Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘special assistance

This last week, my husband and I have been on vacation. In a word? Bliss. I don’t care if every minute is filled with mundane errands and getting up early to get ds to school; just having the time off together, during our own thing, our own schedule, is fantastic. But, the week has flown by and next Monday will come all too quickly.

During this past week, we’ve been away more than we’ve been home. We’ve gotten 80% of our shopping done, with another 15% tomorrow, leaving the last 5% for next week. We, or shall I say I, have gotten most of the baking for this Saturday’s open house done. Meanwhile, my house smells heavenly. (But I’ll leave out the part where I’ll be up all night baking the doughs we put together….all five MORE of them. I already have three bundt cakes of various kinds, and 15 loaves of fancy breads in the freezer.) It’s been a very busy week.

So, getting down to business…ds has had a busy week, too. First, a birthday party update. SUCCESS! Five kids from his class showed, some who hadn’t RSVP’d, but whatever, they were there. Two other kids showed up, and so did our friends we invited, and away we went. Games went well, we played mini-golf, and he had so much fun, presents took a backseat. Expensive, eh, $300 including cake, but we didn’t have to clean our house before or after, and ds had the party he wanted. Add that to the convenience level and we’re happy. (And no meltdowns at the party!)

We spent a day at Disneyland. Accommodations there were, again, amazing. We used our special assistance pass and got on every ride ds wanted within a very reasonable wait time. (And I still kicked everyone’s butt on Toy Story Mania. Ha.) Towards the end of the day, ds was getting a bit overwhelmed and when I expressed my negative opinion about getting knocked down when he pushed his stroller backwards into me as I was crouched on the ground tying my shoe, he refused to talk to me for almost an hour — even though I was the one who ended up on the ground. It happened again later when he refused to stop pinching his sister, but dh stepped in each time and lightened the mood. We visited the Tiki room, and while we sat in the back..in the corner…it was still enjoyable. A shout-out to Rainforest Cafe for their birthday party recognition! Ds has wanted the volcano cake for his birthday for months now, and he was excited for it to finally happen. We attempted to go back to Disney <quickly> to visit Woody’s Roundup, a yearly tradition, but the monorail held us hostage. First, the new cars only hold 15 a person, so one train, which only comes every 10 minutes, only can take about 40 people. Translation: you wait forever. Walk. It’s quicker. We wait though, as by then, we’d already invested so much time, we figured ‘how much longer can it really be?’ Ha. They had more in mind. Little did we know, after they squeeze 16 in our car (did you hear that, Disney? They put 16 in a car made for 15. Isn’t that against some safety regs??) that they were putting a second train on the line, and we’d have to wait while they got it on-line. Sure. Why didn’t you tell us that, or do it, BEFORE you load us into a small little tube? Then, we get 9/10 of the way to the station, 15-20 minutes later, only to hear that the second car had some issues with its windows, so we’d need to wait. AGAIN. Same little tube. Same claustrophobic help-we-have-been-kidnapped-and-are-being-held-hostage feeling.  After a 30-minute ‘quick ride’ to the Tomorrowland station, we got off. It wasn’t without some commentary, where those perfect people who were still in ‘happiest place on earth’ mode weren’t approving of comments of those of us who feel a $90 ticket shouldn’t include being detained. Oh well.

However, the day was completed without further incident. Disneyland’s special assistance pass saved the day. We enjoyed the beautiful Christmas castle and music and were glad to have gotten in our annual Christmas visit.

We also squeezed in a dentist visit. After losing the two teeth (mentioned in a prior blog entry) ds ended up with two shapes on his palate, shapes that looked like teeth coming in. He’d also complained his teeth were painful to brush in some areas. While I could have done without the hygienist smiling at us like we were paranoid craziacs when the xray confirmed it was just his palate being shaped funny, I felt redeemed  (the words “neener-neener” came to mind) when the dentist confirmed that we were right to bring him in just to be safe, as sometimes losing teeth can cause swelling like he had, and apparently infection. One point for the parents who pay high rates for good insurance and want to be sure their child’s mouth is safe. And ds didn’t freak, but that’s due mostly to an excellent dentist who knows how to ease his fears by explaining everything to him, addressing him appropriately, and letting him touch/feel all the tools prior to their use.

Then, today. Awards ceremony at school. Ds got a certificate for his grades, one for turning in homework regularly, and one for passing his health/P.E. requirements. He came into the ceremony SO excited. Smiling, dancing, and chatty. Trouble came when halfway through, a teacher reminded his table to be quiet. Poof. Magic words. That was the end of it. When it came time for his second award, he went to the front with his hood over his face. Our Assistant Principal, an amazing V.P., acknowledged it and tried to help, as did both dh and I, but to no avail. He stood for pictures with no face showing. When his name was called for his third award, he refused to move. He sat at his table, head down, while everyone else went on stage. Prompting from us made no difference. He was so upset by then, he was agitated and we had to leave him alone for fear of a full-out meltdown. (And to the lady who went  “Look!” and pointed at him like he was a rare parading zoo monkey eating a banana while hanging upside down and pottying, I really hope you realized that the child’s parents heard you and watched you. We wish no ill upon your child(ren) but you could stand to learn some manners and compassion.) We picked him up shortly after, and after sticking to the ‘no more negative talk once we get to the car’ credo, the day wasn’t so bad after all.

Tomorrow, we finish our shopping. Then, we take ds and a the girls (other ds won’t be along) to see the infamous Christmas lights a city away. It’s a big event every year, where we walk the entire show (after parking a mile away) and drink coffee purchased from a resident we find along the way. We sing carols along with the music pumped from the fancy homes, and talk with our friends, same homes we see every year but we’re nevertheless amazed. It’s going to get down to 37 degrees tonight. 37. I am jazzed. Christmas weather at last. Now, if I could just figure out how to get ds to wear a jammy top, we’d be golden; good thing he likes to wrap himself up in a special blue blanket every night because it’s soft. Tomorrow night will be cold as well, so Amen to getting Christmas weather on target.

