Friday, June 1, 2018

When The Window Of Tolerance Slams Shut - Living With FASD

In one of my support groups, a woman referred to something called, "The window of tolerance." An individual with FASD is easily overstimulated and when that happens, things go down hill. As long as you help them stay regulated, don't require more than they can do, and provide the necessary structure and supports, things go well.

We know that, we have known it for years, but there are always those times when despite your best planning, things happen and a fall out ensues. That happened to us this week. Dean and I had a service to attend, a service where emotions were sure to run high, and we didn't have a babysitter for Joseph. Since he regulate's off the people around him, we knew we were in for trouble because even though he was with us at all times and could regulate off of us, he would inevitably pick up on the heightened emotions around him. We decided to take him along, grit our teeth and deal with the fall out. 

We had a spectacular fall out. You would think after ten years we would be prepared, but somehow we are still surprised with the intensity of dysregulation. 

If the sun would have been shining yesterday things would have gone better, but it was dreary and Joseph's play area, which is little more than a glorified dirt pile, was muddy. He is currently trying to grow a garden of weeds and grass, but everything just dies. Keeping in mind that he pulls the plants up by the roots, shakes the dirt off, plunks them in a hole he dug and covers them with dead leaves and debris, it is little wonder things don't grow. But since it keeps him occupied, I won't complain. Anyway, he thought his garden is dying from lack of moisture, so he dug a ditch to funnel rain water to said garden. This project keeps him occupied for hours. He gets utterly filthy, but he is happy and safe.

Since his play area was off limits, he decided to ride bike. He rode a couple of half hearted loops around the drive, grumbling and complaining about the mud and everything else that displeased him. He thought he heard it thunder and said he wants to put his bike in the shop. I gave him permission, it is out of my sight and there are many things he could get into out there, thus the need for permission. He came inside growling and stomping because he is bored and doesn't know what to do. I gave a few suggestions which he promptly discarded, flopping on the sofa instead. A minute later he said, "I want to ride my bike!" I reminded him that I had given him permission to ride, he wasn't happy about it and then asked to put it away. "I don't care, I want my bike!" Now I could have left him go ride his bike, but I knew that in his current frame of mind, that would be asking for trouble. As it was, he was in the house where I could keep an eye on him. I left him yell and sob about his awful life and how mean I am because I won't let him ride his bike and was reminded again about the window of tolerance. We over drew big time the previous day and now we are paying for it.

His behavior was similar to that of an over tired toddler. He was grumpy and tearful about everything, nothing pleased him. What he needed was a good nap, but since he hates naps "cause they are for babies," he couldn't regroup. He couldn't obey, I say couldn't because his brain literally couldn't follow directions enough to to obey a command. When asked a question he couldn't answer it, but he had answers for any question directed at a sibling. He didn't respect his boundaries which are in place for his safety, so I had to tighten them which only made him more upset. He heard conversations not meant for his ears and drew conclusions, which caused further dysregulation.

Sadly, once the window of tolerance slams shut, it takes days, weeks and sometimes months, for the individual to be able to regain his previous level of tolerance. I feel bad for Joseph because while he feels all the "symptoms" he doesn't have the ability to understand what has happened. All he knows is suddenly his world is out of whack and his parents aren't letting him, "Do anything I want," as he puts it. He thinks we are just being mean, poor boy. 

Follow me on FB @ Tales From Our House Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from my readers!