The quote, "When you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism." could not be more true when it comes to autism.
I have pushed myself to do many functions the past few years when I knew exactly what I was getting myself in for afterwards. However, I always put others first and thought of everyone else so I did it. It gets so tiring trying to explain the "aftermath" to people. Some chose to listen and understand while others just don't get it and never will.
I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the "aftermath" when everything seems to be going so well at the time. Autism is very hard to understand in the first place.
The boys, particularly Trenton, appeared to be managing all the Christmas festivities just great when they were going on. While some individuals with severe autism can not handle it at the time, others can. When they handle it well at the time, they release later. This year the boys had two Christmases back to back days and I will NEVER do that again. Both days the boys handled the extra stimulation well. They managed the out of routine schedule great. However, by Sunday this week, their bodies, especially Trenton, had enough and he started releasing. It was three days of releasing at home. Trenton could not focus on anything at home other than his new toys. It controlled his life at home. If I needed him to do something else, he went into a tantrum or meltdown. It has been terrible! Bringing in one new toy isn't bad but when we bring home twenty new items, he can't handle it. Next year I am going back to what we did when he was 2 and 3 and that is open one present a day and I am NOT going to feel guilty about not participating in Christmas. I am the one that manages the aftermath so I get to call the shots! Seriously.....Trenton was awake at 3 AM on Monday pulling every new item out of his closet and lining them up all over the house. He was so focused on his new items that he couldn't get his brain off of it. He was like a drug addict having withdrawal....it wasn't a pretty sight.
When he was at Harsha this week, he did great....which makes sense to me...no new items there....no new toys there....no one there participated in his extra stimulation on Christmas and the day after so he was happy as a lark and had a great week. However, when he got home and saw his new toys, he went into sensory overload all over again.
When Trenton and Andrew are stressed, it is not good for either one of them. Trenton will pace and become restless and make certain noises out of his mouth. Andrew normally becomes more timid, shy, and picks his nose. When Trenton is in distress he can't just come out of it like a neurtoypical person can. It will take him either all day to de-stress himself or a few days. Trenton has been extremely irritable at home. I haven't seen him this irritable in a very long time.
Tonight was the first time in a few days where he seemed to be getting back to somewhat of a normal routine at night.
Below are two very short clips of Trenton's behavior since Christmas. The behavior that you see is what he has done the past few days. Needless to say, I can't wait till January 4th when everything is back to normal!! My boys have a hard enough life and just the slightest "out of their normal routine" function can dictate their whole day, week, or life.
Individuals with mild autism cope with their anxiety well at the time but they tend to bottle it all up. It has a detrimental affect on them and leads to high depression and suicidal rates which is so very sad. Andrew just like others with mild autism blends in well with others. However, last night Andrew made it very clear to me that he needs his routine and normal life back too. Andrew could not fall asleep because his mind was on his schedule. He kept saying.." I need my schedule back Mom. I need to go to pre-school and then Harsha and come home and play with you. Is that going to happen tomorrow?" His mind could not focus on anything else. He talked about his schedule all night long!