Sunday, 28 June 2015

Our latest experiment!

It occurred to me today that it might be worth mentioning our latest (somewhat unusual) project.

For a long time now my oldest son, Domink (PDA, ASD, SPD, APD, dyspriaxia, ADHD, misophonia, urgh, and the list goes on but basically simply adds up to 'hypersensitive in all areas of perception' and 'n'th degree human being! Perhaps an evolutionary step?! Who knows, but these young people are coming through loud and clear and telling us that society is breaking down...they can't live in it any more!!! But ask yourself this, is the world they would prefer worse than the status quo?

Woah, massive sidetrack, sorry.

So, yes, Dominik has been asking for a room of his own. Specifically, the front room in our house. Traditionally, the living room I guess.

I have resisted and resisted and have kept telling myself that it would make life far, far worse as he would then have to self regulate his computer usage, his space and his time alone. Massive changes. Big gulp.

So, back in May, I finally agreed, on the proviso that he gave me his months allowance toward the furniture, bed and mattress and that he helped me moving his things into his new room. He agreed and we bought what we needed.

We then came to a hurdle. I did not have anyone who would be able to help me move the big sofa upstairs to what has now become our sitting room/living room/Hannon (and oftentimes, Lily's) bedroom.

I soon bit the bullet (amidst all the nagging from Dominik) at the beginning of June and paid someone. He did a few other jobs that had been depressing me too so overall, I guess it made us all feel much better!

Dominik moved downstairs just over two weeks ago.

The first few days were very rocky!!! I was stupid enough to push my luck and unfortunately, Dominik had a massive meltdown in public, which he hasn't done in an extremely long time.

I'd forgotten what they were like to be honest and I don't miss them one bit!

So, yes, I encouraged him to come out with us on 'moving day', even though he had already struggled to hold it together all morning and had been particularly dictatorial. Sigh, When will I learn?

He really wanted to please me (as a thank you for getting his room done) so he made himself come.

Well, yup, we learnt a valuable lesson at the same moment that day and it has changed our relationship in a big way and for the better. We both now know to be more mindful and to not try to be 'normal' even when it appears to be the right thing to do. We knew we had tried too hard and we failed.

Right moving on. Since that first day, life has changed.

Dominik is spending more time out of his 'room' than ever before! He even sat in our new living room and watched a WHOLE MOVIE with us! Without freaking out and spoiling it for everyone (do your kids who are on the spectrum do that, or is it peculiar to just mine)? He did meltdown as soon as I left to get everyone a drink but, nevertheless, it was a massive improvement.

He is choosing how he spends his time really well. Yes, he is still playing a lot, but it is different now. With the constant threat of it being taken away gone, he is clinging to it far less ferociously.

He will eat with me.
He will come and chat with me in the kitchen.
He came out for TWO picnics over the last week.
He played a game with me!!
He is a godsend when it comes to helping me with Harriet. He is by far the most amazing with her....she always laughs for him! She adores her biggest brother and he her.

Hmmm, he did have a meltdown yesterday though.
He desperately wanted to see 'Minions' and I said yes without hesitating and booked us tickets Thursday and we went Friday.

Well, he lost the plot before we left because we wore minion glasses and Lily went one step further and face painted herself yellow!!!

I thought it was brilliant and encouraged her. Well, Dominik went crazy saying he would be embarrassed and that it was "****ing stupid". He ranted and raved and demanded to be able to punch Lily or else he couldn't go. He was being completely outrageous. He ran off with the car keys at one point!!! How did he get those I hear you ask? Well, I had given them to him so he could go and get in the car first to try to avoid a fight! Yes, that was stupid!!! Hannon even told me so! Hahaahahahah! He insisted he wasn't going and I said fine, my mum was with us, so he could stay with her.

So, I get the keys back from him and he swipes at Lily, I escort her out to the car and belt her into the front seat. Dominik decides he wants to be in the third row (exactly why I need one, DLA, do you hear me) and I put down the seats and get him in sharpish.

Harriet and Hannon get in the middle. We're all set! Deep breath.

As we pull away, Dominik is in floods of tears.
He could not apologise enough.
He was devastated and hyperventilating.
I told him how much I loved him.
Hannon told him that it was ok and that he understood that it was just a part of his Apsergers.
Lily said she forgave him.
I told him it was in the past. That we got it, that we were really proud of him for coming with us, that we knew he could do it and that it was time to go and enjoy the film together.

It was plain sailing from there, with the three big kids behaving impeccably from there until we got back to the car. Harriet was excellent the whole time.
Lily proceeded to fall apart once back at the car.
Hey ho, we talked her down and laughed about how Dominik is more like to freak before we go out, Hannon is most likely to do it while we are out, and Lily, without fail, will do it as soon as we are leaving and she lets her guard down! So strange! I tend to do on the way out and on the way in! Not my best moment and definitely the times when I am most likely to lose my temper and need to take a time out!

So yeah, I think giving him what he wanted is paying off. My house is a happier place.

Lily loves being able to stay with Hannon (and even though he says he hates it, he keeps letting her come back even though I back him 100% if he doesn't want her stay with him).

Hannon loves that I can go and sit with him lots more during the day :-)
He can read for me now too in a quiet, comfortable space, and that is excellent. Massive hurdle jumped. He even read the promise at his Cubs going up ceremony better than the other three boys going up with him. So proud because when he started Beavers he was one of the only ones who did not read at all. Look at what he's done! He read a page to me a few days ago from "Soul Eater" and the only words on the page that he could not read were 'Pharaoh' and 'tornado'.

(NB an article I came across today adds to the idea of self-teaching in general.)

Dominik is so happy now he controls his own space.
He is even putting washing away, emptying his bin and bringing out plates and cups. Having ownership has helped in a big way.
His self-awareness with regard to his meltdown Friday was inspirational. I love him so much. I cannot believe how far he has come.
He was complimented by his hairdresser this week too for being able to sit so still and being so polite.
He has been going to the shop confidently by himself.
He has sworn less.
He has been quieter.
He has been sleeping more.
He has been nicer to live with.

But still, and most importantly, he really is so much happier.

The gamble is paying off ... for the time being at least.

Sending out progressive vibes for you all.

Thanks for reading.

N x

Some cool moments from the past two weeks.

On our way to see 'Minions'.

Lily and Hannon out with their Dad.

Dominik photo bombing me and Harriet!

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