Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘park

BB’s been on independent study for several weeks now. While I have absolutely no freedom..zip, zilch, nada…as he’s home with me 24/7, he’s happier. His anxiety levels are way down, and his anger issues are much better. But, he is at the point where getting him to leave the house takes some work. He doesn’t want to leave for just anything. He never really has, but it’s worse now. Errands? Heck no, mom, I don’t want to go there. Take my service dog for a walk? Mom, it’ s cold out there, and I’d have to get fully dressed! (I may have to give him that one. It’s been cold and rainy for weeks now.) But, I told him today that we were taking a break from the house — it was sunny and bright, although still chilly. Snow is so shiny in the local mountains/foothills, you can practically see the cold, but it’s gorgeous, so I was bent on a trip to the park.

Fast-forward to 1pm. He gets dressed, and is fine with it. We had a good talk about zombies and their weaponry on the three-minute drive, and then we climb out of the car, walk halfway through the field to the play area and realize it’s flooded. Good one, Mom. Good plan. Where’s the sidewalk???

His face falls as he realizes we’ re not alone. There are other kids playing. Worse yet, other kids playing together. He climbs for two minutes, then runs away and hides in an empty picnic kiosk a bit away. I follow him, only to find out he wanted to be alone. Sigh. I move to the sun to drive off my dripping flip-flops (I know, I know, but it IS still California) and attempt to talk him into swinging with me. No, Mom, there are kids on some of the swings. Yes, honey, but some swings are empty. He marinates that thought for a bit, then jets away. I pick up my dripping poor choice of footwear and follow. We climb on swings, which were blessedly ALL empty by that point. I get on one end…he gets on the other. We swing…for three minutes. He gets up, runs off, I hop off and for a split second can’t see him. Where’d he go?

Oh yes, silly me. What mother doesn’t look under the slide to see if her child is laying behind it, prostrate on the ground? Sigh. “Want to go home, Honey?” Yes, Mom. Autism somehow had snuck along for the ride with my adorable, loving, super-intelligent son who has major social skills issues. And sadness over a serious lack of friends.

We climb in the car. Park trip=not a success. But, he did agree it was nice to get out in the fresh air. Since he’s communicative and willing, we stop at the Rite-Aid for a double-scoop of ice cream..him, not me. (The scale told me yesterday that I need to take a few days away from extracurricular snacking.)  Ice cream makes it home, and he’s a happy child all over again. Autism, you aren’t invited to our next park trip.

“Summer camp SUCKS!”

We tried. He really tried, too…at least I think he did.

It was a regular summercamp, one without special needs teachers or programming. A) Special needs camps are costly. B) Special needs camps aren’t local. C) Special needs camps don’t have enough slots. It was 20 kids BB’s age, with activities that included crafts, sports, speakers, and games.

Day 1: We pick him up and he was moping out the door. This didn’t go right, that didn’t go right. He got ‘put out’ for this game, ‘put out’ for that game, and lost five minutes of swimming. Finally, after we let him vent, we learned he’d used a teacher’s squirt gun on another child, and was repeatedly too strong when playing games. (And the squirt guns? They were allowed, a planned activity, but the kids were supposed to use small guns and he used a big gun he found ‘just laying around.’) He didn’t want to return, but we made a deal: go all this week, and you don’t have to go any further.

Day 2: More of day 1, just maybe worse, despite me having spoken with the lead teacher that they might want to make a few minor accommodations. Still didn’t want to return, but was glad he wasn’t having to go next week. (And we’d already planned on only one week, we didn’t have unrealistic expectations.)

Day 3: More of day 1 and day 2, but he did run in that evening with a smile on his face as he showed me the flashcards the local police department gave them when they brought all their canine dogs for the kids to learn about and pet. BB loved the dogs. Then, he showed me his pom-pom animal made during craft. Unsurprisingly, other kids were making dogs, cats and monkeys, and mine made a zombie.

Day 4: Never happened. Days 1, 2 and 3 were cumulatively making his behaviors worse each night, and Wednesday night (aka Day 3) was unbearable. Bad tantrums with things thrown around and knocked off as he walked by. Screaming, yelling, the whole thing.

All in all, he says he’s not anti-camp. He says likes the idea of camp, just not this camp. Part of it was caused by his inability to get along in that type of social environment, but it was worsened because a little boy from school attended camp, and was the same whining tattler he was all year long. While they didn’t seem to make many accommodations for my little guy, even with the special needs I mentioned (I never mentioned the “A” word), they didn’t seem to really do much to stop this aforementioned little guy from his behavior; my son would get a time out, and this boy is rewarded by the kid(s) he whines about getting the time out. What does that teach the little boy? No wonder he’s still whining and tattling so much. For him, it works.

After another mother of a tantrum this evening (we just came home from three days at an RV park with friends), he is quietly (well, sort of) sitting at our table eating a Klondike bar. He ate a good meal of his favorite chicken/ham/cheese nuggets from Fresh & Easy (no additives, preservatives, or extra ingredients) and seems to be calmer. Let’s hope it stays that way, tomorrow’s going to be a busy Monday, and I have no car. (Maintenance time.) I think big brother’s planning on taking him out for a little while, perfect timing.


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