A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

4-Minute Read


If anyone dares to tell me that Tams current anxiety and stress is not related to school I think I will end up in the mental hospital. What I am writing took place on Friday afternoon or Saturday. It’s currently 4:11am on Sunday morning and for once we are all calm and quiet.

The plan that is place included me lying to Tam and getting him ready in his normal clothes (not uniform) and “taking him out” and then putting him in the taxi. Yes, this was my idea! Well I cannot live with that so for the past 2 days I have been prepping Tam for school. It has not gone well.

Firstly Tam immediately wanted to replace school with “2 sleeps Bedeburn (respite)”. It was even said in an excited way. It was lovely to hear but I knew it was diversion from school. After lots of talking about school and setting Tams expectation of going to respite to the correct time we have come down to some behaviours that are very telling. Secondly Tam has reverted to his behaviour earlier in the week. Angry aggressive attacks,refusing food and drink and being dis-regulated.

So 2 days of dis-regulated, angry and aggressive Tam after getting him to a place of calm and quiet. School is important and I have to move forward and at the moment that means bringing Tam along kicking and screaming.

We have been using a week calendar that I have printed out and I have marked out when Tam is at school. We have 2 weeks printed out so he can see what I need him to do. I was working on the principle of if you take a 24 hour day and mark out the time out school it does not look like much, plus it shows weekends. He has 2 weeks of school and then half term and then 3 sleeps at respite and back to school. I have been basing my talks with Tam around the separation anxiety I know he has and staying away from trying to understand the “fear and anxiety” he seems to show. For now I am going to concentrate on the separation anxiety and hope that the “anxiety” is only related to that. I don’t know exactly how the school day pans out or how he is being taught but I do think that it is having an effect on Tam.

Now every conversation has led to Tam getting aggressive. He has stayed still and listened and asked questions, he has cried and I have cried but I have tried to give a very strong message of how important school is. That message does get through and Tam does repeat things back, but the anxiety comes through.

I know that Tam feeds off my anxiety and I have worked very hard in keeping it in check. I have kept school conversations to a positive state and really made it a positive thing. I have used all of the times that I have been proud of Tam and what he has done at school. This part has been easy because I have always been proud of Tam and how much he has loved school. I was at one point jealous of his love of school and how it became his solid goto for him after Bev died. I was jealous that he had that.

6am Sunday morning and after a few tears and another conversation about school and that we have one more sleep and school. We are quiet again. Music quietly playing and Tam settled. School is in about 26 hours.

You might be asking why we have been up all night, a good question I have been asking myself that. It all stems from a conversation that me and Tam had about 5pm yesterday. It was about school, yes. It ended in an angry blowout from Tam followed by a lot of tears when he drew blood from me. That lead to a long cuddle and me telling me it was OK. With finally Tam falling asleep sobbing. He slept from about 6 til midnight. At that point he woke up full of hugs and kisses and checked the wound I had. He has been pretty settled apart from one period of upset.

So a couple of hours and its off to Starbucks for breakfast. Then I think we will go to the pictures and then home. It might end up being a long and upsetting day but the plan is to try to get him asleep before 9pm and up a little earlier than normal on Monday morning.

It has been one hell of a week. I can only hope for a good week.

Alan & Tam

It’s ugly when I cry

I’m crying all the time in my mind

Where it builds and it climbs

Beth Hart - War on my Mind

Recent Posts



Want to know more about us?