School holidays are always difficult when you throw autism into the mix. The change of normal routine can be a big issue. Add Christmas to that anxiousness, the extra attention from friends and family, the noises, the colours, the smells… well, I’m sure you can guess, it gets a little difficult at times! Not just for Mini-MaFt though, the anxiousness rubs off onto siblings and affects Mini-Mrs-MaFt too.
Quite simply, while we’ve had a nice Christmas, we’ve also had a fairly chaotic one…
Today Stupid-Dad (that’s me) picked up Mini-MaFt to go to his Monday night club only to find that it doesn’t start up again until next week… Cue meltdown :/ Shouting, screaming, kicking the back of my seat – the plan had been changed without any sort of warning. Suddenly, he went quiet and then after a short time (16 seconds to be precise) I heard a little voice saying “…17…18…19…20”. Just after this Mini-MaFt said really calmly:
“Dad, you know how [autistic friend] has to walk in circles around things to calm herself down or why-ever it is she does it?”
“Yes Mini-MaFt” (sometimes I use his proper name in real life…)
“Well, I count to 20 now when I get angry.”
“That’s good Mini-MaFt, and does it help?”
“Yes. I don’t always count to 20 though, I just count to my favourite number. Which is 20.”
How good is that? Such a simple coping mechanism that clearly worked. He thought of it himself too. In the car. I’ve tried getting him to breath deeply before now and that never helped. Sometimes the best thing is to let them discover their own coping mechanisms and support them in the process.
So, well done Mini-MaFt, next time Stupid-Dad lives up to his name, remember how you cope with it!