Thursday, December 23, 2010

The second week of December

POST FROM before my vacation started. Found it in my drafts

Friday

I return from my out of town trip.

R is always cool and distant when I return  for he is a child of much self respect.

We drive to the cabin

After much groveling and wheedling on my part,  he is mollified

I have a surprise for him 

The Mozart Brahms  CD  which was our bedtime music  has become completely scratched owing to R's penchant for carrying it around .

The old CD now skips and drags and causes R to weep piteously

But unbeknownst to him I have ordered a new one ( for the princely sum of 2.95 from the ubiquitous Amazon )

And he is delighted when the dulcet sounds of Mozart fill the room with no interruptions

Saturday and Sunday

Apart from taking a walk I accomplish nothing too - its just sooo relaxing

We loll in front of the fireplace - R plays with his numbers .

 He is learning to say them in Spanish though I know no Spanish  - Nada

 R holds up numbers like "101"- he scans my face eagerly for me to say the numbers in Spanish but  I am nonplussed

"Cero" he hints

I am useless  and he looks away in disgust

We go to Wal-mart

R surprises us with his great eagerness  to go - but we realize that its because he is on a mission to collect the candles in the shape of numbers

In front of the candle display he is transfixed however and cannot make up his mind

We tell him he needs to pick up only one

But he cannot choose and starts to wail -

As our policy is to not tolerate bad manners - we cannot give in and we tell him no candles and leave the store  -

R dances like an angry dervish and everyone stares at us ( no doubt thinking "useless parents") but somehow we really dont care

Boundary setting is soooo important 

On my trip I had a Salad from the California Pizza Kitchen that had Jicama in it and I am mad for this new ingredient and we hunt for it in two stores and I make a salad full of ingredients that contradict but somehow is delicious

Sunday and Monday

Are days of stress, evenings of ceaseless toil and nights of insomania

Tuesday

LOOOOOOONG day at work

I am very worried about what we will feed R in the cruise as he eats 4 things and I know that without these he will starve !!!

But otherwise I am looking forward to not coming to work with an eagerness that is painful

Not only is the office horribly busy for me  - home is terribly busy  as we  have to get Christmas cards send out, gift cards done.

Luckily DH takes on the large part of this and I simply make lists and hand them over to him. Really I dont know how couples where both work outside the home - get it all done

I rush home in the afternoon as DH and I are playing tag team with me handing things off and him picking things off.

Plus all must be timed perfectly as R is home from school ( snow day ).  This means I must go home when he and DH are out.
 ( Otherwise there will be MAJOR drama - like you would not beleive- when I have to leave for office. He can easily behave like a 2 year old with separation anxiety. Not too surprising really . DH and I speculate that 2 is really his emotional age  )

When I go home - our cleaning lady is there and I dawdle gossiping with her. She describes her current conundrum. One of the people she cleans house for has asked her out to dinner. We discuss the pros and cons and consequences  ( pros= nice,clean, makes jokes;  cons- no spark)
Its very nice to gossip and I waste a lot of time ( which I dont have ) and then its back to hurry and worry
Finally the long day is over.

 As I leave the office and say a triumphant goodbye to my friends says grimly

" I heard all the flights are delayed out of the airport"

Another friend adds

"Its the worst time of the year to go to Disney.. the crowds will be insane"

I reply  gleefully

" But it will be sunny  everyday and I wont be working"

And I cannot think of a bettter exit line

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Disney Winter Vaction : The Disney Wonder Cruise


I am typing this post on aboard the Disney wonder waching the Bahamas retreat into the distance
( well if that does not sound like the beginning of a story book I don’t know what does )

Here is a little of summary of what we did

Thursday
We set sail from Cape Canaveral .
We have had to stay for a night at the Residence Inn – a hotel that R really likes as they have good internet service – plus ample space
Also we are able to cater to his very specific taste profile ( by bringing food from home ) as they have a kitchen

We go the ship-

Ours is called the Disney Wonder - and a wonder it is

Photobucket

The ships are HUGE - here are DH and R on the 10th floor  ( which even has two basketball courts )

Photobucket

Our room is quite adorable and has a nice double bathroom and a private balcony

This little balcony that looks out into the ocean may be my favorite part of the ship

Photobucket

All three of us spend time on the balcony - R spends a lot of time standing at the edge and looking down ( while we keep an eagle eye on him - afraid that he will fall down )

Photobucket

There is a party on the deck as a send off to Bahamas and all the characters come and do a lovely dance

R sits atop DH's shoulders and has a good time

Photobucket
.
R dances too

But he is quite alarmed when we pull way  and keeps asking for the hotel ( Residence Inn ) .
“All done Ship hotel “ he mewls

We go and watch a show and I think of how much I love Disney when I see that they actually have sign lanuage on the side ( see in the picture and they do a FANTASTIC job ) for the hearing impaired and all their public TV's have the captioning on

This is a main reason why we spend so many dollars on Disney - becasue they go out of the way to welcome people of all kinds- especially people with disabilities

Photobucket

When we return to our room we find the room has had a lovely turn down service and the host has actually shaped a towel in the shape of an animal

Can you see the monkey hanging from the side ?

Photobucket

Friday
R has slept very poorly last night and so have we

DH is a doll and brings me break fast in bed

His kindness and the stunning vision that is outside our balcony removes my fatigue

Photobucket

I am very excited this morning as we are going to be playing with Dolphins on the Blue Lagoon Island of Nassau 

I simply ADORE dolphins
Was there a lovelier creature ?

We stand in line waiting for this great adventure - But R is sooooo reluctant to go and keeps whining that he is done with the ship .

