Sunday, 8 May 2011

Severe autism & social inclusion

Increasingly, we are finding that outbursts occur when Chrissy can't make us understand what she wants. If she sets her mind on something she NEVER gives up!

Problems at mealtimes are a recurring theme. Last night she couldn't wait for her dinner & kicked off for half an hour, screaming & self-harming on the kitchen floor. I wonder if we should change the time we pick her up so that she has dinner almost immediately after we arrive home. I could plan pre-prepared meals.

Bedtime issues have been resolved by us adhering to Chrissy's rituals - these include sleeves, no matter how short, rolled over, 2 pillows with top one being turned over twice, & blanket pulled up so Chrissy can feel it over the top of the duvet....It just took us a while to understand exactly what Chrissy wanted.

This morning Chrissy kicked off because she wanted a 'remote control' for her laptop. In the past, we worked out that 'remote control' meant mouse. This time, we finally figured out that she wanted the remote control for her portable DVD although she soon realised it didn't work with her laptop.

Chrissy has periods of repeatedly asking for something & we struggle to work out what it is, then there are periods of relative calm alongside magical moments - this morning when Chrissy got up she spontaneously asked me for a cuddle & last night she made funny noises that made me laugh, & kept repeating them to amuse me again - a charming, playful side we love.

I felt sad to see how many injuries she had from self-harming. A toe is so black & blue I cringe to look at it yet it doesn't seem to bother her at all, ditto a raw looking scuff mark on her shoulder. Her nurse told me that her behaviour has worsened since the arrival of a new patient on the ward - another severely autistic lady who is also very challenging. I was reassured that Chrissy isn't afraid of the other patient; adapting to another change in her environment could be a trigger but it could be coincidence - Chrissy has also emerged from a cluster of epileptic seizures. Sometimes she is calmer during periods of increased seizures - a pressure cooker effect recognised by epilepsy specialists.

Chrissy's mercurial moods are an integral part of her & massively inhibit social inclusion now she's an adult. Her environment is probably as good as it will ever be & obviously that plays a key role. What's so heart-breaking is that we have seen her much more stable than this for long periods with the addition of an effective drug regime. The question is can this ideal ever be achieved again & how much longer do we have to wait to find out?

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