I'm not going to lie I was dreading this half term, its a 4 week term! Totally rubbish if your kid takes 3 weeks to settle back in after a school break!
But after the last one being so horrendous!
Literally a week if meltdowns!!
I was determined to keep busy this time , plan well and if it was a difficult week at least it would be a busy one!😃
Don't get me wrong I do really feel for him, he's settled in to school so well and life within his little bubble remains predictable ,and he is more able to cope ,then all of a sudden everything is upside down🙃 and he can't verbalise or understand why ,and it comes out through behaviour, usually the first couple of days of any school break are ok ,but he starts to notice something isn't the same after a couple of days , things are not happening that usually do😳if I get the timings wrong for getting dressed etc it throws him out, that is why even in the holidays we get up ,dressed and go out as we normally would, it sets him up for the day, even with this structure in the last school break Oscar was unable to manage well, at all,he screamed almost everyday, all day, he started lashing out and self harming, this was a two week break!!!!
I had started to dread this one, during the last one!!!!! once Oscar is in that frame of mind that's it ,its all day, screaming, headbanging, breaking toys, lets be honest other children or not, where can you go? What can you do? Except stay at home!!!!, which isn't fair on my other children, so this time I made sure we had a busy week we arranged play dates, I told myself don't cancel, which I have before as he was so difficult I just couldn't face it.
With this in mind I made sure that there was something to pop out for each morning, to give our day a good start, getting dressed is a huge deal for Oscar, often the trigger for him attacking me !so I asked his school to make him a communication strip with PEKS Cards on it so we can work through this each morning for each item of clothes.
This actually worked😀so thats one less battle now, I booked Oscar into his old nursery holiday club for three mornings, this gave his day purpose, and allowed me to focus on my other son, which felt good as he never complains about how much attention Oscar demands, so I feel it was a good balance, Oscar in his happy place, a place of comfort for him he spent two consistent years at ABC Preschool and they know him inside out, he happily ran in each time and stayed until lunch time, this gave his brother lorcan some much needed mummy time it was win/win😃
Oscar has two very successful playdates also which involved garden play and hot tub, which he actually took part in, which was a first💙 he was more relaxed and accepted the other children sharing toys, these were planned, short, successful playdates one was at someone else house, this was a first for Oscar we usually stay anywhere 10 minutes max!! and he's looking for the exit, this is a vast improvement, to accept that we are staying for a while at his friend jacks ,also joined by a another friend from school both also have Autism, Oscar explored the house and garden for two hours, even ate and drank whilst there, this is a first and I was just so happy that this is possible now, it opens his world up a little more .
I'm mindful this half-term could be a fluke rather than progress, I do sometimes get a bit over confident, so I'm planning the 6 week holidays as if this ones been hell, I'm holding that desperate feeling from before as it keeps me proactive, to plan a measurable successful summer with time planned out for my other children, to keep that balance to plan each week on its own so we dont repeat too much, Oscar can become bored easily and that's no fun for everyone, when planning holidays I must plan for all three children, the last thing I want is for Orla and Lorcan to feel left out or worse! Return to school exhausted from the behaviours ! and feel like they haven't had a break at all! This has happened before!
I'm also planning my husband to take leave after the first two weeks.,we can team up for the middle part, it can get really lonely for 6 weeks if it's a tough spell, Autism and the anxiety can really get its grip on Oscar sometimes ,and it's really hard to get up everyday knowing what you face which can be days filled with anxiety in hot weather with no options of anywhere to go !
Autism is really hard but loving someone with Autism is easy ,so the balance is there and you naturally have the energy to carry on .
This half term we had arranged to spend time with a different friend from school but he had really struggled with anxiety for the entire week, hadn't been sleeping and had been having long meltdowns, I did actually get this mums pain as you get into a cycle with it and its so hard to break, you literally have to ride it out 😔all we can do as fellow patents is support each other in this ,as we all have our ups and downs and truly do understand each others situations 💙