Just about yesterday, I was scratched by my beloved kid during our session. Haha.
(for the purpose of student’s confidentiality, no name will be mentioned in this post)
It was when we were in a circle with the other kid, my kid under my supervision couldn’t wait for the session to finish because he want to go home.
It was about 10 minutes more, but he was getting impatient. For your information, kids, especially with autism, they couldn’t understand the concept of time, because they didn’t have the ability to cognitively think the concept of something abstract, to become something physical in real life.
Because time is just another perception of interval between two moments, and how far they are to each other, subjectively perceive by us.
For them, it’s either they are interested in the moment (time feels shorter) or they are bored (time feels longer), just like us.
And for my kid, he was bored.
He pulled one on the therapist’s hands, trying to bring him towards the bag shelves. But we are trained to help them to become more discipline with the timetable, the therapist fought against him, trying to sit him down.
But, it didn’t work.
And now, it’s my time.
I stand near to him, held both of his hands, trying to sit him down. But, he didn’t like that. He scratched my chest once, but I was managed to grab his hand from continue doing so.
While I was bringing him down to the bean bag, he fought against me, and scratched me again, lol. As we were all trained to just keep silent whenever there is a violence involve, I just ignore it, and managed to sat him down.
He was crying, jumping and keep on crying (tantrum).
As I was there, I walked to the mirror, and there it is, oh my god! My biggest scratch ever!?
And my kid? He was still there, crying loudly, looking around for others to pay attention to him. But no one did. We are trained to deal with carious situations, including this.
Then, after a while, when he was a bit calm, we brought him to the toilet, and I walked with him inside the cubicle. He sat down on the toilet bowl, while I was waiting beside him, calmly (although I was a bit in pain haha, but never show that face in front of the kids!)
Then I brought him to the sink and asked him to wash his face. Because his father already arrived in front of the building, and we want him to be the best condition when he returned.
After I helped him to wash his face and wipe it, he starts crying again. As I was standing behind him, he instantly turned around and brought his face near my chest while his hands grabbed both of my shoulders.
As I was trying to push him afar because it was a suspected biting in progress, that was when I realise something, and heard something.
He was hugging me, while resting his head on my chest, repeatedly saying,
“I am sorry..”
“I am sorry..”
“I am sorry..”
Oh my son. I might be in pain, I might be a bit mad because I was scratched by you, but now, I forgave you! T__T
After a while, I hugged him and brought him out from the toilet, and walked beside him to the bag shelves, and helped him to wear his bag.
While he was still crying, while we were walking towards the exit door, he held my hand, just like a kid asking for a guidance, and love.
It was my first time, because before this, he doesn’t really prefer to hold hands when walking, as he is a big boy now. He don’t prefer people to do that.
But at that particular moment, I was touched.
You see, for autism kids, especially for those who cannot speak well yet, they cannot express themselves verbally.
Just like we are able to scream when we are mad, talk slowly when we are sad, scream when we are in pain, or even, to just talk from our heart, they couldn’t do that.
They can only express their feelings through their tears, ‘abusive’ scratch, unintentional biting etc. It was a very limited medium for them, and not all people understood them.
Sometimes, we just need to really listen not with our ears, but with our eyes, hands and most importantly, with our heart.
Just like any other kids, they have feelings too. But sadly, they cannot express it well. They are learning, of course, but not with the same pace as other ‘normal’ kids.
Awareness about this is important.
If it is not for our own kids, at least, for us to understand whenever we see them in public with their families, doesn’t matter for autistic kids or non-autistic.
Because they are not crying without purpose.
They are not screaming just for fun.
They are not scratching because it’s their hobby.
But they are expressing something, trying to send us a message, and we only need to be attentive and empathatic enough to understand to what they are trying to convey.