Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘aspergers

Honestly, sort of discouraged by the giveaway results.

I tweeted, I blogged, I social media’d it to death and got a lot of new followers on the blog and Twitter, but to be in the giveaway, you needed to post TO the blog entry. I tried to be realllly clear about it in the instructions so I’m not sure what happened.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m super-excited about new followers and I’m not going to take it personally 😉 — but comments would have been really cool! Now I can only award one prize to the one person who commented!

On a good note, I will hold another giveaway with the other copy of the book, once I’ve had a week or so to figure out how to do it more successfully. The books (The Autism Revolution, by Dr. Martha Herbert) were supplied to me by Harvard Health Books and I want to do them right. If you are dealing with autism, from Asperger’s to severe autism, this book is illuminating and worth the read.

Stay tuned, I’ll announce that next week, and in the meantime, back to blogging about autism. (And maybe a brief blog about how plantar fasciitis is negatively impacting my fitness, my patience AND my wallet! Begone, PF, you are cramping my style…literally!)

If you entered the book giveaway, remember you need to respond to my blog post to enter — if you followed my blog AND/OR followed me on Twitter (autismwatch2007) you need to respond to that post to let me know that too! (Options 2 & 3 in the giveaway directions)

Winners will be chosen from those who post to that entry.   http://bit.ly/KSXgwV   I got a whole bunch of new followers in the last couple of days (sweeeeet!) but if you’re following for the giveaway, respond to the giveaway post so you can be included, thanks!!

 

I was off work today — freebie day from upper management, yayyy! — and decided it was a good day for BB and I to have a lunch date. We’d considered one of a few local venues but with it being rainy, any tourists in town will be inside, crowding those venues. Not a good idea, so we opted for food. I wanted to expand BB’s food interests so I chose a local Asian restaurant, one that serves food from four different countries. Score!

BB chose two different kinds of sushi rolls (both spicy) and was looking forward to trying them with chopsticks. Just as we were served our soup/salad, a trio came in to sit in the booth behind us. Like many people locally, they were very loud. We have yet to figure out why so many people here are loud. It’s almost painful at times, and you find yourself stepping away, appearing rude, while they have no clue they’re talking much louder than they need to be. This trio was giggling at a glass-breaking pitch, and I watched BB begin to shrivel on his bench. Hands tightened up into little balls. Neck shrunk onto his shoulders, veins standing out.

I tried to distract. I joked about the silly names on the menu (as BB told me it was impolite to laugh at others’ food names) and grabbed any item on the table to try to redirect his attention.

No dice.

He wanted me to ask the management for help, so I tried to explain to him that it’s just not done that way, and that people don’t necessarily realize they’re loud. We had quite a conversation about social skills in public places, how management could handle it, how we’d handle it if we were management, and so forth.That worked for a few minutes. Finally, he’d had enough. When it got to the point where he was going to blow if we didn’t leave, we moved to a different booth. We picked up all our stuff and went to the next one over, the furthest available booth.

For about 30 seconds, blessed silence. Ahhhh. Problem was, it wasn’t that we’d moved far enough to not hear them or that they’d seen us and lowered their voices. Instead, they gestured and whispered about how we moved. Then bam-o, they began to talk normally again. Not a blip in their decibel level. The waitress came over and asked us what happened, and we explained. She was nice, acknowledged the sound, but that was it.

Thankfully, food came soon after, so I began to show him how to use chopsticks, what each of the items on his plate was and what to do with it. Yum!

In the end, it was disrupted somewhat but still a good lunch date. BB learned some new things and tried some new things. Success!

We’ve heard that news alert a few times the last few days.

<queue the Talking Heads> “Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather.”

Scary on one hand, tiring on the other. I think I may have preferred my California earthquakes! I want to take it seriously…I do…but I must admit that I don’t run around shutting my windows and loading the tub with supplies. (I do however, keep the ‘panic room’ stocked in the event we should have to go in there during any disaster, so we’d just have to grab our cells and the dogs..and of course, at least one laptop in the event we can keep internet access. Yes, we’re geeks.)

On the other hand, BB is prepared. Very much so. I didn’t want to tell him about the alert on Monday of this week. He was happily playing and I didn’t <yet> see the need to worry him. The choice was taken away though by yet another EAS — emergency alert system — broadcast. I know they save lives, but they are so loud, they not only get your attention but they startle a sound-sensitive child and send him straight into packing mode.

