Posted on February 19, 2022 • 2 minutes • 379 words
Frame of reference
Tam struggles a lot with holidays. The worst time is christmas because it has a load of indicators about losing Mammy. But other school holidays have immense challenges for him. This half term is just one of them.
It is day one of half term and we already have 2 very anxious days under our belt. Today (Saturday) is on an escalting level of anxiety with Tam asking about school every few minutes. I am answering him in the most honest way that I can with “in a few days you go to school”. At the moment he is accepting that but he will get to the point of not.
I think that it worth pointing that lots of parents of autistic kids have problems over the holidays. I think it is related to the break in structure. I know also that it makes things extra tough to deal with the holidays.
Helping Tam (or any autistic child) through challenges is tough, relentless work especially when their frustration boils over into violence. I do my best when using language with clear and consistent messages. I have to chose the words carefully so that they have one meaning to him. Tam can at least have a clear picture of what is happening or what is going to be happening. The only question that is left at that point is can he cope with it and stay calm and contain his anxiety.
To help me to understand how to help Tam I try to drop into Tams frame of reference. Kind of like taking a photo. You have your view on the situation and when you take a photo you freeze the world and narrow the view of what you saw. Tams view is that photo, that frozen view, narrower field of view, in black and white or colour. My need is to understand that view he has so that I can help him see around the photo and understand all of the aspects he cannot understand in that view he has.
I wish I understood the world that Tam sees. I wish I could take away his anxiety, confusion and anger at the world he tries to understand. All I can do as his Dad is try.