Thursday, May 7, 2009

Diver and Drivers

Rolling thunderstorm (Cumulonimbus arcus)Image via Wikipedia

Diver doesn't like change. Nobody with autism does.
Even Jerry, Diver's school bus driver (Bless him) knows this. After telling me he was leaving for his summer job in a week, Jerry let Diver know. We processed this with Diver, as did his teacher. And Monday morning, Diver waited anxiously to meet his new driver.
Only to be met by a new vehicle and 2 new drivers.

*!* Diver's emergency light flashed. *!* He couldn't get on the bus. And felt terrible about it.

I drove him to school. That afternoon, he came home in yet another vehicle driven by two different drivers during a thunderstorm. (Any thunderstorm sends Diver to the crawl space under the stairs, where he spent the evening.)

When he came out, he said he needed to rock and to talk. "Will you be my shrink, Mom?" he asked. Diver told me how much he liked Jerry; how steady and dependable Jerry was; and, that he was surprised at how much he was missing him. "Maybe I could have coped with a new driver," Diver continued, "But two new drivers? A different bus? A change in the route? And then two more drivers in the evening? And one of them, Mom, is so old, I don't trust him."

"I hate myself."

This is where Anonymom got really concerned. Diver continued, "I need to see Cindy" (his real therapist).
Bless her. She had an opening the next day, and found him "stressed and fragile".
Last night again, Diver repeated, "I hate myself" And this morning, when he could not get on the bus again, "I hate myself."
Diver is disappointed in himself, and unforgiving. He's made such huge strides this year, approaching something resembling neurotypical. I wonder if part of his disappointment is that he is behaving like his lower-functioning classmates, who he regularly criticizes.

I'm thinking humility and compassion may be part of his lessons for the week.
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  1. Diver sounds so frustrated, poor guy. I hope his new routine becomes "routine" to him soon.

  2. Funny, this week when it was time for Rhema to go to school, a blue bus pulled up instead of her usual white bus and it threw me. The bus driver and aid were the same and we had a whole discussion about how we didn't like the new bus and we could only imagine how it must affect ASD kids. That afternoon Rhema came home in a different, different bus and a different driver. Sheesh!

    I hope that he will learn more humility and compassion as a result of this, but I also pray that he will stop being so hard on himself and understand that we all struggle with change, even "little" ones.

  3. Anonymom, I just want to give Diver a big virtual hug and remind him that dealing with change is especially hard for kids on the spectrum, and that means he needs to be extra-gentle on himself when a change occurs. Telling himself, "This is hard, but I can handle it" goes a lot farther than "I hate myself."