These arms tell a story.

These arms tell a story.
A story of fustration and anxiety.
These bitten arms show an attempt at communication.
These arms show meltdowns in their raw reality.

My girl does not express anger, fear, anxiety, or frustration, like other children.
My girl uses aggressive behaviour.
She either hurts herself, or me.
She bites, kicks, hits, pulls hair, throws things or hurts herself.

She has no effective way of communicating her own emotions, wants or needs.
She communicates by a show of aggression.
She is trying to tell me something.
She has had feelings building up, feelings she does not understand.
It is released through aggression.

I try so hard to prevent the outbursts.
I try to teach her it is wrong to hurt herself or others.
She cannot process instructions when the meltdown is happening, the language is too much.
The stress and anxiety mean that her slow processing time becomes non existent.
We can talk, but all she will hear is noise.

Professionals refer to this as Challenging behaviour.
Anything your child does that puts them at risk, puts someone else at risk, or makes things harder to manage are slipped under this umbrella term.
Some children with Autism don’t exhibit these behaviours but others can be in this heightened state alot of the time.
My girl has challenging behaviour.
It is hard and it puts a strain on family life.

Challenging behaviour is not restricted to physical aggression.
It can be shouting, screaming, swearing, spitting, throwing things, running away, breaking things and self injury.
Onlookers may see this as a tantrum, but Autism carers know the difference.
It may sometimes start as a tantrum motivated by anger, but quickly esculate into meltdown.
All children have tantrums…..even those with Autism.

Challenging behaviours are common in Autism.
When you think of the Sensory issues faced, the anxiety, the lack of sleep, the reduced processing time, lack of understanding, heightened emotions and frustration; it is easy to see how they manifest.
Faced with a multitude of feelings that you cannot process nor understand.
Building and building and then trying to communicate those things……

I am not saying that my girl biting me is OK.
I am not saying I sit and allow her to bite me.
She gets told off like any other child would.
She has to learn that hurting people is not acceptable.
It may not be her fault, it may be that there are reasons that I don’t understand, I may be able to rationalise why she has lost control, but I cannot make it acceptable.

It goes through stages.
This time of year is a massively challenging time for my girl……well for us all.
Challenging behaviours increase so rules at home tighten to accomodate and manage them.
We are not always successful, we aim to remain calm and try to redirect her attention.

Welcome to the dark side of Autism.

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