Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘vacation

Seven days of ‘school’s out for summah…’ — he’s wayyyyy too into Guitar Hero and he loves to sing me that song. Now I just have to wish he’d get the words right.

Anyway, it’s 108 here today. I’d bought a ton of outdoor toys for ds to play with to keep him happily occupied, without thinking we’d get a nasty heatwave that would blow my plans to smithereens. So, here we are, grasping at things to do, while the bubbles, sand toys, and chalk boxes sit outside in the sun.

Yesterday, dd took ds to the beach for the day. They spent six hours digging and building, and ds even attempted to surf, much to his unhappiness. Ds+1 long board+2 people holding his hands=wipeout and hysterical tears. And mommy wasn’t there.

Summertime is going to bring some challenges. Today ds woke up with a rash everywhere that sand had managed to touch, and it required a quick trip to the store for an oatmeal bath, then a long bath. He doesn’t earn the nickname “high maintenance” for nothing!

One phenomena I’ve seen is that friend invitations are very frequently one-sided during summer…or maybe it’s all year long and I’m just noticing it more now? Ds has a few friends that call to ask to come play with him, again and again. One of them invites him to their house. So is our house just super-fun? Or is he too much to handle, though others haven’t really tried? I try to understand people, because I know the fear of what could happen if he melts down, if he gets upset…but it’s a lot of ifs, and I wish people would give him a chance. I know, or at least I like to hope, that there are other reasons — suddenly changing plans, illness, etc., things that pop up without warning — but it happens with so many people. We have kids over, and they say ds is welcome to their home at any time, or they say they’ll invite him over next time, but when he asks to come over, they’re always busy, and the invitation never comes. However, there they are at our door again, wanting to play. If I say no, ds doesn’t have the social interaction he needs just for the sake of making a point….or is it really more than a point, if he isn’t having the fun and opportunity of enjoying someone else’s toys and home? Is it just me, or is this another symptom of autism? Is it one of those painful realities that’s a result of being upfront that your child is autistic? Yet, if you don’t tell them and they can’t figure out why your child is having apparent social issues with their child, and they light into you because your child is ‘rude’ or ‘mean’ or aggressive, is that any better? So far, ds doesn’t realize it, another symptom of autism, I suppose. He does ask me now and then why so-and-so doesn’t invite him over, but ds also would prefer to be in his own home, with his own routine, more often than not. And I’d prefer him to be like any other kid and play at others’ houses. Then again, maybe this has nothing to do with autism and everything to do with me and my house being available?

Just another one of those puzzles that I, well, puzzle over. I worry about the big things with autism. Will my son learn to eat, and like, more than pancakes, chicken nuggets and pizza. Will he have a successful year in school with a new teacher. Will he learn to wait in line, not throw toys when mad, and not hit himself in the head when truly upset? Should we really have to worry about if people will be as nice to him as he is to them?

Moving on….it’s 108 here. Have I said that yet? We’ve got just a week left before The Vacation, and all shopping is done. My last worries are of things that I can’t pack: pancakes, chocolate almond milk, and a warm bath, all things very necessary for happy days. The thought of packing makes me want to procrastinate until, hmmmm, say, Thursday or Friday of next week. Then I have to show our housesitter where everything is, how not to set off the alarm and have the police show up, and how to take care of all 47 animals, not to mention the blind dog. Yes, really.

Here’s to hoping everyone is enjoying their summer, especially now that it’s officially here.


Next month, dh and I are taking all four kids on a cross-country vacation. This means we have to fly. We’d considered taking the RV, but that would take so long to drive, we’d have little time upon arrival to do anything. And with the price of gas, flying is cheaper. (How very sad is that.) I’ve already made my lists of things to buy, to do, to research..and something about autism is on every one of them. Are we crazy for trying this trip?

A close friend of mine is getting married, and we are honored to be invited. With flights costing what they do, and with arrangements as difficult to make as they are, we’ve decided to combine the wedding with visiting my husband’s sisters, their families, and his mom. No need to cue the dum-dum-dum music, these are the cool in-laws. They are actually brave enough, in fact, to offer to let us stay with them the entire two weeks, though we’re staying in VA a few nights for the wedding and to visit Colonial Williamsburg and other historical places, along with D.C. Setting up the trip has been a lot of tedium, but it’s coming together pretty nicely. And it’s even paid for, what more can I ask for?

On my first list, I had to research flying restrictions. I have to be sure my daughter’s Diastat injections are not a hassle at boarding, and it turns out, with the proper documentation, they’re not. Check. Below that was getting all the medications renewed. Check. Talk to the airlines about my son’s dislike for lines and meltdown tendencies when bumped and rushed. Check. Thankfully, the airline was absolutely wonderful (so far) about accommodations — front of the line boarding so there’s no bumping and shoving, and notification to the flight attendant about my son’s issues. (I’m sure when it comes time to board and we’re taken in early, it’ll get us some nasty looks and mutters, but I’d rather that than ds having a meltdown and having to deal with worst nasty looks and outright comments while 30,000 feet over Nevada.)

Another list was Things to Pack to Occupy Kids. Mainly, it’s to occupy ds, though my 13 yod will appreciate the thought. Gameboy, DS, chargers, game case, DVD player, movies, CD player with CDs, crayons, coloring/puzzle books, paper…all in one backpack, also including his medications that I can’t risk going in checked baggage in case something’s lost.

And yet another list was clothing — will ds wear jeans shorts, or do I actually have to go buy him 7 pairs of ‘softs,’ which are basically pants or shorts made out of sweat or exercise material, with little seams and no pockets to rub. Will he be okay without his favorite blanket, and will he understand only one stuffed animal can actually fit? (And will the airline insist on counting that stuffed animal as a carry-on, aside from his backpack?)

So many things to consider when traveling with autism. It’s not only in your head, your thoughts, your mind, but it’s in your suitcase. It’s its own entity of massive proportion. Don’t get me wrong — any/all vacations take advanced preparation, time and money, but does everyone have to worry about their child throwing a tantrum around incompassionate people who may request your child is quiet, or worse yet, an airplane that wants to kick your child off? Am I worrying for nothing? I certainly hope so, but more and more it seems I’m reading articles about special education teachers/aides filing assault charges when a child kicks them or throws something, principals expelling special needs children for behaviors the child can’t control, or the general public just refusing to be around a child that says anything more than “achoo,” even though the most loudest people out there are talking on their cellphones about their sex life, or lack thereof.

Despite it all, I’m really looking forward to this trip. Two weeks of no work, time with just the kids and dh, and visiting with close family, something we don’t have out here. Unconditional closeness, with no judgments or trying to tell us how to raise our kids or what we’re doing wrong, or discluding us due to our son or our parenting differences. Sounds heavenly. Can I leave tomorrow??

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