Wednesday 26 October 2016

Two changes of direction, two write offs

Explaining to someone who doesn't have much knowledge about autism about the impact of a change of schedule on my son is very difficult. When I worked, I used to do lots of events, and one of the parts of this I enjoyed was I always seemed to be able to get over hurdles and unexpected issues well. I had a sort of practical knack not only for what we could do to fix things but also what was important and needed to fixed.

Whereas David has a great ability for trial and error, and then a fantastic memory to remember all the right options and Anthony's works in a similar way, figuring out the bigger picture is difficult for both of them... and Anthony in particular.  Along with the same autism diagnosis that his brother has, Anthony also has ADHD and this can sometimes be a brutal combination for him.

In the last week he basically missed out on two lessons at school because he couldn't get over a change in his day.

On the first of these days, Anthony usually attended a music therapy class at a centre down the road from school. He has been going to it for years and about once a term they do something a little different.  Sometimes it's a music club, sometimes they have a visiting tutor.  This week we had been informed that there was going to be a group dance therapy session.  Last year, Anthony was part of one of the groups at school that did the dance challenge and they got into the second round.  Surely this change could be handled.

Well, Anthony wasn't sure about it.  He's very into playing on his PS4 at the moment and basically anything that takes him away from that requires encouragement, like eating or going to the toilet even.  So as an unknown event, the idea of dance therapy didn't go down well. Despite having lots of time and motivational items on hand, Anthony's anxiety kicked.   He couldn't focus on what he was meant to be doing at school and instead got worried about what was happening later.  Apparently between the morning session at school between assembly and break was just write off.  But guess what, he coped with the dance therapy fine.

The same thing happened again.

Anthony's class had an end of term treat where the teacher told the class on that the next day the class could watch a movie in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, Anthony interpreted this as 'he thinks of a movie and he can watch that one'.  Unbeknownst to anyone, Anthony had decided in his head that he'd like to watch the Tom and Jerry Movie.

In the morning, when the teacher gave the option of five different movies that the kids could watch in the afternoon, Anthony's Tom and Jerry was not amongst the titles available and he had a meltdown. He was literally in uncontrollable tears in the SENCOs office. Another morning of work written off because what he was expected wasn't going to happen and he couldn't focus on anything else.

The kids actually watched Mr Peabody and Sherman, and by the afternoon, Anthony was fine. He watched and thought it was absolutely hilarious.

In hindsight we could have helped with a few things, but we couldn't have anticipated everything. The teacher could have been very specific when saying about watching a movie, and we could have got more information on the dance therapy class so Anthony knew exactly what was happening and made it less of a worry.  But the reality is, he will feel like this and we and the school just have to help him get over it sometime too.

Again, despite doing something he likes, half-term presents change from the routine and that always puts us all on edge. I'll give him some extra time to relax this autumn - I assume he'll get through his PS4 games quite quickly.  One of the interesting things about ASD and ADHD is that sometimes he can be really focused on the right thing, and that means he's absolutely awesome at his F1 game!


  1. Nobody likes a change of routine; we're all creatures of habit, but it must be so hard for your little boy, Anthony. I hope he's had a good half term and smashed that F1 game #MMBC

  2. I'm with Lisa, a change or routine can be disconcerting even to me. But I'm glad he felt better and actually enjoyed the movie :) #wotw

  3. This must be so difficult for Anthony to handle, and as you say, you can only really anticipate and prepare to an extent. I'm glad he enjoyed the movie and dance in the end, and hope he's had a great PS4 week :) Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  4. It's such a difficult situation because even the best of us cannot predict all changes of routine. It must be so difficult for him but I'm glad he enjoyed things in the end.

  5. Oh bless him, we recently had a change in routine here and it's so hard on the kids to adapt. I'm glad it worked out in the end :-) lovely to read more about your family. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam and apologies for the late comment this week! Xx


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