When I read up on Aspergers Syndrome it is so typical of my four-year old Kaylin. I was eventually so relieved to find information on the internet that explained why she does the things she does so that I can understand her more and that we can get less frustrated with each other.
You must understand Kaylin and I have a love / hate relationship. She pushes my buttons and in turn she gets to control my reactions. She is the only person that can do this!! At first, I thought she was just a strong-willed spirited child with manipulative nature. We argued a lot, I smacked a lot, we yelled at each other, we ignored each other, I couldnt find a discpline technique that would work for her. She would be defiant, agressive and completely out of control with me.
We went for play therapy from the age of 3 and sorted a lot of our issues out with a very patient lady called Lynne that KK immediately took to. But the therapist said we couldn't diagnose her with Aspies until she was 6 or 7. We left it but the more I read up on Aspergers, the more I understand about it, the more she slots in there.
Firstly, I need to tell you that my youngest girl-child has a few obsessions: clothes and shoes is one of them, making piles and rows of stuff on a daily basis and her connection with animals (espeically our female tabby cat). She terrorises our poor Pickles on a daily basis.
6:30 am this morning I am awoken by my youngest girl-child who's walking around naked and frustrated because the clothes she wants to put on, she can't get on or she's chuffed with herself for puting on a completely ridiculous outfit which is nowhere suitable for the weather. If I try to convince her that she'll be cold or that she can't wear knickers on the outside of her pants, the crazier she gets.
Kaylin sobs, she whines, she screams, she stomps and kicks, she wails and she creates such drama...she wants me to give in and sometimes I do. I know I shouldn't, but sometimes I don't have the energry or the time to indulge her. By then my ears are bleeding anyway.
This morning Kaylin had taken every single one of my pots and caserole dishes out of the cupboard and layed them on the kitchen floor neatly in rows, she was fitting the lids to the pots and saying out loud "Yes, thats the one that fits...maybe it fits another" and swapping the lids between the pots engrossed in her own little world. I was frustrated because I wanted her to comb her hair and brush her teeth. A lot of coaxing to get her away from her queue of pots...*sigh*. Its tiring and draining...
In the beginning of the nursery school year, I spoke to her nursey school teacher about her and made her aware of the things she does at home so that we can monitor the things she does at school too. Just so we can weigh up what she really has difficulty with and what she's just winding me up with. Kaylin is a master at manipulating her Mummy, you see...
Kaylin is a smart little girl but the smallest of things freak her out. She wants to be fiercely independent and yet when she can't get a simple task right she gets frustrated but she does NOT give up. She is a determined little girl. She arranges her toys over and over into little piles or long lines. She can do this for hours. Sometimes she is silent in her play, sometimes she gives a running commentary on what shes doing and you'll often hear "Oh Come on!".
Kaylin loves her routine and likes to know what the programme for the day looks like. Once you've told her the programme she will repeat it over and over again to me, to her sister, to her father, to herself until she has convinced herself all will be okay.
Liz, Kaylin's teacher called me aside this week to tell me that she noticed the first typical Aspergers behaviour with our Kaylin. Liz had 3 or 4 children seated at a table ready to blow paint with straws. All the other children got the hang of it immediately and Kaylin was struggling to blow the paint instead of suck it through the straw. Normally Kaylin would throw everything down and give up and being in a foul mood the rest of hte day.
Liz encouraged her softly and showed lots of patience repeating what she must do everytime she did it incorrectly. She was saying "You can do it, you're doing such a great job" and this got Kaylin so focussed and concentrating so hard on getting it right that her little body was shaking. Liz said that her heart went out to her. Eventually KK got it right and Liz made such a HUGE deal about this and all the other children applauded her. Kaylin was thrilled to bits, appartnetly she was in an awesome mood for the rest of the day, no tantrums, no huffing, just joyous play with her friends and teachers.
It just shows you what an encouraging carer can do for a child. I am so very grateful that someone else can see the greatness in Kaylin. She's such an affectionate, loving, happy little girl most of the time and its how someone reacts to her, that sets her off.
I am so proud of her and how far she has come this year.