Jude and I at the garden centre yesterday, he’s like a different child when it’s just him and one other adult.
I don’t know if it’s an autism-y “thing” but I’ve noticed this week more than ever how Jude cannot cope with crowded places. Today for example, my mum and I took the three children to a local park and it was so so busy. I’ve never seen it this busy actually but there is lots of space and plenty of equipment so no one ever has to wait for anything. The girls were happy, even Emmeline who often takes a bit of time to get used to a place so off they went…swings, climbing frames, huge pirate ship and sand castle. They had an amazing time. Jude however, initially stuck with the familiars. He went on the roundabout; it’s a simple mechanism and he can literally just sit on it and enjoy himself so I think he finds it easy to compute. Then he started to get a bit agitated and asked when we were leaving.
We found Granny and the girls and managed to get Jude to sit on a swing for a few minutes and then climb into this big wooden horse and carriage thing. He sat for a minute with Emmeline and they were soon joined by a girl about Jude’s age and (I assume) her little sister who could only have been eighteen months old. Naturally, she was a bit wobbly on her feet and soon stumbled towards Jude, placing a hand on his leg to steady herself. Hilariously, and typically for Jude, he looked at me in horror and said in exasperation “she hit me!”
Jude is famous for his accusations. If someone brushes past him in the street he says that they hit him; if you accidentally bump arms then you also hit him! I had to laugh, the older girl looked so baffled and quickly apologised for which I said she had no need, it wasn’t anything at all.
Basically, this week Jude has struck me as struggling with group situations more than ever. Firstly, the park today. Following a short visit, my mum took him back to the car to wait for us whilst the girls played in the sandpit for a little while longer. Jude had initially said he wanted to play in there too but it’s huge and there must have been about thirty feral, spade swinging children in there. You can imagine the scene. Kids leaping off the pirate ship, running up the ramps, the visual confusion combined with the noise was just too much for him. I was amazed he held it together so well and didn’t have a meltdown.
At home as well, he’s been struggling more than usual. When everyone is at home and the girls are playing noisily, he very often goes upstairs.
Jude loves to lie on his bed and play with whatever he loves at that moment in time. This week it’s his blocks.
If I say we’re going for a walk down to the allotment then he won’t go if everyone is going, only if it’s just with one adult. It’s so sad, I can’t imagine how much it must confuse his brain trying to compute all the sounds, lights, colours, objects all moving around at once. He particularly struggles with Emmeline. She turns two on Sunday so is rather unpredictable and erratic in both her moods and her movements. If she has a tantrum then he just has to get away from the noise and it often sets him off in to a meltdown himself which makes everything incredibly challenging.
He adores his sisters but he is definitely getting worse with social situations. I know cognitive regression is fairly common with learning disabled children and I’ve seen a definite step back in both his social and fine motor skills of recent.
So sad. Hopefully the summer holidays will be ok for him.