Sunday, August 30
Hard Times with Henry
Poor Henry and Poor Us
We have been having lots of trouble with Henry lately. Aggression, rage, anxiety, general misery. It's hard to describe the suddenness and intensity of Henry's rages and mood swings. Paul has been absolutely heroic about coming home from work to help me; particularly stressful for him as he is working like a dog to keep his business afloat. But at age 15, Henry is six foot three and 195 pounds and there is no way I can cope with him for long periods on my own (and I have the bruises to prove it!) Keeping him gainfully occupied (like they do at his wonderful school) is somewhat helpful to his mood stability, but it's difficult for me to devote every second of my day to this as I have two other kids and the usual housewifely duties, not to mention the fact that there is no way I can manage this young man physically by myself in most situations. And it has become impossible to find Henry sitters or helpers...anyone know any former NFL linebackers turned autism aides? We are working to find some drug combo that might help too, but so far no good although there are a few more to try. (That is a torturously slow path, however, as you have to carefully withdraw from one drug before slowly building up with another. And repeat...)
It's amazing to me how there is almost a conspiracy of silence about what seems to be a pretty common phase many autistic teenagers go through (just google: autism teenagers aggression). Good news: it is natural. Bad news: it can last several years. I suppose people don't want to scare other people whose kids are younger, especially as some kids won't go through it. But I have always preferred to know what might be coming at me. So here I am talking about it. :-0 I guess my other motive is to explain to people why I have seemed to have perhaps gone underground, disappeared from the "social scene" and have become worse at than ever at returning phone calls, emails, registration forms etc. We are kind of in lockdown mode over here. I am sore, tired, in a state of constant high alert and busy in way that is simply hard to describe. Here are a few pictures:
This is when I usually get hurt...when I stop him from smashing himself in the head. Usually it is two-handed, here is the more elegant one hand version. Some kids with autism have to wear special protective headgear as many have deafened and blinded themselves, so I ALWAYS intervene when the self-injurious behaviors begin, and that's often when I become the target of aggression. If you can't smash the one you want, smash the one you're with! ;-)
My poor guy! He doesn't know what's hit him. It's heart-breaking, and we are just hoping we can keep it from becoming bone-breaking, too.