My heart sinks as we have spend all this money and time for a vacation that he will enjoy and it suddenly seems like a waste .

( AND we have 10 more days to go – suddenly I think of how much easier it would have been to just spend some days at the cabin ).

I can feel my heart in my feet

And then  I remind myself of how important it is to widen his experiences ( for this is one of the major factors that compounds autism as a disability – parents of auties get discouraged when their children don’t enjoy new experiences . And  this is compounding problem as their children’s worlds shrink smaller and smaller as they try fewer and fewer new things.
While if they had persisted in trying – they would be so much better off in the future. For the children were not objecting to the activities but just to the newness  )
Still this must be the one thing that I miss about the NT experience – the desire to explore- while R needs to be forced to explore  and my eyes fill with tears
Just as a signal from above – two loud and whiny ( and NT ) kids throw a huge tantrum  – their mother and their father look around embaressed . But I smile at them gratefully for they have reminded me that I am getting into the familiar autie mum trap of imagining that all is perfect in the NT world

Then another sign!

Two parents walk in with a severely disabled child in a wheel chair. The little girls eyes are closed and her hands are folded across her chest

I look at the mother gratefully - for her courage has inspired me.

If she can take a child whose eyes are closed to look at dolphins  - surely I can take a child who merely wants to shut his eyes to this new expereince

We make our way in the boat

How can I describe the beauty of the ocean ?

Photobucket
The stunning shades of blue and green . Truly the greatest artist is the one above

Photobucket

Once we reach the island and get to the alcove to play with the dolphins – R is PETRIFIED .

As I can clearly see that he is not enjoying himself – I tell him to go with DH ( that was a well spent 120 dollars for his ticket to play with dolphins)

R thinks that I am in mortal danger

From his perspective the dolphin is making squealing sounds and cavorting in the water

This is the dolphin “singing and dancing”
Yet to R – it appears that the dolphin is making a battle cry prior to eating  me his mother

I get loads of dolphin hugs and kisses .

As R sees the hugs, he suddenly realises that the dolphin is being good to me.

Photobucket

The dolphin hugs like R – putting all his weight on me
He kisses like R too – just putting his mouth on mine but not puckering

Gosh how I enjoy this

When DH asks me if the encouter was worth it – I tease that Sean’s kisses are the best kisses ever

DH teases R  that his mother now loves Sean because he is so nice and fun and now  I will be with Sean

R looks away unhappily

But I find later that he takes his own preventative measures by throwing my bathing suit from our balcony into the ocean

DH speculates that he  probably did this in as an  act of jealousy

If I cannot wear a bathing suit - I  will no longer be able to be in the ocean and spend time with Sean the dolphin

While I am really sad about the loss of the bathing suit – I am also very proud of R as this is planning at its finest

He is a very posessive child and the next day when two girls ask me to look at a castle they have made and I coo over the castle obligingly - I find that later after we all have moved away - he has kicked the castle down

If he was NT,  I probably would be angry - but as I am an autie mom - I am very proud of his excellent problem solving

Saturday

We reach Castaway Cay – the other Bahamas island on this cruise

This island is owned by Disney and its really beautiful

Photobucket

R is crazy for the ocean and gets into the water even though the water is FREEZING


DH has a nice barbecue in the ocean - though a gale starts

There are so many fish in this ocean


We have a simply lovely time in Castaway Cay

R loves going out the dinner and the fuss the dining crew make over him - cutting his pizza - filling his sprite glass.
Photobucket

He loves how a water glass has his name on it ( Disney service is better than anything I have seen )

DH has brought a bottle of champagne as I have said that drinking wine on our own balcony is one of my "iconic moments"

We drink Champagne and watch the ship glide over the gorgeous ocean

Photobucket

Sometimes we toast the fun we have had and how happy we are

And some other times,  like today - we celebrate our courage in trying out new things - even when things don't turn out perfectly

There are people who think of life as an adventure to be explored and there are people who think the world is a place to protect yourself from

And I know what we would rather be

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The first week of December

Friday

Our alarm clock goes off at 6 - DH usually wakes up first and then he tries to rouse me and R ( who has jumped into our bed sometime in the night)

We wake up grumbling  - R & I - we are NOT morning people( DH is sunny and cheerful though )

DH hugs R ( too tighly ) who rolls over and puts his arms around me, whining reflectively

"Mama hug, Papa Hurt"

Oh how I love declarative language !

Saturday

This is on strange weekend as we do not go to the cabin owing to a hectic social weekend in the city
2 parties !!!

In the afternoon there is the ASA party

R is currently being taught piano by a lovely lady who has Autism herself and she has set up a talent show in which she insists R takes part

The Auties put up a great show !!

R and she play Christmas music ( she is practically guiding his fingers as he is very blase about being on stage and just wants to go home- but he does look adorable )

Photobucket

She has asked us to come 2 hours early and the party is too long for R

Also, I think this year he is really getting the whole idea of Santa.

Mall Santa and the Santa at the ASA party are rather tame compared to the Santa Claus  we are reading about at home - with reindeer drawn sleighs that come from the sky and elves etc

Seeing Mall /Party Santa from his eyes -

 I totally see his point !

Though ASA party Santa does try his best and does a rather convincing Ho Ho Ho

Photobucket


Are your kids disappointed by real life Santa - or do they consider him to be the real deal ?

In the evening, DH and I go for our Christmas party

As we want to take our Christmas card pictures as well  - we wear dazzling clothes

Photobucket

R takes one look at me and squeals "Queen"

Was there ever a better compliment?

(Well actually there is - DH used to call me his "doe-eyed lovely".

