Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Autism, communication & flash points

I was jittery about having Chrissy home this weekend after our Xmas Nightmare but things were much better. She had one outburst lasting 10 minutes, in which she self-harmed & stripped off all her clothes. It kicked off as I was preparing dinner. Meal-times, like transitions from one activity to another, are flash points. We had a near miss over a meal the next day when I served Chrissy nachos & described them as 'corn chips.' She latched on to the word 'chips!' I could have kicked myself - it's so key to use the right words when communicating with Chrissy.

We made a conscious effort to use her symbols more often, & found them very helpful, eg when I gave her her morning medication, she fussed about wanting to go back to sleep. I handed her the picture symbol card, gave her time to take a good look & tried again. Understanding exactly what was expected of her helped & she took her pills calmly.

We try to learn from Chrissy's setbacks but sometimes her threshold for outbursts is so low we can only ride the storm & wish for the umpteenth time that she could tell us what she's feeling.

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