Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sleepy Voice (Reprise)

There was a series of months where I got screamed at for my 'sleepy voice'. I understand now that it's not ME who is sleepy at this time, it's Coram. His tolerance is way down because he's completely maxed out, and he can't stand my voice at all. So, he screams at me to 'stop talking in your sleepy voice!'

Lately, I get a less specific, 'Stop talking in THAT voice!' I think this one is because I am congested and sound a bit different.

I can't remember who it was, either my wicked smart mother or my very apt psychiatrist (or both) that suggested that Coram may not like it when my voice is different because it causes him some anxiety that I might not be OK. Alternatively, it may just be an extension of his extreme need for routine and consistency.

Whatever the reason, this is one of my wonderful special son's traits that I have a VERY hard time with.

My voice is my voice, after all. It feels like a bit of a slap in the face when someone screams at me to stop talking in the only voice I have. I know it's not personal, very little of his behaviour is, but my knee jerk reaction is to be hurt.

I have so few knee jerk reactions any more. I have learned to step back, evaluate the situation, and make a guess to what is really going on, before I react. This helps me when my child is screaming, grunting, rocking, or (more often than I care to admit) throwing things and hitting. I know now that there is often something over stimulating him or causing him anxiety. Rather than immediately react to the behaviour, I need to look at the situation.

Most of the time, if I react to the behaviour it means introducing consequences or removing privileges. This can really make the situation worse if there is something in the environment I am missing, because Coram is unable to stop the behaviour, and has not lost a privilege and is more upset.

So, over time, I have learned to stop, think, and check. And if I can't get an immediate handle on whats upsetting Coram, I just hold him tightly until he either calms down, or I figure out what the problem was in the first place.

You just threw your cereal? Hmmmm.... must be that the milk isn't cold, or the table looks dirty, and you are upset. You need me to fix those things before you can calm down. Then, we can address you helping me clean it up. (As opposed to OH MY GOD YOU THREW CEREAL AT ME!!!)

I told you it's time to leave, and you won't move, or look up from the ground. Hmmm...something about what we are leaving for is upsetting you. I need to explain to you in simple terms where we are going and what you can expect, so you can relax. (As opposed to HELLO?? I SAID WE NEED TO GO!)

I'm sure that it's not just parents of Autistic kids who need to repress their knee jerk reactions. Most kids have some reason for their behaviour, other than simple non-compliance. I just get a lot more of the behaviour on a day to day basis than parents of neurologically typical kids.

But, as much as I have learned patience, understanding, and acceptance, I can't seem to stop feeling hurt when my child screams at mt to stop talking in the only voice I have.


buy a pool route said...

good descriptions on your sleepy voice.I am going to be sleep to read it.. adventures.