This loses something in translation - the Hindi word -Mriganayani -is far more charming . The delight I got from that compliment has been somewhat tempered by DH's enthusiasm for Venision.!!!  )

R has an evening being babysat by his therapist and they go to Mcdonalds for dinner where he tells her when he goes to the bathroom " its too noisy in here " ( Did you notice? A full sentence !!!! )

He is petrified of the automatic flushes and the hand dryers )

When we return, he and S and snuggled up in bed watching Word World and its clear that he has not missed us at all

Sunday

My beloved friend L lives close by .

We met online and R and C go to the same class( what a coincidence !!)

We have a play date

Which like Autie play dates go-  comprises me and L chatting and eating lunch while the kids all do their own thing

We have a lovely lovely time chatting about all the things Autie mums chat about - therapies, money , schedules, progress .

And how we have the best kids in the world

Photobucket


In the past couple of months , R has seemed worried about C lately.

 He often wakes up crying in the morning saying

"C is sad.. C is crying  "

As C has always looked perfectly happy to us - this has been a puzzle

But I have been trying to help him be okay with his sorrow by pretend playing with The Little people characters

I call the blond girl- C and the brown boy - R .

We then do a little play where  C says "I am sad' , R says "its okay " C says " I feel much better now "

This is a great comfort to R

Imagine my surprise, my friend tells me that C has actually not been feeling well for the past few months ( she is fine now ) and so she really had been feeling sad for a few months

So R's worry was not unfounded after all

Monday

It is bitterly cold .

Dh and I drink ginger tea and watch Law and Order , LA lazily ( not bad , but not a patch on the original )

R jumps right in front of DH

When DH tells him to move and not dance, R does the FUNNIEST thing

He does a full out jig chanting "Am I dancing?" Are you dancing?"

DH and I are in splits

Somedays, the live entertainment in our house is better than what's on TV

In order to not spend the entire evening like slugs - we go to the Mall( our mall is just 5 minutes away )  and ride the train

Photobucket

And play in the little play area

Photobucket

Its interesting to see how much R coexists peacefully with neurotypical kids without showing any desire to interact


Tuesday

While DH has taken R to OT , I quickly get some exercise

DH and I have a tea ritual every evening 

Nowadays I am noticing that R tries to participate in the ritual too by bringing his own DVD or book and drink and asking for a cookie

So today I surprise him by arranging his snack and drink on the tray right along with ours

Oh how satisfied and smug he looks when he sees the tray  on returning!

He is now a bonafide member of the tea ritual

Photobucket

Wednesday

I am very sad in the evening as I have to leave for a work trip tomorrow

Its only two days though

R always senses when I leave and is anxious and teary

So now - I write down a full schedule - exactly when I will leave and when I will come back .

And this really helps him ( though he wakes up at 1 and will not go back to sleep and so neither do I which especially is awful as I have a 15 hour work day ahead of me )

I put some flowers in my cofffee mug to cheer myself up - so I have something lovely to look at when I wake up in the morning and make my tea

Photobucket


I read his book and put him to bed thinking of the day I will miss with my two special people

He drifts to sleep with his sooooo long eyelashes sitting on those round cheeks

"Do you know how happy I am to be your mother ?" I ask

"Yes"  says R

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blog Gems: Air your archives

Jen at King and Eye has this fabulous idea

She calls it Blog Gems


Here is the description of blog gems from her post -

what is so fun about this is that I am getting to read some old posts from my favorite bloggers that I had never seen before

Blog Gems - Air Your Archives is a forthnighly linky list where I will give a prompt and you select a post from your archives that fits the prompt. You do not have to create content for the prompt, unless you want to. All you have to do is copy and paste the url of the post into the linky list. Voila, an old post gets a second shot!

Here is what I reposted - an old favorite of mine on the love we get from our kiddos with special needs who it seems sometime have been born with an extra capacity for love

Being Loved


We are continuing with our battles over screen time.

Last night R is throwing a weepy tantrum at not getting the remote.

I lose my temper and tell him in a loud voice that I am disappointed with him

I sensibly know that I am at the limit of my patience and go off to finish the movie "Secret Life of bees" with DH.

The movie is all about a young girls desperate desire to connect with her dead mother and feel loved.

"There is a big hole in my heart where my mother's love should have been " the protagonist says

It occurs to me that a large part of the literature is devoted to the mother's love.

Never to what the child gives to the parent

Perhaps its because the books are written by the adults

In this story, ironically, its the love hungry child that seems full of love.

Last year when I was looking for an Autism sticker, I found there is such a huge preponderance of stickers that say simply "Autism awareness" and many that say " I love someone with Autism".

It seems especially the literature of Autism is focussed on the mother's great devotion and love.

Always from the mother's side it seems that there is the love, the devotion, the desperate search for help for her child.

And from the child's side, there are merely the special neeeds

The autistic child's role only to receive , never to give

Surely a mother's love is a wondrous thing

But what about the child's love?

Last evening after our tantrum, R plays by himself for a while.

When I go back upstairs up and apologise for yelling, R holds my face in his hands kisses me and says simply "Shee Ma " ( sleep with Mama)

Here is all he wants from his bad tempered mother:

That I should be the one to put him to bed

I have never been loved quite this deeply and unconditionally before.

Been the center of someone's world quite like this.

Pure love with no grudges ever.

Here are R and me 6 years ago before I knew of all the things that would happen to us


I wish I could tell the younger K

Its not going to be what you think

It will be hard

But it will also be gorgeous.

