Anger management

Back to school following the Easter holidays has gone well. Charlie likes his routines… They do vary from time to time but on the whole things are good if they are predictable. Change is a normal part of life, even the best of us don’t like it though… In my career I’ve learnt about the ‘change curve’ and how to ‘manage expectations’ which is fine when change is something that you have anticipated. We have tactics that help manage this for Charlie. Picture timetables are useful, social stories help him to visualise how things are going to go. He rarely reacts positively to suggestions of change though… Everything has an order and a rationale that must be adhered to… His birthday is fast approaching, and like Christmas, is a time of much anticipation but shrouded by anxiety and fear. Charlie has decided that he would like to stay in a Premier Inn! This has been fuelled by the Lenny Henry adverts and has been one of his obsessions for the past couple of years. In his head he would like to go to one in London, on his birthday, and in the morning the ‘man’ will bring in his presents! Hope he’s not expecting Lenny to knock on the door! This has presented us with a bit of a challenge as we’ve not been able to book the night of his birthday – it falls on the bank holiday this year so not only was it ridiculously expensive but it was impossible to find the ‘right looking’ premier inn that was available… So we’ve booked it for the week before his birthday – we’ve planted the seed, shown him a timetable of events and tried to sell this idea to him… He’s definitely not sold on this – his birthday is the 25th and that is non negotiable. Not sure what my plan is from here, I think I’m just gonna play it by ear…
When Charlie was little he seemed to be aware that it was wrong to lash out and hit, so when he got angry he would spit at us – a form of physical aggression that was non contact. As he got older he would inflict the pain on himself… Bite marks on his arms or banging his head or even throwing himself into walls. Now that the teen years are upon us his anger is directed at causing physical destruction to objects – laptops, phones, smashing holes in walls, kicking in doors. And although he’s not physically aggressive towards us, sometimes I find myself in the line of fire or sometimes getting hurt when trying to restrain him. He seems to have enormous strength for someone slightly built – he has ‘incredible hulk’ moments, and even rips his own clothes off when he’s in a rage.
So anger management is work in progress – the picture are a few of the current casualties from Charlie’s meltdowns.


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