Monday, April 12, 2010

Changes = anxiety

We have friends coming to stay, from interstate, so it's a big thing.
Woohoo, very exciting stuffs!
The general cleaning and tidying is getting an extra going over, something which has sparked the anxieties in our son.
Any little change will crank up those anxieties in all people on the Spectrum.

The least little thing could result in a major melt-down of epic proportions if not handled right.
And so many things do happen in life without pre-planning or prior knowledge, things that just occur there and then.
The bus arriving 7 mins late, the blue socks on the clothesline being drenched in a sudden downpour and being too wet to wear on their particular day, the next door neighbour being sick and so their car stays in the driveway on a day it doesn't normally.
All these things are out of parents' control but the other things that are within our scope need such detailed planning sometimes it's better and easier to identify and discuss the anxiety.
We try to give our son fair warning when we know something is about to happen; we talk to him about it, give him all the details, explain what will be expected of him and from him, how other people may behave or what they might think.
We give him gentle reminders of what is and isn't socially acceptable, we remind him that the anxiety beast might make an appearance but he is to talk to us rather than let the beast rule his emotions.
He's getting good at recognising it and what the triggers might be - a remembered conversation from 2 weeks ago about something that upset him can get him riled or reading a current news article - it may not necessarily be a verbal interaction between himself and others at that moment that is the trigger.
He can get himself so doubled up in knots trying to sort his emotions out while being ridden by the anxiety monster that once it's identified and a solution to his problem is offered (and explained step-by-step) the relief washes over his features and you get the reward of a huge smile and a rib-crushing hug of thanks.
Other times he's able to nut it out for himself, to see what's triggering his issues and how he can circumvent the over-whelming feelings that can swamp him.
We parents need to keep looking beyond the behaviour of here and now to discover the cause, explain it (if we can) to our children and to help guide them through the minefield anxiety creates.
No rest for the wicked!

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