While it is true; I do  love someone with Autism

The charming corollary that has blessed my life , is that

Someone with Autism loves me

Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Hopeful Parents : Talking about Splinter Skills

Last month on Hopeful Parents I had talked about how much I dislike the term “Splinter Skill”

Subsequently, a few of my good friends and I had a thoughtful discussion about the term

What If the “skill” was surrounded by problem?

Example, a child had musical ability – however his sensory system was so oversensitive that he is unable to play on demand

In cases such as this, would we still consider the term to be demeaning ?

Second, what if the skill was a useless one?

I see the points

But I disagreed

My objections are many and I talk about them on Hopeful parents here today if you  have a minute, do visit the website

If you dont here is why I don't use the term

First, we never use the term for anyone but children with special needs.

Only in Auties, do we calculate the net present value of a skill .

Never in typically developing children

Consider the ability to spell.

In the days of computers and spell checks – an unusual ability to spell can be seen as having limited value

No?

But we deify this ability.

An entire cloud of popular culture exists around the spelling bee.

It makes no sense that watching a child spell a word can actually be a spectator sport.

But it is and we do.

However when an autistic child has a special ability such as guessing the day of any date, a photographic memory etc – we shrug our shoulders and call it a useless “party trick” - a splinter skill

Consider sports.

Parents of neurotypical kids do not sigh and say “ she/he will probably have a desk job someday? Why bother?”

No!.

Instead, they call themselves soccer moms and dads. They complain about their busy schedules ( but you know they are actually feeling proud )

These parents see something instinctively, that eludes us parents of special needs kids.

They see that just the act of winning at something- anything , being in the limelight for even a little while , being praised and feeling competent.

These things are supremely nourishing

These act lead to a blossoming  of your child’s spirit .

Second – when we don’t allow auties to have this feeling of competence, we are depriving those children that need this nourishment most .

While all children need self esteem, kids with special needs have a much harder road in some ways and so need it most .

When our children face the obstacles that life brings then , when they see themselves through the eyes of others as weird, when the world seems cruel and uncaring – then the voice that comes from inside that tells them that they are good, competent, successful, smart and beautiful may be the only butress they have

The third reason I get on my soapbox about this term, is because it is part of the emotional  climate of raising kids of special needs.

Everything is seen in the light of deficiency, part of a syndrome.

Fourth, this attitude if is part of our parenting perspective, will inevitably compromise our joy .

For isn’t taking pride in your child, one of the primary rewards of child rearing

And so when DH and I notice that R is saying the numbers – backwards and in different foreign languages – we exchange glances of pride

( No we are not moving to these foreign countries and its certainly doubtful whether our ability to count in their language would prove to be of any use if we did go there !)

We beam with pleasure and sashay it as our status on Facebook.

We accept with alacrity all the lovely compliments that our good friends give us and think about the wonderful treasure we have

And we are a little more happier than we were a while ago

We cannot control much in our lives

But we can control the words we use and the way we see things

And so, this is why I will never use the word splinter skill

I will see it as a gift and I will be thankful for it

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The week of Thanksgiving

Thursday

We buy a big Christmas Tree at Walmart - its fake as can be with it but can I just say R is UNBELIEVABLY excited by it  and the wreath

 Photobucket

We go to the Christmas inn for lunch - but all they are serving is the Thanksgiving menu and the only things that R eats when we go out are chicken tenders and pizza - so we have to leave and eat at the ubiquitous McDonald's

R does not care as the Christmas Inn is decorated with all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia and this is enough for him to think of the visit as a Grand Success

In the Mc Donalds there are a bunch of very noisy attention seeking neurotypical kids and DH says that he does not think he could be a SAHD if R was neurotypical - but I argue back that NT or Autie - R would still be a lot like us - quiet, bookish, gentle( kind of like he is now - just talkative and unstimmy )

In fact when we ask him what he wants for Christmas -  turns out that all he wants is a Christmas tree
 ( its one of his most delightful aspects- this lack of coveting. I have learned from him to question why I want what I want instead of simply thinking about how I should get it )

We spend the evening decorating it with shiny ( gaudy ) ornaments and with jingle bells

This is to be the last warm day of the year and R and I make full use of it by lying in our hammock swing on the porch, exchange compliments and watch the stars come out



Friday

I have been very la di da about the Black Friday Sales - informing DH loftily that material things dont do it for me any more

But something happens to me in Coldwater Creek and I transform from this buddhist type person - into a person that coos over suede and rubs her cheek over chiffon

I acquire so many clothes that at one point I have to ask DH to carry my pile of  shame clothes as its too heavy for me

DH teases me tremendously while I do a fashion show back at the cabin

And I am forced to admit that I am not a seeker of materialistic things in general but specifically speaking clothes make me happy

Saturday

R who is always mad for the new cabin new house - surprises us by asking to go home!

As DH and I are all rested and are itching to do some work around the house- so we agree with alacrity  - ( I am perishing to sort recycling and clear up our back porch where an alarming large amount of recycling has collected  and DH with yardwork )

One of the best things about blogging for me is to look at what we were doing this time last year

Looking back at last year I noticed that we used to spend a lot more time outside

Sometime this year, that changed

And so my resolution is to get back to an active physical routine

R and I are both creatures of intertia  - ie we usually do what we usually do - but when we get into good routines this really works in our advantage

So while I have to force R to get to the trampoline to jump - he enjoys himself so much- playing with the leaves , creating leaf-rain and jumping - that I also have to force him to come back home

Photobucket


We sing Ring Around the roses and fall down with great crashes

Photobucket



Sunday

I cook all morning , we jump and play all afternoon and DH and I do a great pile of laundry in the evening


Monday
All his therapies are cancelled today and so we loll about in the evening.

