Its 9.15 am, the house is silent, I am sat alone down stairs, my son is laying on his bed playing on his mobile phone, we are on our 17th (at least) exclusion from school but this is the first exclusion from the special needs school he started in September 2018.
I am exhausted mentally and physically drained, my husband is the same, running on empty but left the house at 8.00 as special needs teacher to get to work, I will be working from home today….
Back track to 6.45am, we get up to start the day, H is in the bathroom we are greeted with the usual f$@k off, GO AWAY! We need to use the bathroom too. Today the lights don’t seem to be a problem (that makes a change and we don’t have to take showers in the dark!) Its 6.55 and H needs help with his personal care I’m making our bed but have to go immediately to the bathroom as H is screaming that he can’t sort himself out. I try to help with his personal care but every time I go to touch him he screams and moves away, it’s probably a two man job as he squirms and moves every time I go near him.
By 7.10am we decide it’s probably best that H has a quick shower, bless him he stinks! But it’s all too much he’s screaming and shouting, biting himself and swearing at us at the top of his voice, he makes a run for it, still covered in his own mess. We chase him across the landing, block the stairs and usher him back towards the bathroom, he throws himself on the floor, screaming and swearing fighting for his life, we have to move him towards the shower, he is hitting us, scratching and trying to bite. We get him into the shower his screams are blood curdling you would think we’re murdering him but were just trying to provide him with the best care we can. It’s like a living nightmare! It’s not even 7.20am and the home feels like a battle ground (God bless our neighbours)!
We decide we might as well wash his hair it’s been well over a week since it was last washed and he’s screaming anyway, (maybe it’s not important but it needs doing at some point we might as well get it done at the same time) We are all covered in water, H is traumatised, we are traumatised, but he is clean.
H continues to bite himself, he won’t have a towel on and he won’t let us touch him to help him get dry the screaming and swearing continues. We suggest he might like to brush his teeth before we go down stairs (another demand we know but something we have to try to encourage, he’s already had to have teeth removed due to decay) It’s not a good move on our part we know that he’s even more angry and almost singlehandedly rips the sink from the wall, I don’t know how much longer the sink will survive! He’s kicking, screaming and shouting and tells us he hates us, he wishes we would all die and he could have a new family, he wants to ‘stab us and see us bleed’. We leave him to it and let him recover whilst we get our other two ASD children ready for school and catch our own breath.
H continues on a huge rampage slamming doors, running past and hitting his brothers, shouting, growling and swearing (he also has Tourette’s syndrome) at us all as we try to ignore what is happening around us. H moves into the front room he won’t wear any clothes just his pants, the lamps come out of the room, he removes the cushions, throwing everything into the back room, he shuts himself in the front room and puts on the TV its not even 8.00am and we feel like we have run a marathon!
All that goes through my mind are the words the Head teacher of his special school said to me as he was excluded yesterday… “What are his triggers?” … seriously what are his triggers? See how many you can pick out here!!! H has an ASD diagnosis but we believe he is PDA and this is just another day.
Finally with all distractions and demands removed, (brothers, father, cushions, movable fixtures and fittings, noise etc.) H has finally calmed down and I can catch my breath. Why am I sharing this? I have no idea other than we fully believe he has PDA and even in special schools where they have had specialist PDA awareness training they still don’t seem to get it at all!