Extra time off is no picnic for those in our care, either.
The routines of school or other programs anchor them – taking away those routines causes anxiety.
During our son’s traditional school days, the anticipation of the end of the school year was frightening. After his junior year ended, he was so upset that his melt-down was beyond Melissa’s control. Tim was at work. Fortunately, our son had a doctor appointment that day. He had been repeating “…tomorrow is school” for hours, and continued to do so at the doctor’s office. He moved to sit on Melissa’s lap (he is bigger than Mom), pulling her head toward him, hoping that she would say “Yes, tomorrow you return to school.” The doctor saw the the escalating danger and admitted our son to a behavioral unit. There, he was medicated and eventually calmed down. Our son is in a year-round program now, but even weekends and holidays are stressful for him.
Recently, he had a three day bout with the stomach flu. Along with the constant bed-changes (even with 3 sets of linens, we couldn’t keep up), the cleaning of rugs, upholstered furniture, bathroom floors and clothing, there was his anxiety that he was not in his program. He hated being home and when he was not sleeping, he was chattering about his program.
Now it’s Labor Day weekend. He is clapping his hands and quoting movie lines. The same movie lines again and again. He wishes that something he likes, such as a Star Trek marathon, will be showing on TV. He doesn’t understand that we cannot control TV stations the way he can control the DVD or VCR players. We cannot find our “magic wand” for the TV!
Efforts to engage him in activity are not going well. His inner clock has been off since he woke us up at 4:30 a.m. He barged into our bedroom (he has broken the handle on the door by his constant rough handling) and started talking. When we couldn’t offer an immediate answer, he repeated himself, with increasing volume.
He is in his room, tapping on something, as we listen on edge, hoping we can meet at least a few of his needs that are within our power to address. So many aren’t, and our hearts are heavy for him.
Tomorrow: Working back into the routines.