DH and I watch Lie to me lazily

I had decided that I would take a walk - no matter what today and though its bleak and already dark at 6 - I go out .

I am so refreshed by the walk that I take R out for a jump on the trampoline.
We have a blast even though a soft rain has started to fall .
while I love good weather - I sometimes love it even more when the weather sucks and we stick our thumbs at it and have a great time anyway

R has been dragging a whole bunch of groceries ( plastic pretend groceries ) with his tiny shopping cart and we have a lot of fun with these

I pretend to Baby Tad and Potatohead Santa want to eat and R feeds them various things

Today he says something funny.

He had been holding it in for a while and after he goes to the bathroom he says " I feel much better now "

I think he picked up the line from one of his social stories but I am thrilled !

LOL
This is one blog post I must definitely erase before R gets to the age of reading this blog

Tuesday

We go to the dentist for the FIRST TIME EVER

I am HORRIBLY stressed about this

R hates all doctor visits and weeps in a piteous fashion. We comfort him in our own ways

Me through Distraction,  DH by teasing him about being a wimp and a cry baby and the dental assistant by giving him a balloon ( she is the most effective )
Photobucket


I am scared he will have loads of cavities owing to all the Junior mints in his ABA and the Sprite that is regularly mixed with water for him

But he has only one .

The dentist says we could repair it or just wait for it to fall out by itself

I tell a surprised Dentist that I love him for ever and ever and we are on our way, much relieved

Wednesday

DH and I go for our date lunch in Apple Bees

I am feeling shockingly indulgent and we share their "Maple Butter Blondie "

DH keeps telling me that I am "eating nothing" and should "eat more"

But when I discover with a squeak of dismay that it has a 1000 calories in it - he tells me that in his estimation, I ate 4/5th of it ( i did not !!!)

Men!!!

I want to go for a walk in the evening and R discourages me and says I should jump with him in the trampoline

We jump and jump and jump for an hour  till we are sweating even though its freezing cold

Then we lie in the trampoline.

In the half light of the moon and the street lamps,   the trees have turned to silver

I and R gaze at the skies watching the stars come out

It looks like there are always Christmas lights in the sky

I say "starry night"

And he says " silent night .. holy night "

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The last days of Fall

My favorite season draws to a close

The woods are spectacular this time of the year

But its all so transitory

Even as I wake up to this view from my bedroom window and wonder


Photobucket

Was there ever a forest so gold ?

Was there ever a sky so blue?

Photobucket

Even as I am within - enveloped on all sides -with this great beauty I am full of melancholy

As I know that this will pass soon enough

This really is my existential crisis .

I was talking with a few of my close friends the other day and we were talking about what our existential crises were

I was astonished to find that for most of us the fear is that this is it.

That nothing new-  no change is about to come

I, on the other, hand worry about the things that will change

For the present   - though daily worries may be plenty - is really as good as it gets

My family is well and happy and loving

I am much beloved by my husband and son

R - even though he has many challenges - is essentially a very happy child.

And for now we are able to manage most of his sorrows

I love the present

My existential crisis therefore, is the opposite

I worry that things will change

I go for a walk greedily storing up the forest in my mind. I know the next weekend when we  return to the cabin  the trees will be bare
Photobucket
Photobucket

Oh how I wish I could make time stop

As I walk in the trees - I think about the lessons there are in the seasons

How there is a time for everything

And how all things must pass

I sigh heavily and turn towards home

R is waiting on the steps.

He is playing with his Little People Santa toys

He lifts his arms to be picked up

"Santa Claus is coming to town" he whispers breathlessly in my hair

For he is looking to Christmas with an eagerness that is infectious

And I think that this second lesson is even more important than the first one

To find and enjoy the beauty in our present is a good thing

To aceept that this beauty must pass is  important

But to know,  that there is beauty is every season

( For aren't the weary winters full of some of my favorite things too Christmas fun , vacation , snow, fireplaces,  crisp evenings, cuddles, scarves, soup, tea, cocoa, movies and Schnapps  )

That every season and every time comes with its own promise, if we look for it

That is the real lesson that the passing of seasons teaches us

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
- Richard Bach

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A birthday party, a trip to California and etc

A trip  to California

I had a conference coming up

And since DH and R have not seen California ever - we all decided to go along together

One of my good friends from Grad School lives there and we decided to meet up and see the San Diego Zoo


The weather was just perfect and my friend and her daughter were so much fun and the zoo was great

There are amazing animals at this zoo

I had no idea Orangutans were this big ( see behind us )
Photobucket

But R was all whine and cling


All he wants to do is go back to the hotel . Plus he has woken up really really early.( 3.30 am ) because of the time difference between the coasts

He is finally happy when he saw something familiar in the zoo gift shop -
A Santa display !!!
Photobucket

DH and I plough through things like this  discomfort though - new experiences are very very important for Auties and its critical not to to get stuck( trapped )  in our comfort zone

I repeated Temple Grandin's words in my head  - "keep increasing the web pages.. since autie brains can work like google images .. the more web pages there are the more they will have to work off of "

We are staying right next to the fabulous Gas Lamp district and the first day he does not want to take a walk at all
Photobucket

He loves hotels ( the whole idea that there are the same chains in every place is a great comfort to him and he will spell out Hilton and Residence Inn or Embassy Suites with great glee everytime we go to one of these )
 Photobucket
Photobucket

Above he is in the pool which he loves.

