How do you cope when your child completely loses it?
Jude has done this twice in the car in the last month and it’s just awful. The first time, I was on my own with the three children and had to somehow appease a crying Emmeline, deflect a kicking out Jude and get the buggy/stuff/me in the car. It wasn’t easy and it certainly left me a bit shaken up.
Today, it happened again. Emmeline was playing up in the car park as she had just woken up and was therefore a complete grump. She didn’t want to get back in the car so was yelling and doing that annoying plank thing children do when trying to resist the seat belt! Jude was sitting next to her and was watching on, horror in his eyes and leaning back as if trying to avoid something terrifying.
Then it happened.
He shouted “NO” and with one swift move, hit out at Emmeline, pulling her hair and scratching at her arm. Cue lots more crying from Emmeline.
So picture this…I’m leaning across Emmeline, Jude’s flailing arms are ricocheting off me and I have to some how get into the car whilst protecting Emmeline from really getting hurt. He’s trying to bite me so I’m having to hold both his hands together with my right hand whilst holding his head away from me with my elbow. My left arm is holding his nearest leg down so he can’t kick us. Somehow (I think SEN parents develop special skills in this department) I manage to squeeze past Emmeline’s car seat and wedge myself between the two of them without losing my grip (or getting kicked in the head!) SKILLS.
Thankfully, this time I had nothing to put in the car and my mum is there to help shut doors, etc.
Throughout the car journey, Jude tried to punch, scratch, spit, pinch and kick me but slowly, as his melt down averted, he became relaxed to the point I could let go of his legs and arms. Jude always looks so confused once it’s over. I genuinely don’t believe he knows what he’s doing as when you ask him why he tried to hurt you he says he doesn’t know. It’s as if he’s possessed. People look over at you as if your child is being murdered, his high pitched screams echo around the entire car park and Jude flails frantically like in a demoniacal scene from the Exorcist. It’s awful to witness.
All started because of Emmeline’s crying. He can’t cope with it at all, it’s so sad. He doesn’t understand emotions in anyway whatsoever, especially the explosive emotions of a tantrum infused toddler.
But again, this is why I am so pleased Jude will be moving to a residential school where he doesn’t have to experience these episodes so frequently. It pains me to see but he really can’t sustain living in a family environment. It’s too unpredictable for him, he needs absolute serenity and platitude plus a beautiful room in a house to retreat to when he wants his own space (ironically we were out buying things for his school bedroom!)
This is the face that remains following an autistic melt down. He slumped down for half the journey and just looked down entirely dissipated from the experience.