6 weeks into the school holidays and I am desperate to get the kids out to a few places. Barney has been waiting all summer for the 'Tall Ships' event in Belfast. As well as that we had planned a trip to the aquarium, a spot of camping (if the weather improves!) and a few other days out.
But now, I'm not quite sure what to do. We have learnt recently that if we spring anything on Barney at the last minute, he goes into complete panic mode and refuses to get in the car. We have to sort of entice him into the car against his will, and drive off with him hyperventilating and thinking that he's going to vomit, until he settles down, after about 5 minutes. So we have been making sure not to spring any surprises on him when at all possible.
We have been told that planning things in advance will help him to cope better. That did work for a while. But now he is even panicking about these things. After begging all summer to go to see the tall ships, he is now panic stricken about it. We were looking at the website details of the event, and he realised that it would be crowded, and suddenly said he couldn't go any more. He just wants me to say "ok, we won't go". But if I say that to everything he will become a hermit!
So I looked into it further and found out that if we find a spot along the coast of Holywood, Bangor or Carrickfergus on Sunday, we can watch the tall ships sailing out of Belfast whilst having a family picnic and avoiding the fun-fairs and attractions. But even this sent him into panic. When I say panic, I mean that he is running around the kitchen, with rapid breathing, begging us not to make him go.
So I questioned him further. If it's not the crowds that are bothering him, what is it? He was now panicking about the car journey there. And the fact that he will spend all day feeling nervous and sick about going out. I can't blame him for being nervous about car travel. After all, he was recently in a car that caught fire! That's enough to make anyone weary of cars. And now he says that he can't go anywhere that he hasn't been before.
What am I supposed to do? I can't let him become a hermit, and yet I feel bad forcing him to go through such anxiety.
We have received a letter from the behaviour clinic and they are going to see him soon to begin his Aspergers Assessment. Lets hope they have some advice that helps, because right now (despite reading so many books and trying my best) I feel totally lost.
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