Our Little S has grown so much since starting Year 1 in September, and that’s not just his height. During his year in Reception, it was a mission to get him to read or do homework. We agreed not to force it with him. Instead we let him go at his own pace.
This year however, he has a sudden thirst for knowledge. He matter of factly told us that he had to learn to read so he can read his Lego books and the websites he likes to look at. He’s flying through the Oxford Reading Tree books at school. We still let him choose when to read and at the moment he’s really keen. He wants to do everything in his own time, thank you very much!
S has matured, as much as a 6 year old can be mature. He notices things that we don’t, and sometimes his insight and wisdom shocks us. I think it’s because he sees everything logically, and because he shuts people out, he has more time to take in everything he sees and learn from it.
As he’s grown older, I’ve noticed his autistic traits a lot more. They are somehow becoming more defined, as if he’s honing and improving them as he grows, if that makes sense? W and I have noticed that he is struggling with his emotions lately, in particular sadness and crying.
Anyone who knows S, knows that he’s always happy. He cried when he was a baby of course, and when he was a toddler, but rarely cries ‘for real’. He pretends to cry if Miss B whacks him with something, or if someone gets in the way of the TV, but doesn’t often really cry.
Lately, for many reasons, he has been crying more often.
If I ask him if he’s crying and why, he shakes his head and bangs himself against me, insisting that it isn’t crying. He won’t even let us say the word any more.
‘My eyes are melting. They keep doing it. Water comes out of my eyes and makes me wet. I don’t know why my eyes melt. They do it every day.’ At the same time he shakes his head and makes noises in the way he often does.
I’ve asked him how he feels ‘when water comes out of his eyes’ and he can’t tell me. I ask him if he’s feeling sad and he says no. We have to try and figure out what’s wrong with him with the few details he’s given us, if we’re not there to see the cause of upset.
It’s been really upsetting me to see S like this. I know it’s just crying, and it doesn’t last long, but to see him struggle with these emotions makes me feel useless. I’m his Mummy and I’m there to comfort him, but I can’t. If the act of crying hurts him, then how can crying help him like it should? That release we all need from time to time to help us get rid of pent up feelings and frustrations?
I’m planning to seek advice from our local Autism Family Support and see if they have any ideas of how to handle this. I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s had experience with this problem, with an autistic child or not. How do you help your child to cope with their emotions?