Mornings blow. We all know this. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just wake up and jump out of bed and be happy, and cheery, and ready to take on the world? Ahh, but that isn’t real life, is it?
I’m a neuro-typical adult, and I know mornings are bad for me. Just imagine how a morning for a child with Autism can be.
Below is a video of a mother that is facing jail time because her child with Autism has been tardy to school too many times this year.
Please watch it … and then continue reading.
After I watched this video, I sat here thinking … and worrying … and thinking … and worrying.
Timmy has quite a few tardies already this year. It’s not because he is lazy and won’t get out of bed. It isn’t because I’m lazy and won’t get him up and out of bed. Each and every one of them was due to his Autism.
The Belt – Timmy has to wear a belt every day. We have a routine that he follows when he gets home from school. He takes his belt off and hangs it on a hook. I wasn’t home one day when he came home and my husband didn’t instruct him to put the belt on the hook. The next morning, the belt was nowhere to be found. His bus comes at 730. He was ready for the bus at 7. He didn’t have his belt, though. He was crying and we were looking for it. Finally I told him he’d have to go one day without it. We’d find it for him that day and he’d have it tomorrow. He walked out of the house crying to go down to the bus. When he saw the bus, though, he started screaming and hid behind my van. He refused to go down. He missed the bus. He ended up being tardy that day.
The Necklace- After “The Belt” we made sure to have EVERYTHING ready for him for school for the next day. Clothes laid out. Backpack all packed, etc. The day before, Timmy had received a necklace from a party at school. It was one of those cheapy mardi-gras type necklaces. He had decided this was his new favorite thing. When he had gone to bed that night, I had told him he couldn’t wear the necklace to bed. When I tucked him in, he didn’t have it on. All was good. Except he had hidden the necklace away so his brothers wouldn’t find it, and the next morning he couldn’t remember where he had put it. And …. we had a meltdown.
Have you ever witnessed a child with Autism have a meltdown? This isn’t just a tantrum that a NT (neuro-typical) person has. They honest to goodness think that the world is going to end or something. They cannot see past this one thing. This one thing at this time was that necklace. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING mattered, but that necklace.
And so he was tardy again. (Mind you, while trying to deal with his meltdown and help him find his necklace, I’m still getting the other two boys ready and out the door to their bus that comes 15 minutes before Timmy’s).
These are just two instances. We’ve had others that centered around … socks that were “pokey” to him. We changed his socks 6 times, and all of them felt “pokey” to him. We finally found a pair that he was comfortable wearing. Him getting down to the bus and realizing that there is a tiny little water spot on his pants. Being upset because his brother ate the last of the Fruity Pebbles and only left him Cocoa Pebbles, and even though he had Cocoa Pebbles the day before with no issues, today he will.
Oh yes, I can hear some of you saying “You are just letting him be a brat. You need to not let him rule like that.” I say to you … “You don’t have a child with Autism, and don’t understand.”
He is not manipulating. I know what manipulating is. I see it in children (including my own) quite often. Timmy’s world STOPS. Just stops. There is not school. There is not work. There is not ANYTHING that is more important to him at that moment. You can try to redirect. You can try to talk him down. Sometimes it works. Other times, no. Especially if I miss the warning signs and don’t get it taken care of before the meltdown goes ahead at full steam.
We get up with plenty of time for he and his brothers to get ready for school. We get things all set up the night before, and I set breakfast up and make lunches and pack backpacks in the morning before they wake up. This isn’t a scheduling thing. This isn’t a lazy thing. This is an Autism thing.
I believe the mother in the video should get a good lawyer and fight this. I believe that a good lawyer that specializes in special needs cases could really help her. He is late due to his special need. They should write this into his IEP or something along those lines.