Autism Watch: 2007

Mama, I don’t want to go back!

Posted on: July 21, 2008

Every year, we look forward to vacation bible school, aka VBS. Two hours of craft, snack, lesson, and play. Sounds like a good experience, yes? Apparently the real answer is no, at least if you ask my son. This year, he has pronounced it boring, and says the best part of the day was the snack. Okay, good, at least you ate…I can look at it positively, right?

I suppose though I should get out of my little happy bubble that he didn’t have a major meltdown during those two hours and put together a plan of attack for tomorrow, what I’ll do when I try to get him dressed and he starts to pitch socks at me…or worse yet, the ever-present Gamecube controllers..though that would mean he’d have to stop playing if he threw it at me. Then again, that hasn’t stopped him before.

I digress.

Tomorrow will come before I’m prepared, I can feel it. I haven’t yet mastered the time stopping skill I’ve yearned for, and instead I’ll have to actually deal with the reality that is, well, reality, and figure out how I’m going to get him out the door without taking the door jamb with us. He’s got one heck of a grip. The offer of a really cool t-shirt emblazoned with the VBS decal hasn’t done it this year. Nor has the CD that I figured would be good for immersion. $11 down the tubes. (But come VBS or high water, he IS wearing that t-shirt tomorrow.)  I can see some down and dirty discussions tonight about the reasons he should go to VBS, but they’ll probably end with “Because I said so.” When ds wants to argue, he can argue..and argue..and argue. He’s got an insane sense of logic and manipulation skills, and uses them against us whenever necessary, and when you’re dealing with a child who often doesn’t want to leave the house, that’s often.

There’s also the reverse of this situation. I could just…I could just…wow, this is hard to get out, but I could just..deep breath…let him stay home and not go. What’s the worst that could happen? He’d miss out on something he doesn’t know because he won’t know what he missed? (Does that even make sense in writing? It worked in my head.) I’ll have to ponder that a bit. As much as I want him to be happy and not force him to be something he’s not, part of me still wants him to experience what everyone else does…at least the fun stuff. Is that bad? Maybe I don’t want to know, because I still haven’t found a way to let go my own notions of what he should want to do just because ‘neurotypical kids do it.’ That’s my own obstacle to climb, I suppose.

In other news, as a distraction I spent about 30 seconds reading about how some free-speech shock jock of another name called autistic children ‘brats,’ and went further on to call autism a ‘racket.’ I could expound further on this ridiculous sensationalism but I’m not giving him any more play. Free speech, better ratings, whatever the excuse, the American public isn’t buying it. We know a reach for ratings when we see one, and we won’t be baited. Have your pitiable laugh at the expense of someone else, all in the name of temporary fun and/or more listeners, but few people found it entertaining…or at least those with the ability to read and think for themselves.

Praise of the the day? $3.24 bubble guns on sale at Target. An inexpensive way to keep a little guy busy for hours, happily and somewhat cleanly, at least with the help of a little water.

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2 Responses to "Mama, I don’t want to go back!"

“As much as I want him to be happy and not force him to be something he’s not, part of me still wants him to experience what everyone else does…at least the fun stuff. ”

Man, oh man, I can completely relate. I actually did keep my Little Man out of our church’s VBS program this summer. I’ve been feeling so guilty that (as a result) I didn’t help out with VBS this year and feeling the same things as you: I don’t want to push him to do something so completely out of his comfort zone, but I also really, really want him to experience all of the fun, “normal” stuff that other kids are experiencing. Hpmh. this is so hard…

The question of making your child do something they don’t want to or not is the typical “parent” question. My sons are not autistic but my best friends son is so I know there is a fine line. Go with what your heart tells you is best for both you and your child. Even if it includes the dreaded mom phrase “because I said so”.

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