Friday, 20 March 2009


We've had such a long run of reasonably good days as far as autism goes, last nights little outburst came as quite a surprise. It doesn't take long to get used to things being on an even keel, you can get complacent which of course, is a mistake.
So Sarah has been at home because it's her 'away day' from the day centre and her carer who takes her out on her away days is currently in Benidorm. Sarah decided she wanted to stay at home and occupied herself quite well colouring in pictures I've drawn for her, watching films on TV and listening to music, sometimes all at the same time!
We had some extraordinarily good pasta around 7.00 pm, though I say so myself, and were settling down for a depressing couple of hours watching Red Riding (grim, but somehow compelling), Sarah was going upstairs to her room and that is when it all kicked off.
One of the most important presents she had at Christmas was a watch. This is by no means an expensive watch, if anything it is the cheapest digital in plastic I can find. Last year it was blue, this year pink. It's one of her compulsions I suppose, but she must have a watch, it is always ten minutes fast and the alarm must go off at 8.00 am. Her birthday is a week before Christmas and she has always, and I mean ALWAYS, had a watch on one of those occasions. So it is only March 19th, a day before my own birthday I might add, and the bloody strap has broken and there is no way anyone could fix it and bloody Harry Potter is never there when you need him!
So, on and off for a good four hours Sarah was beside herself with anguish over this broken strap, we had the extreme stamping, the squeezing the life out of the back of the chair, the attempts at hurting herself, ie. hitting her own head, biting the back of her hands, pulling her hair, squeezing her arms etc. All this looks more distressing than it really is, she never really hurts herself, you'd think she must be biting lumps out of herself but when you look there's not a mark on her. Once several years ago she did actually manage to scratch he face which left a little red mark for a while, she was mortified and never did the scratching thing again. So really, all this self harm stuff is just for show. She has no desire to hurt herself, but it is a damned good way of getting our attention. She is also well aware of how distressing all this is, which of course adds to her own distress.
This is when the tearful whining that lets us know there is a problem in the first place, gives way to piercing screams which actually hurt your ears. She can keep this one up for some time. We've never really got to grips with this, you really just want to hug her, but she's autistic, hugging will just make it worse, so you have to try and ignore it which is definitely not easy. I often wonder if this is why the house next door has had at least six different tenants over the last ten years, oh well, nobody has said anything, but then they wouldn't would they and God alone knows what they thought was going on!
Anyway, during a pause in the screaming and the continuous demands to mend the strap, I managed to get through to her the notion that we could buy a new watch on Saturday. To be honest , it was probably me shouting at the top of my voice WE'LL BUY A NEW WATCH that really got through to her. Sarah loves the idea of buying things, she is blissfully unaware of the credit crunch, consequently the £25.00 that fell out of the birthday card I got this morning from my mother in law, will be going toward the purchase of yet another digital watch tomorrow.
This morning Sarah is blissfully happy again, as if nothing happened, gone off to the Day Centre with a container in a bag so that she can bring home the cake she will be making this afternoon for my birthday. She also gave me a Mothers Day card she made in her computer class on Wednesday. Consequently I feel like the wicked witch of the west for shouting at her and no, I don't begrudge the £25.oo. It would probably have been spent on her anyway, autism is an expensive lifestyle.


  1. I LOVED this post. Please can we see a pic of the new watch when you get it? :) xx

  2. Oh my you are an Angel but firstly an exceptional Mother.

    I read that you find time to do some art work of your own..I'm sure a much need time for your own relaxation. Have you thought about selling your work maybe 70% for yourself to help your daughters spending habits and the rest 30% to donate to the Autistic Society? It's only a thought and probably your hands are so full with your full time caring for Sarah.