I hear rumbling, moving, scraping..crashing..”Uhm, BB, what are you doing?”

“I’m packing, Mom!”

“Packing?”

“Yes, if the tornado really hits here, I need to be prepared. I want to be cautious. I have things that are very important to me so I want them accessible in case this tornado is real this time. Better to be prepared, Mom!”

Well, he told me! I let him go on with it, and by that time, I was shutting windows and putting the dogs out for a quick potty before those black clouds were entirely overhead. I peeked in on the panic room and saw what he had packed.

His plush Pokemon collection. (“Mom, it’s irreplaceable, you know!!”)

A change of clothes.

A waterproof jacket.

His favorite pillow and the blanket his oldest sister made him.

His DSi and case.

A pile of art supplies so he could draw pictures.

And my favorite of his piles? His entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid book set! It’s not like it’s fine literature, but it is funny and I credit it with getting BB to sit down and read a book FOR FUN and ask for more. For that, I will be forever grateful.

When we move, now I know I need to be sure those books are accessible and treated with the utmost respect they deserve. And if we ever do have to evacuate or hide in the panic room, you can bet they will go with us.

Gotta go…more rumbling. Might need to save the battery again 😉

Get ready for a book giveaway! Check back over the next couple of days for details on how you can win your own copy of “The Autism Revolution,” by Martha Herbert, courtesy of Harvard Health Publications! (I’m giving away two copies!!)

(I’m away at the moment but will be getting this up on my blog and my Twitter as soon as I’m back fully — and safely, major storms going on right now — on my laptop.)

Look for me on Twitter at Autismwatch2007 and come back to enter in the giveaway!

Back when BB was newly diagnosed, our social lives took a major hit. At the time, we didn’t care — we were too worried, too overwhelmed, overextended and exhausted. It got better as years went by, with us having a smaller, more focused group of friends and a new idea of what was ‘fun.’ Our priorities shifted and we adapted to the new way of life.

Now that BB is older, we can leave him with an older sibling sometimes. We don’t do it often, but it’s nice to know that there’s the option if something’s a big enough of an occasion, so we’ve got the ‘time out as a couple’ problem covered.

The other problem though, perhaps the bigger issue, is getting the day-to-day, run of the mill, routine errands and outings covered.

Today, BB had a homeschool event. Since we live in a small town, we take advantage of being ‘out in the big city’ to get things done. I had a list in my purse of things I needed to do: another shot at the podiatrist office, Petsmart shopping, a certain candy mold at Michael’s, prescriptions at the drugstore, book dropoff and pick-up at the library, and the gas station. I dreaded the list, so I could totally get that BB would, too, but what choice is there?

As we drove home, halfway through the list (as a few things were here in town), I was thankful I’d been able to accomplish as much as I had on top of the science class, but worrying if I’d be able to finish the rest. They were non-negotiable: books were due, car needed gas, and the prescriptions had been sitting at the pharmacy for days. Each one should have been just a few minutes, but a few minutes here, a few there, and before you know it, you have a kid so anxious and overwrought, you wished you’d scrapped the very idea of taking him along.

Luckily…or maybe because I reminded him that I didn’t push him to stop and have lunch with me so he needed to do this for me and so I wouldn’t have to go back out later…he did fine. Now, fine is relative. It’s “fine” if you think him leaving my car window down and locking it (?) while I was waiting for the pharmacy to fix one of the prescriptions to find me in the store is “fine.” It’s “fine” if you think him yelling at me to hurry while putting gas in the beast is “fine,” and it’s “fine” if I don’t mind him telling me “You know, you could have just dropped your books in the slot and not gone inside.” (Yes, that would have partially worked, but what about the book I had on order? Another autism book, though he didn’t know that part.)

Let’s just say it was successful in that I got my errands done and he didn’t have a meltdown. It was neither fun nor relaxing, and by the time I walked in the door…dogs jumping at me and mail falling out of my hands…I was beat. I piled the purchases, the bags, the purse, the receipts all over the counter as I calmed the Yorkie. Got BB settled in his room. Grabbed a beer…no, not really, but I may have wanted to. Maybe. All the while, I’m feeling slightly resentful that I didn’t get to pick up a decent lunch and that I again had to head home, hermit-style, because BB wouldn’t acquiesce to head into the deli for a sandwich.

