Everyone’s out in the garden, the little ones are making up a dance routine and Dylan goes over and discreetly knees his sister in the side. It’s not an aggressive move, don’t get me wrong it could knock over a small child but it’s not as violent as it could be. His sister carries on playing – turning a blind eye to her brother’s bad behaviour. Not me.
‘Dylan, come here. Why did you push your sister? Get your Ipad, what’s wrong?’
Dylan gets his Ipad, whining and groaning, obviously not happy and at risk of spiralling, spiralling up and out, up and boiling over into fury, grabbing at himself, the pitch of his whine becoming higher and higher, more strained at his at his inadequate attempt to suppress his feeling, to supress whatever it is that he needs to say, to shout about, whatever it is that’s swimming around in his head causing a whirlwind in his mind with no opening or outlet to be released so it continues to swim and swirl, continuing the confusion, the upset, the fury.
He uses all of his focus for a couple of seconds to block out the confusion of emotions and tenderly pressed the buttons.
‘Sad? You feel sad Dylan?’ Dylan has never told us how he’s feeling before. We often ask him how he is feeling but he just doesn’t have the words to tell us.
he gently pushes the buttons. Then again
‘You feel angry?’
His little face looks at me, almost studying for a second – Did she? Did she understand me? He looks back at the Ipad and continues to press the buttons
I feel my throat tighten, choking me ‘What hurts Dylan? Tell me, please?’
He beings to swipe through the buttons, looking intently for the next option that he needs. He glides through the array of pictures that I have clumsily placed on the screens for him. No pattern or purpose to them, just words that Dylan has been exposed to previously and we have feverishly hoped that he would retain and use if he ever needed to. He begins to select more buttons.
‘Your head hurts?’ I ask and Dylan looks up at me with pain in his eyes, sad eyes and then he find the buttons to continue.
And there it is. He feels excluded, he wants to play. His aggression towards his sister was because he wanted to play with his brother. I’m astounded but also saddened. Standing there at the back door holding the Ipad. A simple tablet which has just shown me a chink of insight into the personality of my beautiful boy, his feeling, his isolation, his sadness but has also shown me the ability for him to emerge out of it. My eyes prick as his sibling hear Dylans requests and take turns in kicking the football to each other, gently encouraging Dylan to play and share with them. And for the first time ever I feel a sense of calm. He talked; with intent, with purpose and he made things better for himself. I realised then; He will be okay.