Friday, 28 June 2013

Look and Learn - Autistic strategies

It's a while since I found myself stalking my son as he stomped across the car park. I'd taken him to the cafe with his brother for a treat - a drink and cake (he told me later he wasn't expecting it) then I found myself in the cafe- him banging his head on the table and me trying to avoid the disappointment that yet again he was 'spoiling' our outing.

I know it's not intentional and I cope better now - it's not so embarassing although I do admit to feeling on edge at what might happen next. My eldest son and I moved to a quiter table in the corner but my youngest son refused to move rocking backwards and forwards, head in hands.

I watched him from a distance, explained the problem to the waitresses and asked her to leave him alone - she was lovely.Even the people in the cafe didn't outwardly stare at what was obviously a child in distress or make sarcastic comments in my hearing.

Anyway he stood up and walked out the cafe into the rain. I left him to it but my heart pounded as I imagined what might happen. Our drinks hadn't arrived and with the benefit of older son in attendance I left him at the table whilst I walked out into the rain in my short sleeved T shirt. My son was sitting in a puddle next to the car so I went over and unlocked the car and invited him to get in. He just got up and walked further away and as I followed he got faster. He ended up behind the recycling skips in a bramble patch!

Heart in my mouth I turned tail and walked back into the cafe as I watched him walk towards the entrance to the car park.Back at the cafe my eldest son told me to ignore him (which is easier said than done) A crafty look through the window showed that he had turned round and was making his way back. He came back to the cafe and sat down, rocking backwards and forwards with head in hands. totally overwhelmed by the atmosphere. I gobbled down my tiffin, slurped half a cup of coffee and left my eldest to finish his hot chocolate and rocky road.

I told my Autistic son I was going back to the car and walked out ,not first without grabbing his cola (thank fully in a bottle) and chocolate muffin. He slowly got up and followed me to the car, climbed in and wrapped himself up in his sleeping bag , which he takes every where with him. We sat quietly and waited for his brother who was obviously frustrated and annoyed that we couldn't just enjoy our treats like 'normal' people.

My son sat in the car, cola in hand and muffin on lap and ,as his stress began to decrease I noticed that he began to nibble on the muffin and drink his coke.

"Where are we going now" he asked?

"Home son", I answered.

He was calm now and as we drove home a little voice behind me said 'sorry mummy'.

'Don't be sorry, you're not in trouble, what went wrong?'

'The cafe was noisy and I didn't know I was going' he said

'Oh well, we're learning together then , you learned how to walk away without knocking over tables and getting violent and I learned not to surprise you even though I thought I was treating you. Oh and next time ,if you walk away I won't follow you, you'll just have to come back when you are ready and I'll stay and drink my coffee. Agreed?'

'Sounds like a plan',he smiled.


  1. I am so pleased to have found your blog. We are currently experiencing many of the issues that you have previously written about. It is encouraging to know that I seem to be in sync with yourself over many issues. At 9 years 8 months Mollie is younger than your son which is why your blog is so useful to me. I can draw on your experience on so many issues, our children appear to be so alike with their difficulties, demand avoidant, sleep issues, education issues, withdrawing from society the lot. Mollie is diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance among other things. The profile of this and the associated difficulties are very similar to a child with a dual diagnosis of Asperger's and ODD which is probably why I can resonate so much with your blog. Thank you xx

    1. Thank you. It is so encouraging to hear that our experiences are helping others. Like you I am learning from others 'further down the road' - something which I think is vital with services being so poor for autistic children. All we want is happy children with a good chance in life- not children with low self esteem, wondering why they are always in trouble.