The last few weeks have been quite tough. Charlie’s anxiety has been higher than usual.
It has taught me a lot, and the more we delve deeper to understand how to help him, the more we are learning about his fascinating autistic mind.
There are so many factors that contribute to making Charlie feel unsure, uncomfortable or anxious. The aspect I’m focussed on today is communication.
If he is able to explain himself and make himself heard, this can help us to support him in getting through an anxious moment.
Often the frustration of not being able to get across his point can lead to the later anxiety.
For example, we went to Colchester zoo a few weeks ago.
We go exploring and come across a HUGE slide. Charlie is raring to go and climb the ropes, ladders and bridges to get to it. We arrive at the top and after 30 minutes are still there. By this point Charlie is approaching meltdown. He was so upset. He wanted to go on the slide but was so afraid. My calm, reassuring tone throughout didn’t calm him. I used every tactic. Shall we go down the ladder Charlie? How about the slide with Mummy? The slide is a circle (the entrance was circular) and the ladder is square (the hatch to the ladder was square). Yes! I can use his favourite thing – shapes – to get him down! Circle or square Charlie? Square or circle? “Mummy I just need a triangle!!”
Well what can I say to that?!
It stopped me in my tracks.
No amount of explaining that I cannot create a triangle from thin air would’ve gone down well here!
Instead I explain that right now there’s only those two choices. I knew this wasn’t what he wanted to hear! But I also knew the anxiety would release once I could get him down that slide… The feeling of it, the sensory release that a big high slide would give him I knew is just what he needed.
There was only one thing for it, I had to grab my 4 stone 4 year old and holding him tightly go for it and slide down together.
As we got off, tears still streaming he gently wiped them and said. Mummy I’m not crying anymore!!
We were both soaked (it was pouring with rain) but never been happier. The rest of the day you could see a visible difference in him. Like a weight had been lifted.
Now where’s that triangle…….