Imagine giving your child a few packets of sweets, a can of cola and just to top it off nicely a bowl of ice cream topped with sprinkles. You watch their eyes widen, their body begin to go at extra fast, their voices louder and they become uncontrollable. That’s what it’s like to live with P1 right now.
As soon as those little bluey green eyes open for the day she is loud, she jumps all over the place, grabs you, doesn’t listen to anything from the smallest insignificant things to really important things, she’s always flapping her limbs about and generally uncontrollable. That’s just one side of the problem.
P1 seems unable to understand when she’s done something wrong. She cannot process her emotions or the emotions of others. Being told to do something like put her coat on ends up with a full blown mental breakdown. The school are noticing issues with her concentration which is effecting her school work.
She’s hypermobile which I think disguises a lot of her behaviour problems. She’s unable to run around like other children so everything she bottles up comes out in a ball of fury, in one place. She’s also got dyspraxia and mild diplegia which is effecting her writing and she is falling behind.
Since going into Year 2 things have got incredibly worse at home for us. There’s snippets of the day when she is such a cutie and of course I love her no matter what. But the majority of the day is spent asking her to calm down, to stop jumping on things like her sisters or sofa, to be quiet or not so loud. I watch her against her younger sisters and I really worry. She can’t see that her sisters are telling her to stop because she’s hurting them, then has a huge shouting, slamming and stomping situation when she’s told off for pushing her sisters.
The issue is that the school don’t see this side of her. Apparently she’s calm and well behaved. She’s social and kind to her friends. Her Year 1 teacher once said to me “P1 doesn’t have autism, children with autism can’t just switch it off” and that has really stayed with me. It’s not true. They can. Some children really thrive in a routine and P1 is clearly one them. When she comes back from a weekend with my Mum, she’s a nightmare to get back to normal. She reacted rather badly to having two sisters arrive in her life.
Last week we had a meeting at the school with an Educational Psychologist. I was asked to go in and meet the EP before she was to assess P1. I wasn’t sure what they were there for exactly, behaviour or school work or what, but I wrote a list of the things that worry me about P1 so that I was prepared and ready to answer anything they asked me. I’m so glad I did express all my concerns because for the first time ever I feel like I was listened too.
The EP agreed with me that children with autism can cope with the condition better in certain situations. That girls show different characteristics to boys. For example, P1 may be able to cope in social situations better than other situations. The meeting was eye opening for both myself and I think her teacher. It was quite emotional to finally feel like someone was on the same page as me and going to actually help us.
I have no idea if P1 has autism of any sort. I understand it’s a huge spectrum because my brother has Aspergers which took a very long time to diagnose. I am really looking forward to the report in the next few weeks and I feel like this year has started well. All I’ve ever wanted is the best for P1. For her to be happy and content with life and with herself.
I honestly feel like I haven’t been the best mum to her recently as I’ve struggled to come to terms with the way she’s behaving. Struggling to accept it because this isn’t how I want my daughters to behave. But this could just be her, the way my future is set to be, the way her future is to be and I have to grow up and be her support. I may have a daughter with autism.