Recently, our mornings have been….well, a crap shoot for lack of better terms. We don’t know how the morning is going to go when we get Dayna up. One day she can not wait to get to school, and the next day she screams and fights us like we were torturing her. Why? No one knows. It could be sleep, it could be that she doesn’t feel well, or maybe she just likes to stay home some days and has no way of telling us. Whatever it is, it SOUNDS like pure mayhem in the house when that happens! Not fun at 6:45 in the morning. This post isn’t really about her not going to school. I wanted to give you an idea of what our house sounds like on any given day with Dayna. This would be in addition to the typical crazy family sounds….kids playing, TVs on, phones ringing and a small dog yapping at a large dog walking by. Happy or upset, Dayna can let you know.
It can happen at any time of the day. Tonight Dayna is periodically letting out a massive scream. She is unhappy at something with her TV, but we are not sure what. She has yelled ‘Input!’ and ‘Music!’ when we have gone to her room, but all the typical fixes are not making her happy. Its the kind of thing that makes me jump, and gets my stress going. I wish it didn’t, but it does. Over time, and more so recently since we have been having such a hard time in the morning the past few weeks, I made recordings for her doctors and the school system so they could hear what was happening. Although it might seem unusual to share them, I think it would help to hear what Dayna, and many other children with autism, sound like when they are not able to communicate effectively. Often its just one or two words that come out, or a short sentence. Some of it is hard to listen to, even for me. Its the most she can tell us, so the rest is just pure frustration.
This first recording is from a week or two ago, as we were trying to get her dressed for school. She won this battle, and many others, since physically we can not always contain her. About 30 seconds in, it sounds like Halloween had come early:
I promise you, I was not doing anything to her! Actually, usually we can not even get a hold of her arm because she is usually flailing around. You can hear her frustration. It doesn’t matter if I’m trying to get her ready, or Deb is. Here is different day, different week. Keep in mind, its generally somewhere between 6:45am and 7:05am when we try and get her ready for school. Kiley is up and getting ready herself, and Sean is asleep…hopefully:
Remember the post about SuccessMaker? She wanted a program at home that is only available at school. In this case, its not screaming, its persistence as well. She can ask for something over and over, for an hour. You can hear her actually get confused as I mention another program she uses, TeachTown. I thought it would be an alternative, and it sounds like she agrees, but only for an instant:
Its not always screaming or asking for something, sometimes Dayna just likes to skip around and repeat things. It could be anything, a word, a sound or a couple words from a song. I wish I could say it doesn’t frustrate me sometimes, but it does. Sometimes I’m tired, or we are trying to discuss something, and Dayna will be sitting there repeating something over and over. Remember that scene from Dumb and Dumber…”Hey, you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?”
OK…its not that bad, but I do sometimes look like the guy in middle! I know that sounds cruel, she’s my daughter, but it can grate on your nerves sometimes. You can’t tell her to stop, she just keeps going. You wish it seemed cute, but after 20, 30 or even 40 minutes you just wish it was quiet. This next recording went on for quite a while one evening. She just sat down next to me and kept saying Thank you and Bye Bye. It wasn’t horrible, I’ll admit, but don’t try and read the paper or watch the news when its happening! If your Sean of course, it’s hilarious, you can hear him laughing!:
And yes….it is better than the screaming! And its always fun to hear Dayna happy. Don’t get me wrong, when she is just repeating or singing its not horrible…it happens all the time. And some days she is happy in her room most of the day and she doesn’t make a peep. You just never know what the next day will sound like. Happy, Sad, Quiet, Frustrated or an 80’s Horror flick. As I was writing this blog entry, in bounced Dayna. I started writing this blog about a half hour ago, and mentioned how tonight she has been screaming in frustration over something with her TV. Now, she is perfectly happy, jumping and just making a noise. A quick turn around, here she is:
Just like that, screaming becomes jumping and laughing….and eventually as I wrap this up she is singing two words over and over, “OH SNAG!”.
I can live with that….Sometimes it’s fun just trying to figure out where her phrases come from! Thanks for reading and listening!