Either the DVD was a symbol of something else or he’s just latching onto it in his agitation.

It’s been like that for several days now.  He’s very easily upset and it’s hard to get him calmed down.  It started Friday, after the appointment with the doctor.  It’s unusual for him to be that thrown by a break in routine though.  If that’s it, he should settle soon as we’re back to the usual routine.

I realize even parents with neurotypical children sometimes find themselves facing unexplained fugues or extended tantrums.  But it’s not the same.  Alex can’t tell me what’s bothering him and the list of possibilities is so long as to be overwhelming.  The problems are more extreme and your toolbox is more limited when your child has autism.

I hope it gets resolved soon.  It’s been hard to maintain a calm and understanding reaction.  Being screamed at constantly is not pleasant (as any parents with colicky newborns can attest).  We can only try to bunker down and hope to ride it out.

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