1st February

1st February

Today we dusted. When we reached our sons room, he became agitated. Initially because of the noise from the vacuum cleaner and smell of the polish and then from our moving some items, he spent 37 minutes repositioning them back into place. Never leaving the task until it was completed to his satisfaction.

Another trait of Autism can be the absolute need for things to be done in a certain way, or things positioned in exactly the right place. In this case, the hand controls for our sons TV and CD player have to be lined up exactly ‘right’ – as we moved them while dusting, he would not leave his room until they were exactly back in place.

We have learned to understand this and realise that no matter how much we encourage him to leave them or allow them to be randomly placed, it doesn’t work and we have to allow him time to complete the task. Even something like switching off the TV, for us would be the flick of a switch and then we move on. In the world of those with Autism, that simple act can be like our leaving the house with the door left wide open. It has to be switched off, then switched back on to make sure the switching off can be done again and checked, not once, but probably 14 – 15 times or more until his mind processes the fact it has been done.

There is a process of preparing him for the movement of things like the hand controls. It takes days of explaining that we will put them in a different position. Showing him, allowing him to put them back the way they were and repeating this time and time again so he gets used to it. On the day we achieve the move, that then becomes the norm and in this position the same repetitive process starts anew. “Random” is something that cannot be comprehended in his mind, nor accepted and so we support his need to be precise until in his mind, it is safe to move away.

4 thoughts on “1st February

  1. Interesting blog Paul.
    Is it only things moved out of place in Marc’s room, or all of your rooms?
    How will it be with plant pots and trays in your new green house, will they always have to be in the right position?
    Have you tried dusting in Marc’s room with him lifting, say the remote’s, while you dust under them, and he can place them back in their correct position in one go. Bet it’s not as easy as that is it.
    We admire your constant patience.

    1. Thank you as always for your understanding and suggestions Les. Generally, each room does have to remain in exactly the same position. I liken it to someone who may be blind and has to have things in the same place to navigate around safely. As always, there is a way to do these things and your right about having Marc involved, by moving the controls first. This doesn’t lesson the time he takes to reposition them, but it does avoid the distress in them being moved in the first place. We need to keep remembering, plan ahead, talk it through and get him involved in small stages. Patience as you say is key, life sometimes forgets that, but we do spend more time trying to calm things down afterwards, than we would remembering to do it right in the first instance. 🙂

    1. Hello Dougie, I had asked that question myself once too. Counselling and Hypnotism were suggested as good options, and then following the use disastrous of a councillor, we then learned that both therapies can make things far worse as they bring forward bad thoughts that we are trying to forget and in the case of Hypnotism, it is said to affect the thought process, against that which he is trying to process and rather than create a different perspective, actually causes greater confusion and anxiety! Something we have not wanted to try, just in case Dougie. If I knew the outcome would be successful, before starting, I would try it, but where doubt remains, I have to protect against any possibility of it making things worse.

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