He copes with the strangeness of new places - by finding patterns of sameness- as in he will only want to go to the pool or go to restaurants ( especially if they are chains that we always go to like the ubiquitous Mc Donalds )

But we firmly ( but kindly ) insist he go the first day

The remaining three days however he goes with aplomb and we have a great time - which is a great reminder that one must not give up - if things dont turn out well the first time with an autie. Its a sure way to limit ones world
( Think about it - example, if you think taking walks dont work - and try something else  - you have misssed the point . The child is not  really responding negatively to the activity but to the newness of it- and everything will be new if you try only once or twice. Consequently you will think "nothing works" and give up trying. This is something I learned from DH - as I am quick to give up   )

We do word hunts .

( In school they are doing T , I and P this week and so we do word hunts of these letters .( T and P are really easy - trash, table, train , tracks, etc or Parking , pedestrian etc , But "I" is hard and if we had not spotted an Indian restaurant and had  a beverage with ice in it - we would have been stumped )

His birthday is on Tuesday

Last year was the first time he had even shown the remotest of interest in a birthday and we have mistakenly assumed that we can just have a simple birthday party and he will be fine

To some extent he is -

We buy him a whole bunch of junk presents we know he will love like-  letters numbers, magnetic words etc

he lolls about reading his card,  most interested

He loves his  bag of tresasures .


We go to the hard Rock Cafe and have a little party for him
Photobucket

But suddenly in the evening he bursts into tears and says "Birthday party surprise"

And so we remember that last year we had done a little party in school and realise that he must be worried that he will have no birthday party

We promise a birthday party when we get back and collude with his wonderful class teacher ( no social request is every ignored . In fact R asks for so little - we usually do whatever he asks for as long as its not harmful )

The party

DH is simply an artistic genius  and cuts up the cake in the shape of a letter 6 and decorates it with his amazing cream cheese icing . DH is one of those cooks in whose hands  everything tastes beter and the cake is amazing

I tell the teachers not to send any home( for I am a fool for cream cheese )

R is thrilled when we arrive in school with all the paraphrenelia of his "Little People" Birthday set that he has been pretend playing with these past few days - balloons, birthday hats, themed paper plates etc .

It is a GRAND party
Photobucket

A small kerfuffle breaks down over who can have all the balloons but firtunately we have come prepared with loads of extras and all sorrows are appeased quickly

Etc
One of the saddest things last month is that a couple we are very very close to are breaking up. We are having a very very hard time dealing with this as we love them both very much and they had a great marriage.

Sometimes I think that one of the most important things to remember about marriage is just how fragile it can be and how one has to keep working at it

People can never stop becoming a mother or a father no matter what their child does but people  can always stop being a husband or a wife.

The woods around our cabin are stunning this time of the year ..I go for solitary walks and eat up all the color
I look at the trees the way R has taught me to - up not at

So they are framed against the sky. Truly the greatest artist- the one with the most vivid imagination -  is nature

Photobucket

I find great peace in the woods and the sound of the wind

Its as though the trees are saying.

Slow down - why do you worry so much ?

What's with all the rush ?

 Do you know how many people have walked these woods thinking how important and big their worries were? Do you know how wrong they were? Stay in the here and now. Dont worry about things that you have no control over.

And I return renewed 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Building a life around Strength

Here is a reposting of the Hopeful Parents post I wrote on Friday - so I can have all my posts in one place and I know some of you find it tiresome to be asked to  go to links


Do you remember the subject that you were worst at in School?
The one you dreaded
For me, it was Chemistry
When High school ended, it was such a relief to know that never again would I encounter Chemistry
I could move on to the things I was good at 
Things I enjoyed
When I chose my career – I chose a career where my strengths were myadvantage
And so, even though , I am not  a person of great gifts or any brilliance
 I play from my strength and I do pretty okay
However there are people who will be evaluated on their weaknesses all their lives
These are our auties
They are continually evaluated on verbal strength – frequently their great weaknesses
 ( Think about it - even when its unintentional - the game of life is verbal. For most  of the ways in which we measure Intelligence – are tests that areadministered verbally, require the child  to think verbally and often answer verbally. What a huge disadvantage this puts on a person that may think inpictures not words )
I would argue that our entire school curriculum is created for the verbal thinker
Auties  are continuously coached on social skills
If you think about it, they spend all their day doing things they are bad in
The curriculum and life that has been created for Auties is what my life would be – if the world centred around chemistry ( shudder!!! )
It seems we go one step further – we take their gifts and find a way to disparage them
We call them Splinter skills
One more symptom of a disorder
 “So what if he can read at 3 … everybody can read eventually “ we say sadly 
( never thinking that the same argument  is also true of speaking )
Parents of auties hold “becoming indistinguishable” as the highest goal
Just like everyone else" we sigh
Why ?
What if we  changed our mindset ?
What if we became okay with them looking odd and different ?
What if we  taught them enough social skills to navigate the world, but did not make it the fulcrum of their success and the core of their curriculum?
What If we focused on their strengths?
And help them build a life around that strength
“Don’t try to de-geek the geek “ says Dr Temple Grandin
For degeeking the geek is not only impossible, its ultimately cruel
No no no, I am not getting into the debate of autism being a good thing or a bad thing
Some of you may think Autism is simply a different way of being and some of you may think it’s a crippling disability
But whether we  think the former or the  latter – all I am saying is that –we can think of our child in terms of how they can build a life around strength
Rather than building a life around deficit compensation
We can find creative ways to harness their passion and turn it into a career.
 "I always sold my work, not myself"- says Dr Grandin in a conference I went to recently, "I always got in through the back door... I never passed an interview in my life "
When the game and rules of that game are so obviously loaded against  thedeficits of the children we love so deeply
Then there is only one  thing to do
Instead of just focusing on changing the child
We need to change the game 

