autism, autism awareness, Autism Speaks, autistic children, behavior, board of education, daycare centers, educational progress, family, New Jersey, schools, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games, Walk Now for Autism, working moms, writers
These past few weeks have been quite eventful for me. As I sit here typing away I find my thoughts scrambling and begging to question, “How are you going to hold it together?”
I continue to work forty hours a week, trying to make sure I give 100% of my time to ensure the business thrives. However, once I get home I have to shift my thoughts and energy and dedicate 100% of my time around getting extra occupational therapy for my three year old. He, like his older brother, loves to watch wrestling and impersonate the superstar athletes; yet unlike his older brother, he doesn’t understand that you cannot wrestle with kids in school. He has taken to hitting every child as a means of play and out of anger. My husband and I have received complaints daily for the past two weeks, which I am sure is stressful for the staff – but also heartbreaking and stressful for us. Did I also mention that he – like several autistic children – is a runner, and he finds it quite amusing to run out of the classroom and charge down the hallway? He knows that this act is wrong; he knows that people will charge after him; but he does it anyway, all the while laughing hysterically, evading staff and running faster each time (which makes it difficult for me to praise the obvious genetic trait that he received from his mother who ran track for thirteen years).
So, I find myself juggling my full time job, figuring out ways to calm, re-direct, and reprimand my baby when he hits hoping a resolution will surface and his need to hit will decease. We have eliminated wrestling from his view for starters. I find myself trying to reach out to as many services in his school and outside to figure out how to stop the need to evade, which of course has its dangers. Lastly, with all that’s going on, I wonder how do I find the time to finish my novel or ensure I stick to my promise: writing a weekly blog?
My deepest fear is that things will spiral out of control. I love my family tremendously, and I would hate for my three year old to go through the turmoil that his older brother had to go through: being the outcast because of his behavior, constantly being alienated due to staff being ill equipped to re-direct and deal with him; and more importantly, being thrown out of his after school and morning program because of his inability to control his compulsive behavior. Recently, my husband brought it to my attention just how overwhelmed I have become with trying to figure out a way to diffuse the situation. Had it not been for his observation, I might have completely lost it!
He bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I failed to mention just how grateful I am for the gift. As much as I fought against him buying it initially, once again, he provided me with something that I could appreciate. The first thing I bought was Suzanne Collins trilogy The Hunger Games. I didn’t know much about the book except for the trailer I saw on television; and yet I was moved to read the books. Within two weeks I read over 600 pages, I just couldn’t put the book…well the Kindle down. I finished three books in two weeks. I became engulfed in the story and for those brief moments I was calm and relaxed and not frantic over trying to balance work with the stresses at home. I could step away and let my mind seep into Collins world, if only momentarily.
Now that I am no longer starving for the Hunger Games, I have given myself a week to cast the Kindle aside to focus on my novel – which I have done. If I can finish three books in two weeks, I must have time to write thousands of words for my own novel. And of course there is more than enough time in the day to plan out how I can help my son control his compulsive behavior and convey this to his teachers and staff before they give up on him.
In essence, I am optimistic that I will hold it together as much as I can, with a little help from my wonderful family, a small piece of technology, and a keyboard that allows me to write cathartically and release my anguish in an artistic way.
I am always open to any suggestions on stress relief, interesting books, or remedies to decrease compulsive behavior?