So, it’s been several weeks since I last posted anything and the main reason is, it hasn’t been a good couple of weeks.
Cameron had a bad tantrum this morning. He was ok at the computer and then when the program started talking, he freaked out! Lots of screaming, running, hitting; kicked off his shoes and threw them. I don’t know why he didn’t like it. Does he do that at home?
After we changed the program he settled down and got quiet.
– Report from January 30, 2012
That was the first report I received that something was going on with him. After which, I started getting reports from the bus as well as school that his behavior was becoming steadily out of control. He was becoming more aggressive, more violent and his energy level was going through the roof.
Last Wednesday, I had to step onto the bus to physically remove him. He was fighting the aides, spitting in one’s face while head butting the other. When we calmed him down enough to remove him, I told him to apologize and he promptly replied “No” and spit in my face. Needless to say, this behavior warranted him being sent to the principal’s office and he was suspended from the bus for one day.
On Thursday, Cameron had yet another difficult day. As he was dropped off from school, I ushered him into the truck so we could run an errand and pay our cable bill. Now Suddenlink has a popcorn machine in their lobby and on Wednesday (I think), they give away free popcorn. Cameron has prior experience with receiving this popcorn and I guess he assumed he could get some that day as well. When I informed him that he couldn’t, he proceeded to throw a tantrum. He was hitting, pinching and even throwing himself onto the floor. I finally managed to get him outside and into the truck. Once he was buckled in, I pulled out of my spot and tried to leave.
Now anyone who is familiar with the layout of our town, you’ll understand how difficult it can be to get my truck out of that small parking lot. In fact, we had to wait several minutes just to pull out onto the street and then another minute or two to get through the red light. Cam had calmed down by this point, but as soon as I began driving, he freaked out once more. He undid his seat belt and began attacking me like a cornered animal. By the end, I was covered in bruises and scratches all along my right arm (even some on my right leg), I had a swollen lip and my hand was slightly sprained. How I managed not to wreck during this assault, I am still unable to comprehend it myself.
Since he was suspended from the bus on Friday, I drove him to school and decided to check up on his behavior with his teachers. It seems, even the few reports I had seen a glimpse of trouble brewing, weren’t going to prepare me for the extent of his out of control behavior. It seems he has been violent with the teachers and students. He had not been able to sit still and concentrate for weeks and he was becoming an extreme disruption in the classroom.
I was not surprised to receive a phone call a few hours later informing me that Cameron was being sent home from school. But I was mortified to find out the extent of his behavior.
We had some severe weather on Friday, so the school decided to do a tornado drill. Cam freaked out and locked himself into the bathroom and refused to come out. Once they were able to convince him to leave the bathroom, he proceeded to fight the teachers and attempted to remove his clothing (a common thing for him to do when he’s angry). He also attempted to flee from the building. The teachers managed to finally subdue him and strap him into the chair/stroller that he seems to enjoy or at the very least, it usually calms him. Once he was strapped in, he begin to attack himself. His arms were covered in scratches and bruises that he caused himself.
Since he was becoming a danger to the class and himself, they opted to send him home for the day. I already had scheduled him an appointment for Monday with his pediatrician and so he spent the entire weekend with me. He wasn’t nearly as bad as he had been last week, though his energy level seemed to increase with each passing day.
According to his doctor, this behavior is actually normal for autistic children. They are phases that can appear and called Mania.
Mania is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels.
In order to help manage this behavior, his pediatrician prescribed him risperidone. If you do click to read about the drug, make sure you read thoroughly. I only warn about this because the drug is mainly used to help with schizophrenia in adults and teenagers 13 and above.
Risperidone is also used to treat behavior problems such as aggression, self-injury, and sudden mood changes in teenagers and children 5-16 years of age who have autism (a condition that causes repetitive behavior, difficulty interacting with others, and problems with communication). Risperidone is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics. It works by changing the activity of certain natural substances in the brain.
He started the medication last night and today I received nothing but praise about his behavior. One of the teachers called and she was in awe of how well behaved he was today.
Cameron had a great day!
He didn’t even have to be asked to do his work! We worked on letter Ss and made one from string. As a special treat, we walked up front and saw Mrs. G’s new guinea pigs!
He’s been very good this afternoon and I’m hoping that this medicine will help minimize the episodes of mania in the future.