asd · aspergers · autism · HFA · PRTF · residential placement · RTC

This or That

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I love this video, it shows how amazing D can be. It shows how athletic he is, his ability to multitask, and it shows a glimpse of normalcy in our family. It shows a time when we were all having a good time. It shows us having FUN!
Mamas experience life through their children. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

We experience the fun and normal times, like in the video.

We experience when our children are being hurt by others – whether verbally or physically.

We experience when our children hurt others.

Sometimes, we have to experience our children hurting themselves.

This week, I experienced both my son hurting someone else, but also my son hurting himself. My heart sinks when I see the phone number for D’s school on my phone when it rings. Generally, during the day if they call, it’s because D has had to be put in a therapeutic hold or seclusion. He has passed the point of being able to use coping skills. He has passed the point of being able to self-soothe, talk to staff or his therapist. He has passed the point of being able to go to the time out room to regain his composure.

He has been aggressive without being able to be redirected. He has continued to escalate despite the work of the staff members to help him work through whatever is troubling him. He is out of control.

When the school calls, they always tell me, “D had to be placed in seclusion/therapeutic hold for x minutes. He did this or that and his response to interventions with staff was this or that.”

This or That, generally has been aggression towards staff who was trying to intervene during some sort of inappropriate behavior. Occasionally, the aggression was towards a peer and then was transferred to the staff member who intervened. When the person who calls tells me that my son has hurt someone else, it makes my stomach turn. Sure, I knew what type of aggressive behaviors he had before he went to the center. Let’s be real, without those behaviors, we would not have made the gut wrenching decision to place him there. However, listening to someone else say, “Hey, your kid did this or that!” is the PITS! It is absolutely a stomach turning, heart breaking, mind blowing level of Mama heartache.

This time, this or that was different. This time, it was a different type of absolutely stomach turning, heart breaking, mind blowing level of Mama heartache. This time, the person that called told me that my son had tried to harm himself. Not to really harm himself, but more of an attention seeking behavior, but absolutely serious nonetheless. You see, while he is just seeking attention at this time, the attention seeking can quickly turn to a much more serious way to seek attention. As his amazing therapist said, it can become a huge mistake and some mistakes are too big to take back. The thought of that type of mistake makes me absolutely sick. Really, totally sick.

I have gone back and forth for days.

Which phone call do I dread the most? “Your son did this or that to staff/peer.” or “Your son did this or that to himself.”

I think I dread them equally, but differently. I do not want him ever hurting another person. I especially never want to hear that he has hurt another child. However, I also never want my son hurting himself. I just don’t want him hurting anyone – himself or others.

I want my son to be a happy little boy. I want him to be able to use his coping skills and learn to process in a productive and appropriate way whatever is going on.

I don’t want to change his personality. I love his goofy grins, I love his quirks, I love his excitement about things, I love his innocent humor, I love nearly everything about him. I even love his autism, it is what makes him who he is.

I’ll tell you what I really want…

I want my son to love his personality. I want him to love his goofy grins, love his quirks, love his excitement about things, love his innocent humor, love everything about himself. I want him to love his autism and be happy with who he is. And, I want him to learn that hurting himself or others is never an appropriate way to handle something.



3 thoughts on “This or That

  1. Oh Lena, my heart breaks for you! It just seems there should be something that can be done for D. I keep praying for your whole family that someday some way he will be able to be safe and come home.

    He is absolutely amazing in this video! To both walk that bar and twirl the hoola hoop takes amazing coordination and ability! (((Hugs))) to you both.

  2. Acting out to pretend to harm themselves or even say they are gong to harm themselves is very typical.Also saying it and/or doing something doe snot mean he wanted anything more than attention or was so frustrated that he had no other way of communicating his anxiety.It is gut wrenching I know, but with continued therapy and support he will learn the appropriate ways to express himself and the actual outcomes of his actions. Remember typical children of his age, have no idea what death really is so an aspie would also not understand it any better.HUGS

  3. Thanks so much, ladies! Karen, can you believe that? I'd fall and bust my hiney. Let's not even discuss the fact that I've *never* been able to work a hula hoop. HA!

    Elise, you're right. I know that he is not serious about his pretending/attempting to hurt himself. He is quite capable of doing so if he really wanted to. That said, what scares me is the "mistakes too big to take back." What happens if he really does hurt himself or worse? This is where I am so grateful for his therapist. She is working with him diligently to help him understand the right ways to express his frustration and anxiety. He has learned so many great coping skills and can identify them. The putting them into practice is slow, but it is happening! 🙂

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