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Friday, April 21, 2017

Math And Meltdowns - Life With FASD

A math paper was the cause for a total meltdown today. An all out physical, verbal, hitting and throwing match that ended up with a certain young man needing to be restrained for his safety.  

  Joseph has a book, a ring binder, where he keeps all his important papers and "records." He also writes stories and keeps his diary in that most treasured book of his. My brain was missing in action when he came home from school and asked if he may write in his book. I said, "Why don't you do your math paper if you feel like writing." Totally forgetting that writing in his book is his way of unwinding. He got his paper out cheerfully enough, but when he sat down at the table across from where I was cutting out a dress, a cloud came over his face and he began grumbling. I told him I will help him as soon as I am finished with my project, which he initially accepted. Suddenly the grumbles became yells, the paper was tossed onto the floor and things went flying across the room. I should have figured out what was going on, but I didn't. My emotions weren't exactly the most stable at the moment, so I left him rage rather than confront him and join him in his frustration. Sometimes he runs out of steam when no one pays attention to his storming about, but not today. He went into his room where his door and the walls received a dreadful beating. When that didn't bring about a response he upped the ante. 90 minutes later he was calm enough that I could talk to him and ask what was wrong. His answer? "I wanted to do my math tonight so I don't have to do school work tomorrow!"

"I understand that," I said, "But what did mom tell you?"

"You said you will help me when you are finished," he replied.

"So what was the problem?" I asked, "Does mom do what she says she will?"

"You do what you say you will, but sometimes other people don't so I didn't know if you would help me. I did not want to have to do school work tomorrow and I was afraid I would have to!" 

Communication is something people with FASD sometimes find difficult. As their parents, it is our responsibility to help them use their words and not be pulled into their drama. Easy to say, hard to do, especially when something as simple as a math paper trips you up!

Joseph is beside me working on his math as I type this and I am finding out there was more to his meltdown than I first thought....3rd grade learned about fires today. Fire's (think lights/sirens) are one of Joseph's biggest triggers. Now that the adrenaline has worn off his mouth is going a mile a minute, typical for our little guy.


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