Friday, June 12, 2015

Our Autism Week

Holy day of craziness.

Correction - WEEK of craziness.

This was TJ's exam week.  He has been through exams before, but not end-of-the-year cumulative exams.  Different beast all together.

And I do mean "beast".

I was away last weekend so Sean helped TJ study all weekend.  They did a great job together and we thought we were prepared for our week.

HAHAHAHA!!!  We should have known better!  Note to self - when you think you've mastered something, be prepared for a curve ball.  We always get one.

So Monday morning, TJ had an Art final presentation.  No problem.  That afternoon, he was to study for English and Social Studies, to take the next day.

He had studied both of these a bit last week and more intensely over the weekend, so we thought it would just be a review.

Shame, shame on us.

He was studying for about an hour when I heard the wailing.  I ran into the dining room, where he had been studying, and found him lying on the floor, crying.

I figured he was overwhelmed and just needed a good cry.  So we moved to the couch and he let it rip.

20 minutes later, I realized we were in the middle of an anxiety attack.

So I got in touch with his special educator to talk about potential solutions to his shut-down.  He immediately said we could schedule his Social Studies final for the make-up exam day, Friday.  And as soon as I told this to TJ, he was able to start calming down.  It suddenly seemed manageable to him.  He finally calmed down and was able to study.

One crisis down.

So while it was exhausting, we studied every day, and he took a test every day.  Thursday afternoon, because he had studied for Social Studies all week, he reviewed and tackled his trouble topics.

He was ready.

He asked to go in early this morning so he could do a final review before his 8am test.  I dropped him off at 7:30.

I went home and crashed.  I was exhausted.

At 8:25 I checked email and found one from one of his para-educators that said "When is TJ coming to school?  We thought he was going to start at 8."


WHAT?  He's not there?!?!  Where is he???

I called the school as visions of a panicked TJ fleeing the school flooded my head.  He didn't seem nervous, he seemed confident when I dropped him off.  Where could he be?  Was he scared?  Was he hiding?

I waited the longest 15 minutes of my life while I waited for them to call me back.  Finally, the call came.  His Special Educator's room was locked when he got there so he went to his Social Studies room.  The teacher found him there.


Is this taking too long?  'Cause I'm almost done.

So he took his test, walked home by himself (!!!), and walked in our door triumphantly.  He felt great.  I was thrilled.  And I was tired.

So, I went to lie down, but heard him wailing from the basement about 20 minutes later.

"Sweetie, what's wrong?" I said as I came down to where he was hanging out in the basement.

"I miss my school!  I miss it so much!!!"  Lots of crying as I hugged him.

Ah, I thought to myself.  It has been a yo-yo week with so many ups and downs....and this is just a great example of our life with autism.

And it has affected all of us.  Peter had to be so patient and quiet as TJ studied all week.  Sean and I didn't go to the gym, as we were both helping TJ study.  If TJ is alone for too long, he gets distracted and he needed us to help keep him on track.  And we all had to eat enough, rest enough, and sleep enough, so we didn't lose our minds.

But we all made it.  We all got through the week, together.

And I think we all did a pretty good job.