For years T has been anxious and terrified around babies and toddlers. He can’t bear the sound of their crying and even when they are not crying he is fearful to be around them. This makes things very difficult as we have two young children in our wider family (2 cousins, aged two and 4 weeks). We hoped that the more he came into contact with them the easier it would be. But that’s not been the case and if anything he’s become more withdrawn.
Take last weekend, it was my nephews second birthday party. It was family only so not lots of 2 year olds just the baby, my nephew, another toddler and a 5 year old. As soon as we walked in the door the baby started crying (they do at that age) and T freaked out. He made it into the lounge where my mam sat him down and we put his iPad on and headphones. He cuddled into my mam and didn’t move for the whole party. He was miserable. The other children were having fun playing with balloons and chasing each other but T just sat in the corner completely closed off to the party. It was heart breaking.
He didn’t want to get involved in the blowing out of the candles on the cake ( something he loves to do) and in the end my husband left with him earlier than we had intended. It was such a big disappointment for me. And such a torturous occasion for T.
I vowed there and then to help T overcome this.
I’ve succeeded in the past with stress free haircuts and shoe fitting. We’ve also managed easy X-rays on his spine and eating out. We have also managed to reduce the uncertainty of when school and weekends happen and we are able to transition from one activity to another with ease these days. They all took time to work out what was needed and most are visual or social story supported.
So this is where my focus is going to be for the next few months. We are going to try and reduce the fear for T so he can enjoy family get togethers or at least know how to deal with the issue in a more appropriate way.
My first port of call was the autism specialist nurse who ran the national autistic society early bird course. She and I are trying to coordinate diaries and we are going to meet to develop a strategy.
My second port of call was one of Ts teaching assistants. I asked her if she could help put together a social story about T and what to do when babies cry. I also asked her to include the reasons babies might cry in order to rationalise the crying for him. She also rang me to find out the names of Ts cousins so she could include them in the book.
She created the book in a day and I received it tonight. It’s brilliant. We’ve read it together twice tonight and we will read it together tomorrow. We have friends coming to stay tomorrow who have a 9 month old so it might help him prepare. I am not expecting miracles overnight, but if we keep at the book until i meet with the nurse to see what else we can try – it’s certainly a start.
I’ll keep you updated as to how we get on, but if you have any suggestions I would love to hear all about them.
Mum and T – I will do anything to keep him smiling.