Friday, November 5, 2010

On Hopeful Parents today

I am over at Hopeful Parents today writing on why we should build a life for our autistic children around their strengths
When I listen to words of adults who are on the spectrum like Dr Grandin, Dr Stillman, GTTO, Geekyhippie and  our own RCR among others .. its obvious that finding a passion is just as important (  in fact  maybe even more so ) for Auties than it is for Neurotypicals .
Our assumption is that each happy life has to be build on a foundation of great social skill
What if we changed our mindset
As my friend Kat says - "My child's life trajectory will be completely different than mine and that is okay  "
For what is important ultimately, is that our child can look at their life and see it as a happy, useful and  good life
If you have a minute to spare  please do go over there and read the article  here

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby’s First Halloween


Well the "baby" is almost six

But that is what it feels like

DH and I have gone through the motions every year – not wanting to deprive R of an occasion that was so important to all children his age , yet suspecting that it meant nothing.

But this year – things have finally clicked

His class teacher said that they were doing "career day" for Halloween

DH and I smiled ruefully when we saw the note and exchanged raised eyebrows

However- we are good sports

And so we asked his therapist to show him a list of flashcard of "career people "

She said doubtfully that he showed some interest in the doctor

DH and I laughed at this for this is such an Indian stereotype – right after curry and spelling bees ( the joke goes – mom is telling daughter – "you can be Whatever you want ,……neurologist, general surgeon , etc and you can marry whoever you want – neurologist , psychiatrist, etc" )

SO DH went and got a costume

"Cant believe I paid 40 bucks..luckily its big enough so he can wear it for the next few years "

And so the day of "School Halloween"comes

DH has told R about being a doctor last night and has packed his costume in his school bag

But in the morning R keeps wailing and crying " no school .. no school "

We keep asking why he does not want to go to school

Finally he writes "Docter" on the frig


And then we finally comprehend – he thinks there will be a doctor appointment at the school

So we explain to him that he will be the doctor

We put on his costume – show him his name written on it R, MD

Oh how fast the tears vanish .

Knowing he will be the torturer not the torturee is all he needs to know

And school Halloween is great

On Sunday, for neighborhood Halloween, I am feeling too lazy

But DH forces me to go

"His teacher said he practiced" he says , working on my well-developed guilt muscle

R is absorbed in the intricacies of using "ou" and "ow" in words on a video he has found on youtube and tells me "no costume "

At his moment a HUGE gaggle of kids comes to our house in costume and as I hand out candy

As soon as R sees these kids, his mood changes

He does his excited happy dervish dance and rushes to get his costume

Luck is on our side and in our first stop is Lucy and she not only makes a huge fuss of him but also has his favorite candy "blue raspberry dum dum"


R informs all our neighbors that "we wish you a happy Halloween "( this is a modification of his favorite Christmas song ) and stares at them unblinkingly –

He also refuses to take any candy ( since the Blue Dum Dums and Junior Mint are not being offered by any other house )

But he is so cute and they are so nice that we have a great time

And at the end of each visit he crows "more trick or treat"

I think of my friend Jos's words when she spoke about her daughter

I believe L will do everything, but in her own time. I don't mind … she can take all the time she needs … but I have faith she will do it all."

And she is right

Baby's first Halloween has come 5 years late

Baby's first Halloween has taken a dress rehearsal in school and 5 real life attempts - for it to take on meaning

But its no less joyful for that

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 29, 2010

Social Skills & No More meltdowns Dr Jed Baker


Dr. Jed Baker was a phenomenal presenter.

Of all the speakers I thought he had the most useful and practical content for a parent.

Quick disclaimer: This is only a short  summary. There was a lot more in his session . And obviously I see things from my own lens



PROACTIVE ( RATHER THAN REACTIVE ) APPROACH TO MELTDOWNS

Our own Attitude

It always starts with you – the parent, the teacher, the professional.

Not the child

Dr Baker asks us if we can tolerate our discomfort- our self image- our worry about what the other people around us are thinking about us



Can we tolerate this  discomfort long enough to think about what to do ?

Because that is the beginning.

Its important to reframe a meltdown and see it for what it really is

It's the lack of coping skills of the child .

Its not the child playing mind-games with you to challenge your authority

The question we have to ask ourselves is how we can teach better coping skills ( not the question "what is everybody thinking of me")



Why do children and specifically spectrum children have meltdowns?

Difficulty in perspective taking

In this case the misbehavior is often unintentional. (Example the attention wanting ASD kids who pulls the plug of the computer to get it to shut down in order to make the kids laugh ) The important thing is to teach perspective rather than discipline

Inflexibility: Poor problem solving skills

Its important to practice social skills and "in context". Often professionals do a "counseling session" and tell the child what they must do the next time they are in the situation

But they don't teach it in the situation.

Repetition and practice is critical

Low frustration tolerance

ASD kids get frustrated really easily ( Tony Attwood referred to some data which shows that Children with ASD have 10-15% larger amygdales – which means their primitive stress response such as fight , flight or freeze are stronger )

The child can get emotionally hijacked

Frustration tolerance is a skill that must be taught. 



Dr Baker gave an example where there was a child that hated losing in games. So Dr Baker used a strategy of rewarding disappointment tolerance. Ie if a child tolerated X disappointments well – they would be rewarded. 


Practice with these skills can expand basic abilities to tolerate frustration.



What should I do to prevent my child having a meltdown?

Prevention is key

Make the child feel competent.