I contemplated the resentment as I was balancing the checkbook from the day’s expenses. Maybe not the best time to have a serious thought discussion going on, but I realized that though I’d saved $20 and not endured a miserable lunch out in public, worrying that he wasn’t behaving, I was still having to craft the time around him a lot. Some things are vastly better, and this area is, too, but there’s still a ways to go.

Add ‘Handles social outings with ease’ to my list. Or at least with a semblance of tolerance? How do you do it? How do you meld your acknowledgement that pushing your child too far isn’t fair to him with your need to get out of the house?

 

Yesterday was BB’s six month dental exam and cleaning. I’m not sure who dreads them more — him or me? Hmmm, me. Yes, definitely me. I have to drive him down there, almost 1.5 hours in one direction, then all the way home in awful tourist and end of the work day traffic.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know dentist appointments and BB haven’t always gotten along. So what changed? Finding a new dentist. It may be work, it may take a long time, you may have to pay a little out-of-pocket by going out-of-network on your insurance plan, or you may have to drive a long time, but it’s worth it.

BB used to be afraid of the dentist. Hated it. Now? “When are we leaving, Mom?”

However, it’s still not always good. For some reason, he gets anxious about it and he’s kind of a boogar by the time we get there. You know, the kind of boogar where the other parents in the waiting room look up from their magazines and try to surreptitiously check out what the mouthy kid looks like or if the mom looks abashed. (If you looked, yes, I was abashed. Very much so.) The mouthy kid looked cute, comfy with his bandanna around his neck (should he need to become incognito, you know) and bored, playing with the stress ball in his hand.

It continues in the dentist’s chair. I answer questions about his dental history and habits while he’s being worked on, and he starts to squirm. More and more, in irritation at my responses. Finally, when he gets a clear chance to talk, “Mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re not in my mouth. Let me tell her.”

Sigh.

My sweet boy disappeared halfway through the drive to the dentist and only started to re-appear about two hours ago. It only got worse from there, though he did cooperate for the rest of the exam, the cleaning (minus the fluoride, thank you very much) and the x-rays. By the time we were 30 minutes from home, he wanted a new family, he didn’t like me and I was NOT his mom anymore.

Who knew?

It was a long night, made worse by the fact that I’d postponed an appointment to the podiatrist for my plantar fasciitis and my foot was killing me. The husband made dinner, and I sat with ice on my foot. Exhausted. Totally drained from his behavior and the rush-rush-rush of the entire day.

Today, he didn’t get better until I finally sat him down and told him he could not yell at me anymore. I sat there, with him unhappy at my presence, explaining why I wasn’t going to allow him to yell at me, or anyone else, anymore. And as for the constant complaining? Three per day. Period. No more. You complain a fourth time and the computer gets taken away. Same consequence if I have to remind you more than once not to yell at me.

I realize it’s an issue of control. He wants his room to look a certain way so when I move the water bottles or turn the nightlight off, I’m changing the way he wants it. When I tell him it’s school at 10am today instead of 10:30am, he doesn’t have control and it’s a change. I get it, really, but that doesn’t make it okay. It’s not an excuse to yell and be mean. So we talked about it, and beginning next week, after we’ve had a couple of uninterrupted days to reinforce the new rules, we’re starting a behavior program that I hope will address his anger and control issues.

I have hope. I just know it won’t be easy. He’s smart and he recognizes that he’s being mean…it’s just after the fact. Tonight, he stuck a note on the door saying he was sorry. Cute, but not enough. It did, however, open the door for him acknowledging that he needs to find some better ways to cope. He actually googled it, he said. I believe it, google is a big tool for him, and he uses it as a springboard for further research and study. If he’s interested, get out of the way, he will do it thoroughly.

Tomorrow we have a homeschool event…same place that “The Issue” happened a few weeks ago. I told him we’d ignore her and it wouldn’t change anything. He won’t let me sit next to him in the class, so maybe he’ll sit in back with me. Not sure. I want him to learn from it, but not be afraid or let her intimidate him. He doesn’t need to stop asking questions, he just needs to be mindful of how he does it. If he does it wrong, I will address it, as always. We’ll see how it goes. If nothing else, I’m super-proud of him that he’s not letting her possible attendance influence him going again. Way to go, BB.

 


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