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Week in the life of a male foster carer 14th November – 20th November

‘The new distraction tactics and ignoring bad behaviour are working well.’



Background

T has been with us for about 6 months. He is 10 years old and is diagnosed with ASD though it seems quite mild. Some of his symptoms that are attributed to ASD could also be just down to the fact that T is a 10 year old boy. In general he is a very happy lad but one who has moments of anxiety and has some problems dealing with his emotions. Because of his condition he does get fixated on things so he has a strong passion for cars and certain movies and TV programmes and at the moment he has a sometimes unhealthy obsession with Loom Bands (tiny little elastic bands that the kids make into bracelets).

I am married with three children, one at home, one at University and one living just down the road, and I am the main carer as my wife has a full time job as an Assistant Principal at a Sixth Form College.

This week my daughter will be writing the blog so she can share some of her views on fostering.

 

Friday 14th November

So T missed his taxi this morning. It has been on the cards and today it finally happened. He blamed me of course because I should have gone out there and stopped it but I was too busy trying to make sure he was ready and deflecting the horrible words coming from his mouth because he did not have enough time. The reason he was late; he refused to get out of bed and so by the time he came downstairs he only had 10 minutes left to do all his jobs. It was driving up the road when we came out, he came back in and screamed and cried and attacked the cushions on the sofa for about 20 minutes and as there was nothing we could do about it we left him to it. You can’t calm a storm so wait till it blows over. Once he had calmed down my wife spoke to him and offered him a lift in to school, even though it meant that she would be late for work, and as long as he paid the petrol money for her. This may seem strict but we know now that a good way for him to learn a lesson is through his money. It cost £3.20 and he paid with no fuss as he thought he would have to pay the £20 for a taxi. I hope he learns from this.

Saturday 15th November

Most of today T was grumpy, not sure why but he is like this a lot at the moment. We will just have to ride this out. Anyway the new distraction tactics and ignoring bad behaviour are working well. As the day progressed T got better, nothing to fuel his fire, and when some friends cancelled coming to dinner we decided to head to Wagamama’s for a treat. T loves this place and although at first when we took him out to meals he struggled with the waiting and the choosing he is now much better.

“Why has my food not got here yet?”

“They are busy.”

“But I’ve been waiting for ages.” (5 minutes)

“Not that long T. Be patient.”

When T was with us at the beginning he would find restaurants very stressful because he did not know what to expect and whether he would like any of the food, especially as food is one of his loves and he does like to know he will like what he gets. I am not sure that he has been to many places to eat other than fast food places. But he is better now, which is a sign that he is beginning to understand the need to be a bit flexible in his life. Whether that is because of his autism or just his upbringing we are not sure but it is definitely an improvement.

Sunday 16th November

Off to Mum’s today for his 2 weekly visit and we have the same start to the day as usual, even though we have pre-warned him that he gets anxious on these days. He is fine watching TV but as soon as it is time for dressing and breakfast he just refuses. Still, patient re-enforcing of what needs to be done, with no moodiness from us, is working, though sometimes it is quite hard work to keep your cool. When I picked him up he was fine and happy and content as usual.

Monday 17th November

And joy of joys he is up and ready for school with plenty of spare time and in a cracking mood and when he comes home he informs me that he will get on with his homework straight away. Excellent news and what a lovely day! Later he tries to get out of going to bed on time but I am used to him having good days and trying to get more out of it. He is a classic ‘give him an inch and he’ll take a mile’ type of person.

Tuesday 18th November

Today was Ok but he was late for the taxi. Luckily it waited but I was hoping he would have learned from last week. We will remind him again tonight to get him back on task.

Wednesday 19th November

T was up fine today and made the taxi with plenty of time spare. But that was as far as the good day went. When he came home he just ignored me which usually means he has had a bad day at school (Orange or Red behaviour). When he finally came to speak to me he just chucked the school report at me and sulked off again. It seems that he has had a big falling out at school with one of the other lads in his class (this is not the first time). He was very abusive to the boy, who it seems was just as abusive to back to him, and after some very horrible language T threatened to ‘Kill’ him. Obviously the school were not too happy with this and it ended with him being physically removed from the class and taken to a calming down room for the afternoon. T snapped his glasses during the calming down period so we will need to get more so I will need to book up the opticians ASAP. I do not know what happened to the other boy but later it transpired that T thought that it was unfair to him. I will need to talk to the school on Friday to get more info and to be reassured that they are keeping this under control. T and this lad have had a few incidents now and I think they are both similar characters, ones who will not back down and must have the last word, so they are naturally going to be at loggerheads. Let’s see what Friday brings when I call the school.

Thursday 20th November

And to cap a very topsy-turvy week T had an excellent day at school today. A Gold day which excellent behaviour! Though to be honest it is quite common for him to have an excellent day after a poor day. But to his credit he is a good lad at turning around a situation. I will still need to talk to the school tomorrow so let’s see how that goes.