We all know Jude’s behaviour can be, at best random and at worst, atrocious but this weekend he has surprised me. Friday night was awful and I wasn’t sure how to cope with his screaming but he woke in a slightly better place. We wavered a lot in the morning and my anxiety was beginning to raise into the danger levels however following a few hours out with Granny, Jude was as happy as could be and our weekend was back on track. We honestly couldn’t cope without Granny. She has been a huge part of Jude’s life literally from day one so knows what a challenge he can be and as a consequence my mum regularly offers to take him out for a while to break the cycle and give us all (and Jude) a break.
It’s funny because Jude can literally be the epitome of joy, telling me he loves me, smiling and laughing like an excitable toddler, asking if I like his hat/t shirt/shorts, if I would like a drink, if I would like to play a game. He was wonderful Sunday morning. Jude came downstairs and sat with us all, ate his breakfast and played with Emmeline. He then asked if he could go up to his bedroom for a bit which of course I accepted. After a while, Elsa went into his room and asked if they could play on his swing together and he was overjoyed (whereas normally he’d shout at her to get out of his bedroom.)
It amazes that the person who, on Friday night, was lying on his bedroom floor, refusing to put clothes on, spitting, screaming, kicking and throwing things, is the same person in the pictures above. He craves love and attention yet at times, life gets too much for him and he rejects it all and in the words of his teacher “let’s himself down.” He lets himself down because his reaction is one that doesn’t resonate well with most people yet he doesn’t know how else to express his dismay.
This is where discipline and teaching boundaries is tricky with an ASD child. He doesn’t mean to be horrible but he often can’t control how he behaves, it’s as if he’s possessed and I just have to leave him to it until he calms down and he tells me he’s finished. It’s like a moment of clarity in his brain and he’ll say “I’m done mummy”.
Boundaries and ASD are a strange thing because these boundaries are defined by people living in the social world that children like Jude just don’t understand. It would be like Jude creating rules for us to live by, they would just seem bizarre.
What was good about this weekend was that when Jude started to show signs of wobbling (i.e. he began flapping at people, making annoying noises, running around erratically, throwing things), I was able to catch it quick enough and we’d simply go up to his room and lay on his bed or sit on the hammock swing together (BEST think we’ve ever got for Jude!) BUT is this realistic? I dedicated more time to Jude than normal and whilst it was fantastic because Jude wasn’t a devil child, it was emotionally and mentally tiring because I wasn’t really able to relax. Even when sitting and playing with Emmeline, my head was really listening out for Jude. Is this fair? It’s such a hard balance to create but makes me realise that Jude needs someone with him pretty much all the time.