Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seat Belt Stress

Sometimes it feels like there is always something that bothers our son that wouldn’t bother anybody else. Lately, whenever I buckle Kai’s seat belt, he complains that it is not tight enough.

Of course, I always make sure that it is very tight, but no matter, Kai still seems paranoid that it should be even tighter. He gets upset and pulls on the belt himself to try to tighten it more. But it doesn’t tighten more since it is already very tight, and that only gets him more upset.

There have been times in the morning, after I strap him into the cab and close the door, that the cab driver motions me back over to check on his seat belt as he complains to her that it is not tight. I go over, give the already tight belt another tug, and assure him that it is very tight.

What is worse, though, is when, after I start driving, Kai starts screaming about his seat belt. Since I’m driving, there’s nothing I can do except reassure him that the belt is secure. Often, that is not good enough for him and he stays in a state of distress until we reach our destination. It makes for a very unpleasant drive.

These days, I proactively assure him that the belt is tight every time we get in the car. He still asks, though, “Daddy, is the belt tight?” I reassure him that it is.

I don’t know why this has become such an issue lately. I know that with his sensory issues, he craves deep pressure, so perhaps this is an extension of that feeling. But, I’m guessing it has more to do with some type of anxiety he is having, a feeling that he does not feel safe. I don’t know what brought it on and am not sure how to reduce it.

In raising a child with autism, I am learning that while we often focus on big issues like learning to socialize and maintaining a safe body, it is these seemingly little things that frequently cause so much stress in our daily lives.

Yes, similar to yesterday, this is another example about small irritations becoming a big deal.

I think I need to meditate some more.

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