I have been taken up for the last few months with work as I build up my consulting business to where it should have been a year ago. I am pleased to say that it is well on the way to being there, with several retained clients and enough ad hoc work to make life more than bearable and much less tense.
Of course, life with Michael has continued along similar lines to before. ther have been significant steps forward: the LA has paid for an Occupational Therapy Assessment at school and also the programme that the report recommended. I cannot recommend this approsch strongly enough. Michael enjoys the interventuions and expresses just how much he benefits. Interestingly, his teachers rave about the difference it has made to how Michae responds in class.
There has been a read across into home life, with exercises at home to help Michael deal with stress and also to help him sleep. These have had many positive impacts. Particularly the occasional ability Michael shows to ask for help when he is stressed. A key technique involves squashing him. Mainly under some cushions, or similar. Michael is large for his age and his body flops all over the place normally. He keeps moving to get a sense of where he is and feel more in control. Squashing him (deep pressure is the technical term…) seems to give him a sense of where he is and relaxes him significantly.
We now do this at home regularly before he goes to bed as part of a wider routine, and also when he is very stressed and he asks for help to calm down.
So school is going better. The Christmas holidays have brought the typical level of stress expected from many ASD kids. But even we were taken by suprise by just how challenging this Xmas has been.
Whether it was the total panic attack, with full-on sweary 1am wake-up call on Xmas day when he said he needed to get up and would never be able to sleep again, or the hair-trigger aggression and violence he has displayed towards all of us most of the holidays. Overall it has felt as though we spend the whole time just telling him off.
The big news though, is JuJitsu. Michael has now been doing this for about 6 months. This is, truly, astonishing. He is gifted in terms of hand-eye coordination and shows a talent for golf, tennis and other similar sports. But he has never been able to sustain interest for longer than a few months, even with carefully constrcuted 1-2 support.
We have been taking Michael to jujitsu 3 times a week ever since he started, without ever having to pressure him to do so. I have mentioned before concerns over violence, but he has been helped to manage this by the instructors, both inside the class and outsise.
Today, after attending holiday club classes (apart from 2 days where he had meltdowns in the morning before going and couldn’t even think about it – we wouldn’t withhold it as a punishment) he was awareded his Yellow Belt.
He was so proud of himself and Sensei left him with the thought that he had made fantastic contributiuon to supporting younger members of the club and had shown real committment, skill and concentration, so this should give him the confidence that he could do the same in the outside world.
I couldn’t have thought of a better message and we spent a happy afternoon together where his blinking tic was almost completely absent.