Thursday 11 October 2012

Tantrum Morning

Today did not start well.

Nathan refused to go to school.  Flat out kicking and screaming refusal.  It's not the first time but it's happening an alarming amount this year.

He's been very anxious of late.  He didn't even want to spend time at his grandparents' (which he usually loves).  I'm not sure what's triggering this but looking back, he's had a lot of changes thrust on him.

He went to the cottage with his grandparents, which he enjoyed but was nervous about.  He worried about Alex being alone, about what he would do at the cottage.  Normal everyday fears. 

He came back from the cottage and then it was time for our Drumheller trip.  Lots of anxiety and tantrums.  He wanted to go home and we literally couldn't do it.  It was a surprise to us.  We expected him to enjoy the trip and being the center of attention and staying in a hotel.  Clearly, we were wrong about that.

He gets home from Drumheller and two things hit at once.  School starts and I start a new job.  Now he's doing lots of tantrums and hardly an hour passes without him telling us he doesn't want to do something because he's afraid.  Call me skeptical, but I doubt he's really afraid of putting his plate on the counter.  But I do think he is experiencing a lot of free-floating anxiety. 

Sometimes Nathan is doing so well that people forget he has autism, too.  Change is difficult for him, just like it can be for Alex.  He has a lot of expectations on him and puts a large burden of responsibility on himself. 

The only thing I can think to do is to reassure him that Mommy and Daddy are there to take care of the scary stuff.  And not let being scared become an excuse not to do things.  Exposure therapy is the only way past a phobia: keep on doing what scares you until you realize you can handle it.

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