Thursday, April 10, 2008

He Gave Me Such a Fright!!

The problem with Asperger's Syndrome is that you never quite know what is going on in the person's mind or how it works. In the case of my son, he also has bits and pieces which are developmentally delayed. He still acts like a 5 year old and yesterday it could have had frightening consequences.

We used a staple gun to complete his school project. Remember the Heritage Fair project; Ogopogo? It looks good, by the way, and I took pictures of it ~ to be posted later. Anyway, I set the staple gun on the kitchen counter underneath some things, so I could return it to the garage. Later on I turned around to find my child, my precious child, had that thing pressed to his head with his hand wrapped around the trigger!!! I screamed ~ or tried to ~ at him to drop it.

My throat gets irritated very easily and if I yell or raise my voice, I cough. I can't shriek in other words, so my message yesterday was garbled by choking and coughing fits. He must have got the message though as he took the gun away from his head and started to apologize profusely. He said he didn't think about what he was doing and he didn't know the danger he was in!!!!! I told him that ordinarily you have to squeeze the trigger quite hard for the compression to fire off a staple but that it comes out with such force that it would have shot into his head and possibly right through it.

This kid of mine is so safety conscious! He can't break rules because they cause him such anxiety - good grief, he gets upset if his cousin tries to watch a PG 14 rated movie because he is only 11!! I spend a lot of time explaining the circumstances of whatever we are doing to him because he doesn't pick up things easily by just watching. As with a young child you warn them about the dangers of things around them... but I honestly don't know if he knew what he was doing. He does have a habit of doing strange things with objects....

At Sobey's 2 weeks ago he and I were picking out bread rolls from the bins. We were using the tongs provided for sanitary reasons when I looked over at him. He was using the tongs to pinch his nose. The man behind the bakery was thoroughly disgusted and said something as he grabbed the tongs from my son. I had to explain to son why you can't do that....ever....not even in OUR kitchen...

This is part of the social awareness that is missing in people with Asperger's. Those unspoken, hidden rules of society? Of course that incident was embarrassing but not horrifying like it was with the staple gun. Last night I told hubby what happened...sometimes it seems like we are making progress and then these things happen. To remind us that even when it looks like our son is learning and maturing, making sense of our world is not a natural progression for him.

I had nightmares last night because for that instant or two yesterday afternoon, I clearly visualized what would happen if he had clenched the trigger. It is a very vivid reminder that our cozy safe lives can change in a split second...and for too many people it does.

Have yourself a SAFE day and watch over those kids!!


Terri said...

Oh dear, what a terrifying experience! And poor Mathew - you must have scared the daylights out of him. It sounds kind of funny hearing you explain it (sorry!). It sounds like 24/7 vigilance and must be exhausting. I see what you mean by thinking there is progress and then discovering him doing something socially horrifying! The tongs thing is funny too, unless you are HIS MOTHER!!! In which case it is embarassing and sad and upsetting, I suppose. Oh, you poor dear. What a load on your plate. I know you don't want pity and could probably just use a sounding board a lot of the time! Well, we are here for that. I don't know how you do it. But I am glad that you are managing, however tough it must seem at times. I hope your hubby is supportive and you are a united front! Do you have lots of family support? Someone to talk to?

I don't have the same level of stress in my life obviously, but I do deal with the stress of chronic headaches and sometimes I know it is nice to just vent and talk to someone who will listen and say "wow, that sounds soo hard" and ask useful questions and show concern and interest. It is so much to deal with on your own, this thing, and people don't realize how intensely your life revolves around this. They don't realize the energy drain and the constant vigilance and the huge elephant that is always in the room with you. I hope you have support. I honestly don't have much, but it is different than your situation. Still, sometimes it is very isolating to have no one to share the HUGE sea of feelings with, feelings and emotions that change every 5 minutes as you go from hope to anger to sadness to complacency to feelings of success to annoyance to happiness and joy to unrelenting fear. It is a daily flood.

I am interested and concerned! Keep writing! It is fascinating to see your perspective and to hear of your sweet boy's progress and challenges. :)

Love to you and happy weekend!!!!

xo Terri

Julie said...

I am so sorry you had to go through that. Honestly, though, it happens with "regular" kids too. I shudder to think that my daughter almost could have had her fingers cut off when she stuck them between the bathroom door and the door post and the door was unknowingly shut. Fortunately she yelled right away. And one time a kid I was babysitting stuck a plastic bag over my daughter's head. My god, my daughter could have died. Tragedy averted. It's a wonder our kids grow up at all.

restyled home said...

I shudder at the thought! Thank God you caught him in time!! We like to think our children "know better" but they can always surprise us...poor Mathew...he must have had such a fright!

Take care,