I often find myself saying "Oh Bella is really calm, chilled out..." It's always not long after these types of statements that a storm will hit. Usually there are triggers, (which I often don't see until afterwards) a half term, a change in a familiar route, a demand that I cannot or will not meet (like letting her eat Nutella straight from the jar!) These things in most children have little or no effect, and for the most part Bella is the same however this means when the storm does hit it is wildly unexpected and no preparations have been put in place. 

 

October half term was a challenge, she was under the weather for most of it which makes her quite rightly grumpy. The half term followed on from what has been her worst half a school term since she started (she's in year two.) Refusing to get in to her transport morning after morning, screaming and lying down in the street to the point where her school bus had to leave us outside our house at 7.30am.  This went on for a few weeks on and off and I'm still not entirely sure why but it did teach me one thing and that is to pick my battles. I cannot reason with Bella, she is classed still as non-verbal even though she can now request food and drink items...as well as scream “No No No” when she sees her school bus.  I had to beg lifts off friends and family to get her to school on several occasions and her brother Logan was often late for reception class.  As crazy as that time was and as much as I dreaded getting up in the morning once I decided that I wasn't going to fight her into the car it made it a lot easier.

 

The half term caused a lot of frustration, we were mid house move which meant everything was upside down, we were out of routine and she was grumpy...this meant lots of screaming, hitting, trashing rooms and bit more screaming for good measure. Many days I would proactively try and stop the negative behaviour like pouring water all over the kitchen and drowning every work surface in sight...other days I'd check there were no dangers and just let her carry on. She obviously needed to get something out of her system and cleaning up after her is often easier and less upsetting all round than the constant battle of wills.

 

Bella is six years old, she is tall and she is already very strong. I do worry what she will be like at 10, or 15. Now, if needs be, I can just about pick her up and move her out of danger although it's getting harder. I can only hope that with age she will be able to communicate more needs, that I will learn more skills to prepare her for change and that the world will become a less stressful place for her. 

Lauren is Mum to Bella and Logan, both at different ends of the autistic spectrum, she blogs at Sunshine and Showers and runs the Square Peg Foundation supporting children with additional needs.