Recently I was relieved to be working from home as I was able to answer a call from school, saying that silly mummy had forgotten to put the break time snack in Sophie's bag. She was getting very distressed about it and refusing to go out to play.
I'm lucky that I was at home and able to make the quick mercy dash to school with 'little sausage' in hand (albeit after a super quick change out of my slouchy comfy clothes), in an attempt to smooth over the terrifying incident.
I may be making light of this situation, but this did highlight the differences between my typically developing child and my child with a diagnosis.
Would I have dashed over there if our eldest, neurotypical girl, had forgotten a snack? Or that the school would have actually called me about it in the first place? No, of course not. I am a reasonable Mum, after all, and eldest would have been disappointed, may even have shed a little tear at the realisation there would be no snack for her, but she would cope for the rest of the day. Maybe a little mood at home time, which would quickly blow over.
I've always tried to explain Sophie's level of distress as 'extreme'. Her meltdowns can be brought on by a huge variety of situations and the vast majority of them have stress or anxiety as the main cause.
Food and drink have always been vital to Sophie in a way that they just aren't to our eldest; Sophie's levels of concentration and energy can vary so much without the correct food at the right time. Her diet is fairly restrictive, but we know what will keep her going at different times and give her the boost and calm that she needs.
Changes to routine can also cause stress. I think this was the first time I forgot her snack and I'm pretty sure it will be the last, as I'll now be adding it into our daily calendar. Again, not something I'd feel the need to do with our typically developing child.
There's generally a knock-on effect after an incident like this. Unlike for most other children, it is not quickly forgotten and everything 'right as rain' once snack is in hand (or tummy). Recovery from a meltdown can often take the remainder of the day and evening, regardless of when it occurs.
I'm grateful to the school for calling me; over the past 9 months they have come to learn how little things mean a lot, and thankfully they do mostly see the difference between an upset which can be handled and a meltdown that is worth reacting to. A 'little sausage' may not mean much to some, but to us it means the world.
The rest of my day was spent altering the 23 page legal document we need to agree with our LA, which ensures everyone at school and elsewhere is working together to help Sophie. I didn't mention little sausages in it; maybe I should?!