A journey through grief with autism.

Alan Greenwell

4-Minute Read


I have a load of posts that I have been working on that just need a bit more work. The problem is that Tam is creating a lot of work and worry at the moments. It’s only Tuesday night and this is what we have had so far.

Sunday was OK until the mention of school occurred. Then all hell broke loose. After wrapping Tam in a quilt and calming him down I explained why he had to go to school and that daddy needed to make him happy to go. I spent hours on this. I got him into an OK state but he was still obviously anxious and cried quite a few times.

Monday morning was not easy but I kept a smile on my face and told Tam everything was OK and that I loved him. I explained again why he had to go to school. After a bit of school uniform on, school uniform off we made a rapid exit from the flat with him over my shoulder. He got into the taxi and off to school.

Monday night, a very upset boy. Attack mode within 30 minutes of getting home. Refused to eat or drink and then while crying asking about “going to school tomorrow?”. More attacks and a lot of him pulling his hair. Eventually we got settled and I got him to sleep.

Tuesday morning, more of the same. Uniform on and off, and then a quick over the shoulder and out the door. Off to school he went. Later in the morning I had a conversation with the Children’s Phycological services and they explained that Tam is doing OK at school and he is better than he was at the old school site. I explained that I did not feel that way. A meeting was organised for February 11th. A bit far away but at least it was organised.

Tuesday afternoon and Tam comes home. Not in the blue polo shirt but in a sweatshirt. When I looked at his school diary it said “He had a nice day but ripped 2 polo shirts, no reason for him doing it”. At this point I saw red. How the hell could there be no reason for ripping 2 shirts. For gods sake, there is must be a reason for him ripping 2 shirts to pieces. What the hell is going on.

After Tam had been home for about an hour (of which the hour was peaceful with the same situation of not wanting food or drink) he came across and asked me “going to school tomorrow?” and I said “yes you are going to school tomorrow”. He sat back down and then after a few seconds went into attack mode. A few scratches and bites later I said in frustration “OK you are not going to school tomorrow”. He stopped dead in his tracks and started to cry. The crying was relief, unmistakable relief. I was shocked at the change and with very little trepidation hugged him tight. Now previously I have hugged him after he has been angry and been bitten. This time was different, the tears were tears of relief.

Since that happened Tam has asked several times “going to school tomorrow?” and I have stuck to no. He has eaten and drank. He is relaxed.

I have minor scratches and bruises. Still plastered over but minor compared to other nights. Minor compared to last Friday morning. How the hell can I send him to school when I can see the daily upset and stress this is causing him. Tomorrow will be a day of phone calls.

Tam is very obviously stressed by school. T-shirt ripping at school is not something he has done before this academic year. Fighting the night before going to school and then in the morning have not been a part of Tam. I need to know what is going on and it needs fixing. I feel made that communication has been so difficult and that this kind of behaviour is seen as normal.

I know being frightened to tell my boy he is going to school is not normal. I am covered is scratches, bites and bruises, that is not normal. It is time for action to get my son happy to go to school again. He used to love it before this year.

Update @ 2:06am After a lot more upset and Tam pleading “No school please” with bucket loads of tears I have managed to get him to relax and sleep. Don’t know what the morning will bring. I don’t feel like I can send him. Tonight I have managed to save us from clashing heads like last Thursday night but it all makes me feel uneasy.

Update @ 7:27am Tam had about 30 minutes sleep. Very restless. Still periods of crying and anger. Managed to get him mostly settled. Hopefully he will sleep now. Got to start making phone calls, and work out the next steps. Heartbreaking night and not expecting a much better day.

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