As many of you are aware Elliott has currently been diagnosed as being on the mild end of the autistic spectrum, although he has to go through a barrage of tests and assessments before it can be confirmed and a more specific diagnosis as to what condition he may have is. At the moment we are still at the early stages of those tests and I am making him an appointment to have blood test taken at our local hospital next week.These tests are to determine if Elliott’s problems are due to a genetic problem.
In the past couple of weeks I have had to work hard again to reset Elliott’s body clock and get him back into bed at a normal hour, as in 8pm instead of 1am! He finds it reasonably easy to get into a routine once the habit of going to bed late is broken and thrives on it but he finds it a lot easier to fall out of his routine and set us back to square one. Things with Elliott’s sleep are further complicated by a sleep disorder, which basically causes him to have night terrors and they are the most horrible thing to have to watch your child go through because there is nothing you can do to comfort or help them. He has been suffering with these since he was a baby and one day I will try to write a blog post to maybe help other parents. Due to these terrors if Elliott falls asleep during the day, for whatever reason, you can’t simply wake him up as 9 times out of 10 this will cause a terror and that then follows even more problems on top of him falling asleep so what happens then is he wont be tired at bedtime and then it goes from there. For now however we are back to 8pm sleep.
Last week we had a really difficult time with him where he was going to bed as good as gold and then at around 1am he was waking up and then being unable to get back to sleep untill around 4 no mater how hard he tried and bless him he really did try, Then out of nowhere it stopped again. I spoke to his specialist about what was happening and he said that if Elliott is on the Autism spectrum then he was more likely to experience problems with his sleep and that this can begin to happen at any time but for now he wants to just treat it as a one-off unless it happens again. This morning however we were thrilled as he has been sent a follow-up appointment to see the Professor next week!
All things considered when Elliott has a melt down in public, is impatient or acts in a way that people perceive as badly when in reality he just doesn’t understand it is normally easier to just say that he is mildly autistic – people understand that, sort of.
Before Christmas we attended our toddler group Christmas party and at this party there was an entertainer. Now Elliott has been going to the same toddler group since he was 4 weeks old and twice a year there is a party with an entertainer and Elliott has never watched the entertainer and has always chosen to play with a toy instead. This year I didn’t think it would be any different but by chance he had his pre-school Christmas party in the morning and the toddler one in the afternoon.
When I arrived at school I was amazed to hear that with the entertainer there he had joined in to a degree, he proudly showed of a glitter tatoo on his hand and was very excited to have met Father Christmas. I was absolutely thrilled at this breakthrough for him but didn’t expect miracles and when we arrived at toddler group he saw there was an entertainer, picked up a toy and stayed away from him and played.
A short time later a bubble machine came out so he wondered over for that and then walked back to his toy and at this point I was distracted and didn’t see him for about 10 minutes. When I asked one of the other mothers if she knew where he was she said he was watching the entertainer! I was amazed and there he was on the front row laughing his head off in this over exaggerated way that he has. I wondered over there to take pictures and heard the entertainer repeatedly telling Elliott to sit back. I went to sit with Elliott and quickly said to the entertainer that he was mildly autistic – so that he could know that Elliott may not understand the “rules” as it were. He replied to me “yeah I figured that out.”
What proceeded was just heartbreaking. Elliott was the child that laughed the loudest and was the most eager to please and yet the entertainer just kept telling him to “sit down, move back”. Elliott kept asking to join in and “help” and yet he would just keep getting agitated with him and repeat telling him to “sit down and move back” despite the fact it was obvious Elliott just didn’t understand why he couldn’t have a turn at being the assistant. Then a live rabbit was bought out and Elliott LOVES animals, the entertainer said the kids could stroke the rabbit if they sat down, then he changed his mind and made balloon animals for his “assistant child”, which initiated another round of over enthusiasm from Elliott at wanting to get a balloon animal and just being told to sit down again. Then the entertainer asks for a volunteer and Elliott is jumping up and down to help “sit down, move back” he gets told and he choses another child who he then asks all the other children to line up behind to pet the rabbit but by this time Elliott had been told to sit down so many times he didn’t dare move incase he wasnt allowed to stroke the rabbit and by the time I managed to get Elliott to understand that it was ok to get up and stand in the line every other child was already there and I was waiting for Elliott to go into melt down over having to wait – instead he just pushed in at the front because he still didn’t understand what was happening and all he knew was that he had to stand at the front to get a turn, luckily for me it was in front of a very understanding parent. He stroked the rabbit, collected his balloon animal and was so happy.To this day I don’t know why the Entertainer couldn’t have picked Elliott to start the queue so that he was out-of-the-way quicker for everyone else.
After the party I was cleaning up and the entertainer came up to me and this was the conversation
HIM: “err I knew as soon as your lad sat down that there was obviously something wrong with him”
HIM “Yeah well what you got to understand is I work with these kinds of kids all the time. What you need to do is take him to a few more parties with entertainers and train him up a bit”
I stood there amazed, he was talking about MY SON as though he was a naughty labrador not a 3-year-old boy. I also could not get over the mans arrogance especially as he had spent all his time just telling Elliott to “sit down and move back” often unnecessarily, if he knew how to handle “these kinds of kids” then there were steps he could have taken to help an over excited Elliott rather than tell him off and confuse him.
I have phoned the company to complain and they were disgusted with his behaviour especially as he is the entertainer they RECCOMEND for special needs parties! He is supposed to be calling me to apologise however my phone hasnt rung.
I guess in some way I am going to have to sadly get used to reactions to Elliott’s behaviour, which most of the tine is that of a normal 3-year-old boy, and it is hard to know sometimes where that stops and other things start. I realised on our trip back to my home town that my avoidance of doing every day things with Elliott, like going to the shops or out for coffee wasnt actually helping Elliott at all, it was making my life easier for us but Elliott already has a struggle to understand the “rules” of these situations and if I keep avoiding putting him in these situations he is never going to have a chance to understand them either. So in the last few weeks I have been making an effort to take him to the supermarket and the shopping centre etc and finding ways of helping him to get involved, understand and learn how to behave. We have had varying degrees of success but we are at least making baby steps forward. At the weekend he insisted we bought him this hideous BRIGHT GREEN hat, it looks very silly on him but he is obsessed with the colour green at the moment and everything has to be green and although this hat looks rather silly I have actually started to put it on him when we are out purely because, when he runs away, he is easier to spot as you can see this bright green thing running around!
The latest oddity in Elliott’s behaviour is the reappearance of everything being put into his mouth and we are finding teeth marks in everything, including the furniture. I’m not sure if this is a teething thing, a three-year old thing, copying Sam putting everything in his mouth or something caused by his “condition” either way I need to nip that one also in the bud. I am hoping that we can find someone who can advise us on it because at the moment I can see the damage that’s being caused and I don’t want it to escalate.
Elliott however remains Elliott, just as quirky and funny and loving and affectionate. For as many times a day he presents a challenge he also makes us laugh and is very adorable…..right now he has stripped off all his clothes and is refusing to put them back on even though its freezing, but then again he is 3!