Monday, July 1, 2019

How To Help




Over the past few years, I have posted numerous posts about being in public with T-man when he started to display aggressive behaviors and self-injurious behaviors. From those post, I have received the same question from followers, "What is the best way to help?"

I have been told numerous times, " I want to help but I don't know what to do." or "What do I do if I come across a mom like you in public struggling with their child?"

I wanted to put together some ways that a person can help a struggling autism parent. If you are reading this and have no prior knowledge on autism, that is okay. You can still help!

I have been that single parent in public with T-man several times when he has started to go into a meltdown. Meltdowns can be displayed differently according to the individual. However, you are going to notice if the parent needs help because the child will be displaying any of the following
  • On the ground kicking, hitting, screaming
  • Standing while  hitting, scratching, pinching their parent/caregiver
  • Biting themselves or parent/caregiver
  • Biting themselves
  • Hitting, scratching, pinching themselves
  • Headbanging
  • Destroying property around them
  • Trying to Elope and the person with autism does not know danger (in many cases)
  • Etc, etc, etc
So, what can you do if you see a parent struggling with these behaviors by themselves? 

 Walk up to the situation and just look at the parent or give them a slight wave to get their attention, and quietly say, I'm here to help." In some cases, you don't have to say a word,  just give the parent/caregiver a look and they will know you will help.

Most of the time, just knowing another adult is there to help is a huge relief. 

Don't do anything to the child until the parent tells you what to do. A lot of people with autism have certain triggers and you will not know what they are. So, please let the parent guide you on what to do.

What can I do to assist the parent/caregiver?
The parent/caregiver will tell you. In my case, most of the time I just needs someone to pick up my purse and personal belongings that I can't get while I am trying to keep him safe.

Sometimes the parent/caregiver will just need another adult to walk on the other side of the child to get them to their vehicle safely.

Sometimes the parent/caregiver just needs you to get something out of their bag that will help the child.

The parent/caregiver will let you know. I have been in a restaurant numerous times and T-man was asking for ketchup and I just needed someone to get it for me. Trust me, there may be something the parent/caregiver desperately needs to help that child, so just ask!

Sometimes we just need to know there will be another person to help run after the child/adult if they get away and start running away because most of the time, they won't know to look across the street, etc. 

Maybe the parent/caregiver doesn't need anything. If they don't, they will let you know. Even if they say they are good, TRUST ME WHEN I SAY.....they really appreciate you asking and just not sitting back and watching the show. 

I have been told before, "I feel bad when I see single parents in these situations but I have no experience with autism."
It's okay. I understand completely. However, by simply getting the parents attention and making sure you SUPPORT them and are not there just gawking at them will instantly make the situation better for the caregiver/parent. 


There are no certain rules to always follow when you come across a situation involving a child or adult with autism. Each person requires and needs different things. Therefore, if you gather anything from this post, please let it be this......
Don't stare. Don't judge. Instead, get the parent/caregiver attention and let them know you are there to assist them with whatever they need.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bike

He did it today!!! He rode a bike by himself for the first time!!! I AM SO PROUD OF HIM!!!!
We have worked so hard on this and it is by far the happiest I have seen him in a long time!!



Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Funerals

Last Friday and Saturday, Andrew and I went back to Illinois to visit family. While we were there, we visited my Grandpa's grave. I guess that got Andrew to thinking about funerals....
Randomly on our drive back to Indiana on Saturday night, Andrew asked, "Moochies, why don't we go to more funerals?"
I said, "What do you mean? We go to funerals of people we know and I guess no one has died recently for us to go to."
Andrew said, "Why don't we go to more funerals? I just don't understand. We really should go and pay our respects to the dead person."
I said, "Well, we go to people's funerals that we know."
Andrew said, " I want to start going to more funerals. It doesn't matter if we know them or not. It's about paying our respects. Can you look up some funerals that I can go to so I can pay my respects to people cause that would be really nice and good of us. So let's start doing that every day."
I am still laughing about this but at the same time it is so sweet!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

Sowy

"Sowy" He yelled out in his frustrated sounds and cries.
"Sowy"....the one word that hurt worse than the three huge bites he put on me......

It was not the pain of my skin being in his mouth while he pulled on my skin with his teeth with such intense strength. It wasn't the  pain from his hits that hurt the most. It was not even the pain of watching my son have a complete mental breakdown where he turns aggressive and self-injurious. It was the word, "sowy" he said in the middle of it all.

Trenton said, sorry. He has said it before and every time he is able to utter that word out of his mouth, I breakdown myself. He does NOT want to hurt me. He does NOT want to hurt others. He does NOT want to hurt himself. He has NO control over his actions. His brain does not let him....

It unfolded in McDonald's on my Sunday visit. The first 45 minutes was great and he suddenly snapped. I'm sure many onlookers had never seen anything like what they witnessed before. It is not everyday you see an eight year old attack people with intense aggression. It was not pretty, but we made it to our van ( I only lost some money and a gift card...I'm sure it flew out of my bookbag when he took it and threw it.) I didn't care. I wanted to get out of there. 
Once I got him in the van, he started to bite himself. I blocked him and once I would block him, he would attack and bite me. One person can't control him and the entire situation when he goes into one of his mental breakdowns.

At one moment when he released my skin from his mouth he yelled, "sowy" and just screamed a blood curdling scream. 
He was sorry and he wanted me to know it but could not stop himself.

After one hour and fifteen minutes he was stable, and I broke down in tears in front of him. ( I usually keep it in and cry when he can't see me.) But, there was no keeping it in. My body had no room to store any more sadness, grief, and anger myself. Therefore, I broke down. Once I started crying, Trenton looked at me and cried too. We both cried together.

This is an example that Trenton does NOT want to behave like he does. He does not want to hurt himself or me. To the world, he appears to be a very aggressive child with severe self injurious behaviors that appears to be mentally challenged...but he isn't. Deep down people with severe autism who has aggression and SIB don't want to engage in those behaviors just as much as we don't want them to. Deep in his soul is a normal eight year old boy that said "sorry" when he had no control over his actions and who cried with his mom when she was hurting.

If anyone can learn anything from this post let it be this....It does not matter how severe the autism is, they have a soul and they KNOW they just can't let us know nor can their bodies allow them to show us.