Through out my experiences both at home and at work, I have learned that some behaviors need a different response.
Early last summer I was driving my client home from an amusement park. He was becoming disregulated and violent and I didn’t feel that being out in public was the appropriate activity for him at that time, so we headed home. However, this is no easy task. Driving with a very aggravated special needs child is incredibly difficult; they require your full attention, but concentrating on driving and being safe is far more important.
With this particular incident, I was driving on a very busy highway. My kid was screaming his head off in the back seat but all I could do was drive and try and get home quickly. All of a sudden, his hands grab at a chunk of my hair down at their roots. He rips my head back and aside from the pain that is jetting across my skull, I can’t see where I’m driving. With one hand I pull his hand off of my head along with pieces of my hair interlaced between his fingers.
Trying to regain control I attempt to focus on driving, but before I can even do this his hands come back at me for a second hair ripping pull. Tearing out my own hair to just try and see where I am driving, he does it again. At this point I realize the immense danger that I am in and pull over on a practically none existent shoulder on the highway.I got out of the car and locked the doors and just took fifteen minuets to breathe, sort out how bad my injury was (swollen head), and recollect myself. My kids door was child locked and he had a buckle boss safety belt restraint so I knew that he wouldn’t be getting out of the car and onto the highway. A couple nice people actually stopped and asked if I needed help, but there was nothing that they would have been able to do.
Eventually, I got back into the car. I had to reposition myself so he couldn’t grab at my hair, but he was still attempting to kick me from the back seat. We made it home eventually but later on during one of group meetings it was discussed that if you can’t safely be around him or he is a danger to your self, then you have to call 911 for help. After this meeting, I realized that I should have called 911 that day.
It’s kind of upsetting to think that there are some situations that you can’t handle or take care of with your own kid (or client in my case), but these incidences do occur and that’s okay. What’s most important is your child’s safety and yours as well. I haven’t called 911 yet but I have a feeling that that day is coming. I’ve been told that the paramedics will come in and restrain your child, that’s all they really can do, and then escort them to the hospital. This may not be ideal but if you can’t give them emergency medications like Zytis or Ativan (like I can’t) then this is really the best option, them being safe.
It’s scary but these things happen and you need to be able to make that call when the time comes.