Ds stayed in his bed last night — the WHOLE night. I heard him having a bad dream, but he got back to sleep and stayed there. Good thing, I stayed up late reading the last of the Twilight books. Yes, I am one of “those” moms. So what if a few people think they’re mindless drivel. We don’t all need to read enlightening award-winning literary prizewinners. Some of us like fictional books that don’t take a lot of thought, and these books fit the bill while allowing you to pretend you’re somewhere else for a while, because believe me, these books do put you in a whole new environment. Get a grip if you’re anti-Twilight, and go back to your Pulitzer material, Stephenie Meyer’s raking in the bucks so she’s got my vote.

Now I’m off to get more cookies in the oven, and watch a Nascar race on ds’s new Nascar toy race track the girls got him for his birthday. I can hear him giggling from here, and I need to watch his smile light up his eyes. Merry Christmas, everyone. I got my gift already.

Where to start?

Last Friday, we took ds and dd to Disneyland. We’d postponed it twice over the two weeks prior, due to one of us being sick, and even though I still had a cold, we couldn’t postpone again. After all, Jack Skellington is at Haunted Mansion!!!

Anyway, I think everyone who had a pass but didn’t have tickets for the Halloween event at Cal Adventure was there. I haven’t seen the park this busy in years – and we go a lot. We always get my son’s special assistance pass and then make a beeline to Tower of Terror. Apparently, they were so busy this past Friday night that the Fastpass line was the only one open. When I showed the attendant my son’s special assistance pass, I was told, basically, ‘too bad.’ When I shook my head and tried to clarify, “No, really, where are disabled people being let in line?” He said there wasn’t a line. “Okay, seriously, you have to have a disabled or handicapped access. Are you saying you don’t have one?” I couldn’t believe it when he said “That’s right.” There were no words. I turned around, tried to placate ds with a spin by telling him we could now for sure fit in California Screaming AND Toy Story Mania before the park closed. Okay…sort of.

The rest of the Cal Adventure visit went great. We ate in the Mexican food restaurant (aka beer garden) over next to California Screaming (there’s got to be a reason they put it right there) and headed to Disneyland. The wall of people in line to get in should have clued me in that we’d chosen a bad night. But hey, we have a stroller for ds and passes, what can be bad, right??

We make our way around, only to find that Woody’s Round-up was closed. Wahhh. And ds had a meltdown, too. Took 20 minutes to get him remotely interested in anything else, and we forced him on the Haunted Mansion, where their handicapped option was really long, too, but at least there’s a lot to look at. Leave there, head for Indiana Jones, only to experience a repeat of Tower of Terror. What the heck? I love Disneyland. I’m a huge fan. In fact, we just renewed our annual passes, but I was really disappointed. I don’t expect the park to turn upside down for disabled guests, but to be met with blank faces totally lacking empathy or interest in helping us was a surprise. So un-Disneylike. (So was the 20+ minute wait over at the Matterhorn, in the handicapped line…only two people in front of us, and still over 20 minutes. One day, I’ll actually remember to stop and ask Guest Services exactly why that ride is so bad — are they told to make people in the handicapped line to wait? Or do the line attendants just all figure if we are still breathing, we can wait like anyone else?)

In the long run, the visit was still a good one. Ds loves his ice cream and the chance to walk through Mickey’s house over in Toontown. As a daily player at Toontown.com, he loves to sit on the trolley and talk about Cogs. And we have another trip planned in a couple of weeks, during the week, so we can avoid the massive crowds. Have to visit Woody’s Round-up, you know! (If you haven’t gone there yet, you won’t understand the attraction, but at Halloween and Christmas, they have these huge sugar cookie kits you buy for about $6, and it comes with frosting and sprinkles to decorate. Major fun for my little guy, and a ‘must do’ for every holiday visit.)

Onto the costume fiasco…..

Last week, my son saw a costume in a Party City ad that he just had to have. HAD to have. HAD TO. Nothing else would do. Yesterday, after school, in the throes of a migraine, I took him to go buy it. They had one left in his size, and the mask was missing. Long story short — after an offer of a 15% discount to buy it without the mask, an idea to buy a different costume, or an offer to go to a distant store where they’d hold one for us, we chose driving to the distant store. This wasn’t without a meltdown — he began to cry in the checkout when they said “no mask.” (This, after we’d been shuttled to four different people who all supposedly had the mask.) The woman behind us couldn’t stop staring as though my son was some spoiled brat. (My daughter had a mean, but great comment “Keep walking. He’s not a doughnut.” See, she was rather large and had her mouth completely open. Yes, I know it’s mean, but after a while, you get tired of rude stares and sighs.) The other Party City had it right there waiting for us, and we grabbed it and ran, without the hassle of the other store. (One cashier actually told me “It’s not our fault people don’t put the masks back on after trying them on.” It’s not? Then who’s is it? And a 15% discount? Come on, you can’t sell it without the mask anyway, so why not a bigger break? It was ridiculous, though most people were nice there, just ridiculously disorganized.) So ds has his costume. He’s thrilled, and he ran around the house in it for a while when we got home. That alone made it all worth it…even though I was virtually without makeup and had on those same holey ripped shorts I had during his infamous meltdown at school. You’d think I’d learn to never wear them again, but in the end, really, who cares?? I had bigger priorities, and I had a migraine. So if you’re the lady who stared at me because he was screaming while standing in front of the cash register and slowing down your rush to buy those Halloween decorations and candy in your hands, get over yourself, you’ve still got three weeks to decorate and eat store that candy for trick-or-treaters.


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