Talena - posted on 01/03/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )
My name is Talena. I'm a 32 year mom to an 8 year old boy and 5 year old girl. I'm not even sure where to begin. My son was an amazing baby and toddler. From 4 1/2 months on, he was in the 115th percentile for overall size. He displayed exceptional intelligence very early on. Everything changed when he was about 3 1/2. He lost most of his speech, reverting to 75% babbling. He was no longer able to identify a trapezoid or parallelogram. His behaviour became very agressive. He was diagnosed with HF Autism and ADHD. We are still working on having a Central Auditory Processing Syndrome assessment done. The most notable part of his challenges lie in his intense aggressions. When he has a meltdown, he rages, blindly. He's like Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde. For the last 5 years, the majority of his rage is directed at me. The professionals always told me that as difficult as it may be, there should be comfort in the the fact that he felt comfortable enough with me to behave this way toward me. He used to tell me he wouldn't do it to daddy because he was "afraid". We learned he wasn't actually afraid, but he viewed daddy as stronger than him. He's done some very frightening things. At 5, he scaled the counters to get kitchen shears to give the cat a hair cut, nearly severing the cat's ear. Also at 5, he put a plastic bag over his sister's head, telling her she'd never see Mommy & Daddy again. He would take knives and stab his stuffed animals. It was during that time that we finally agreed to medicate, as it was painfully obvious he was a danger to himself and others. As he grows, he grows so much stronger. He's always been a big boy in terms of height and weight...been very much a tank. He's a boy of solid muscle. When he was 6, he punched me so hard in the stomach, it dropped me to my knees, tears sprung to my eyes, and I almost vomited. He has left scars from bite marks, given me black eyes, bloody lips, spit on me when I'm bleeding & crying. He's punched himself in the groin, as hard as he could, repeatedly, never registering the pain, until ultimately he wet himself. He bites, punches, kicks, headbutts, throws things at me, spits on me...you name it. He's even told me he would get a sharp knife and stab it into my heart when I wasn't looking. That wasn't the only time my death at his hand has come up.
With the exception to the behaviours prior to the meds, these behaviours are only present during a meltdown, but are so very intense. We try to redirect, but it doesn't always work. He has such intense blind rages. We've always had a fair amount of success with the basket hold restraint method, but it's not working anymore. He's so big and so strong now, it takes everything I have to restrain him. At 8, he already has clearly defined abdominal muscles, without any kind of "training". Today, we actually had to take him to the hospital because he complained of back pain following his worst meltdown ever. We had fought for an hour to restrain him to prevent harm to anyone or destruction of any possessions. This was so difficult. We were terrified someone would call children's services. But, we needed to make sure he was okay...and he was. He bruised his shoulder blade bone. Fortunately, the staff was so compassionate and non-judging. I sobbed as I explained what happened, feeling like the worst mother in the world. The doctor expressed concern about supports in place and how we are going to manage as he gets bigger, as the doctor was able to experience his strength through the tests to make sure nothing was broken. I have no idea. We moved 400km 2 months ago, so we are starting all over with significant wait lists. My husband and I share fears of what the future is going to bring us. We both whole-heartedly believe that if our son had the means to do so, while in a meltdown, that he would actually kill me. We're confident that he would feel incredible guilt and remorse after the fact, but getting him to see those things in the moment are impossible. :(
I struggle with the abuse that is directed towards me. I was physically abused as a child. I've always sworn I would never raise a hand to my children and I would NEVER let anyone else raise a hand to me. Here I am, with a child who uses me as his personal punching bag and is content to see me hurt/crying. It's different than having someone else in my life that I could just walk away from. He's my son. No matter what he does, I'll never change a thing about him and I'll still always be there. When he's not melting down, he's such a loving boy. He hugs me, tries to console me when I'm upset, sometimes offers help. He's learned how to behave appropriately when someone is upset.....but getting through to him when he's locked in his rage is like having a completely different child.
His sister has SEVERE ADHD, and other issues not yet identified, but not ASD. There are many days I feel like I'm just going to crumble into a million pieces.
I look forward to learning whatever I can from this community. The right support system is invaluable. I welcome any questions. I'll do my best to assist anyone in the community.