Autism Watch: 2007

Big flashing VACANCY Sign

Posted on: December 17, 2007

You know what I’m talking about. That vacant look a child with autism gets when they have reach the point of extreme overstimulation.

 Our weekend started with an open house here with at least 30 kids playing upstairs in the playroom at various times. HIS playroom. He had been prepped all week that this would happen, but after an hour or so, he started to come unglued. He had a few tantrums and meltdowns over different things, then it progressed to him going into the ‘forbidden zone,’ our bedroom. We had the door shut and didn’t want the kids in there (ours, anyones) because not only is it our bedroom, but it was the room we used to store some of the things we didn’t want the kids playing with — the new pool table/air hockey set, the pile of birthday gifts from his party the weekend before, my computers, etc. Yet, by 8:00pm or so, he’d climbed into our bed…with food. I guess I can’t blame him for wanting to retreat, but the room was ransacked, as was the playroom, and he then was unhappy because all his stuff was scattered. (But thankfully, we did go on an intensive search for all the pieces to his new Torpedo game, and found everything!)

Saturday comes around, and we had two more parties to go to. We went to the first one late, left early, yet ds ate a bunch of sweets. He had a couple of meltdowns there, and then got so hyper, even the most patient of kids were getting frustrated with his inability to calm down. One thing to keep in mind, before someone thinks we dragged him places he didn’t want to go, is that he loves both of these families who hosted the parties. They both have animals he enjoys playing with, and they are very understanding with him, so we didn’t have to drag him — he wanted to go, which says something itself.

After party number one, we went home to give him time to decompress. We cuddled, he ate his latest obsession, Club Crackers, and he watched some Christmas TV. Then off to another party at 7:35. He loves going to this house, they are family to us, and they also have a slew of pets to play with, including a teeny chihuahua and a very spirited husky, both who are very tolerant of his energy level…though by 10pm, the husky was huddled in her kennel, like I’ve never seen, worn out from ds’s playing with her. He had a couple of meltdowns there, but not too bad. He wasn’t surrounded by nearly as many other children, and he feels more at home here than most places. After 11:15pm, we headed home, though to his credit, he wanted to stay. He was supposed to sing with the children at church on Sunday, for Christmas, and we wanted him to at least get his 8 hours of sleep. (And that alone is a feat.)

Sunday morning, he did really well singing, though I think a whole lot of lip syncing was going on. He behaved good the whole time, as far as we could tell, though he didn’t want to sing and again told his teacher that. (She’s a good friend of ours, and she’s just an amazing person anyway, so he was in excellent hands and she got him to sing anyway.) Heading to the car, things were good…until we mentioned we were going home for a couple of hours before his sister had a Christmas piano and vocal recital. All heck broke loose.

Fast forward two hours later, dh and I took dd to the recital, leaving ds with our 19 yod, with the agreement that when she left for work, she’d drop him off at the recital. Fine, right? Dh and I get to the recital, “Dh, do you have your phone with you? You probably should, on vibe, just in case there’s a problem.” He realizes, only after we’re trying to figure out why they’re not there yet, that ds refused to leave the house and ds had been calling and calling. She got him into the truck, and dropped him off, but he refused to come inside. Worrying that this would happen, I’d already alerted the music instructor that as soon as dd was done with her vocal performance in the second half, we’d be leaving. Ds sat on a little table right outside the door of the recital room, with dh watching while I video’d dd. We scooted out quietly, having enjoyed a slew of snacks at the break, and ds was excited to know we were heading home. No amount of ‘just peek! that’s your sister singing!’ would get him anywhere near that front door, and we didn’t want to push the issue. When he’s had enough, he’s had enough, and enough probably started Saturday around 3pm.

In the end, he did well, all things considered. He even survived a quick stop at Henry’s so I could run in and grab more probiotics and almond milk, though, in  his words, it took “too long.” We’d gotten a boost earlier in the day when dd had shown us her college final project in which she showed pictures of ds before and after biomedical intervention, and the change in his smile and eye contact is unmistakable. Slipping backwards for a couple of days because social events get in the way isn’t a goal, but I know that a year ago, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. He’s come a long way.

In the evening, he found his beloved Santa hat dripping wet on the bathroom counter. Major meltdown, took a while to calm him down though it ended up being him that had put it in the shower. It’s now drying and hopefully is completely there before he returns from school. He was convinced last night that it would never be the same.

Tonight he sees the dentist, so she can determine if his nightly teeth grinding has damaged a crown (over a root-canal’d tooth) to the point where the risk for infection is too high and the crown must be replaced. Dental work of that level=sedation, so I really hope that she says it’s not necessary, but it wasn’t looking too positive last time. I already got the ground work in place though for no metal, only porcelain, in his mouth, though she feels metal is okay but respects our feelings that it isn’t. Pray and think happy thoughts that we can escape more dental work for the little dude, he doesn’t need more to deal with.

When I sent him to school this morning, the vacant look was improving. He wasn’t pulling at his eyelashes this morning, as he had been all weekend. He still wasn’t himself, but that’s okay. One thing at a time, and any improvement is good improvement.

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1 Response to "Big flashing VACANCY Sign"

I found your blog post via Google blog search while searching for Teeth Grinding and your post regarding “Big flashing VACANCY Sign” looks very interesting to me and it is also very creative. I have a teeth website of my own and I must say that your blog is really good. Keep up the great work on a really high class resource.

In order to better cope with teeth grinding you may try some relaxation techniques and see how you sleep afterwards; yoga and breathing exercises could be of real help. Don’t rush to administrate any drugs since teeth grinding could be dealt with otherwise too, and in far more natural ways. Have a look on the Internet, or talk to a therapist about the best ways to induce a relaxation state. Most people who have listened to soothing music, used aromatherapy or taken a long relaxing bath before going to bed, have shown significant improvement in the bruxism condition.

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