 When there is a task- such as homework - to be completed - follow the 80 -20 rule . DO the 80% easy stuff first. Then the hard 20% stuff

Avoid power struggles. Its best to problem solve together

Make sure the child does not have sensory triggers that are making it intolerable for him

If they are going into sensory overload teach them to be a self advocate for sensory break/better environment

Rewards new and better ways to self stim ( which really should be called Self-soothe, in my opinion )

Plan for the unexpected: when an unexpected crisis happens teach the child skills in advance such as




  • Self talk: All problems can be solved if you wait and talk to the right person
  • Create a relaxation folder for the child
  • Establish a "safe person"
  • Draw or write the thing that soothes you
What should I do when the child is having a meltdown?

Of course- the first thing to do – for you is to tolerate your own discomfort so you can think it through

It's important to understand why your child is having meltdown so you can plan for the future

If the child has been "emotionally hijacked" the best solution is to distract or soothe

Loss systems can work – but only if the child is present and aware. 


In fact thinking about "extinguishing bad behaviors" when the child is distressed and emotionally hijacked is very counterproductive (and kind of cruel if you think about it )



All the change does not have to be in the child. The environment can be changed to help the child

This next set of ideas that Dr Baker gave is pure genius and a true game changer .

It's a wonder that every school in the world does not follow this system

In the Special needs world we worry a lot about the lack of social skills training for our kiddos .

In fact we talk about the shortage of resources all around

We also worry a lot about bullying as our kids are so vulnerable to bullies

Dr Tony Attwood likens the school to a jungle for our kiddos. With bullies prowling the corridors like tigers ( my friends and I were sort of depressed in fact after Dr Attwood's lecture as he touched upon one of our major fears )

Bullies cannot be stopped by teachers as it usually is invisible to them

Dr Jed Baker has the perfect solution - to solve bullying AND teach social skills

The solution is Peer Mentors

What if peers in the class were mentors for children with special needs ?

This is a win-win situation for all

Mentors learn valuable leadership skills like compassion and maturity

Special needs kids get to learn social skills from those who can model it and live in a kinder environment

And the community?

The community benefits because being a good person is actually cool

He has created such a program in a school in New Jersey.

He showed some video clips of students in this program in an excellent school in New Jersey that he had started and it really made us all want to move to New Jersey (Almost.)

I think this has to be the way we start to think of helping our children.

Fresh out-of-the-box thinking.

I hope this summary is helpful to you 



Click here  for  his website

He has some excellent  books which some of my friends who attended the conference with me  recommended highly. And its next on my reading list 


Click here to  the link to his video of him talking about teaching  Social skills to kids with AS 

If you want to see a excellent  video of him that Autism Hangout posted on youtube
 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autism Asperger Super conference; Dr Temple Grandin Session







Guess who I am getting a book signed by ?

No prizes for the right guess !

Cause we all know the amazing Dr Grandin!!!!

DH and I are just back from the Autism Asperger Super conference
It was really awesome to attend the conference with my DH and with 3 of my online Friends – T and J and M. Somehow it felt like I was back in school

The conference was FANTASTIC – Wayne Gilpin who was the MC and is the CEO of "Future Horizons" really put together a blockbuster conference .

He himself is the father of a young man on the spectrum

For me the highlight of the conference was Dr Temple Grandin

She was AMAZING . She , her books, her movies have taught us so much .

Dr Tony Attwood said she is an American National Treasure . And I agree

It was a happy coincidence for DH and me that some of the first books we read upon diagnosis were books by Temple Grandin and Tito Mukhopadhyaya – this certainly had a huge impact on the way we thought of Autism – 

Because we thought of things from R's perspective .

We tried to see and experience the world from his perspective instead of from a deficit-fixing perspective

We saw his abilities and his value not just deficits

Here is my summary – please do note that obviously I listened through my own lens and also paid attention to things that were of interest to me

So this is not a full representation of all that was there though I am hoping that DH and T, M and J will comment and add anything that I am missing

I am going to start with Dr Grandin though she was the third speaker

Auties have many gifts to offer the world

There are many genes that are responsible for Autism .. you know what would happen if we eliminated all the genes of Autism – you would have eliminated your next generation of engineers, professors etc

"You know what the Aspies are doing .. they are running silicon valley" she joked

She said that the Spectrum was huge and at one end of the Spectrum was the "normal spectrum "

Autistic identity

Dr Grandin said she would never want to be normal as she was very proud of her rational way of looking at things.

However Autism was not the central theme that organized her life . 

She thought of her identity in terms of her whole life !

"I see myself as a college professor "

Good Manners and Rules

Limit setting was so important .

She credited her 1950's upbringing of good manners and CLEAR rules to her success in life

Of course one must understand the reason for bad behavior and some bad behavior which is the result of extreme sensory sensitivity must be accommodated

It was very very very important do SOMETHING

"The worst you can do is let the autistic child play video games all day . Video games for no more than one hour a day "

Understanding the Sensory System is critical.

As is, making sure any hidden medical problems are solved .

Touch desensitization is possible and important for the whole family.

She said sensory readiness therapy is critical and is akin to taking the cellphone outside to " get a better signal "

Job skills

She said right from when the child is in middle school parents need to be focused on projects that could potentially make money - outside the house .

Always focus on what the child is good at and what the learning style of the child is – is the child a visual thinker , a music-math thinker or a verbal thinker ?

"The kid is good at computers – get him to fix the neighbor's computer. And then put the money he makes in an account and teach him to manage money "

She said she was a very poor student but learned a lot in school .

She said the current school system which demands that a child must pass for instance algebra before they can go on to Geometry is flawed 

An Autie may need to know geometry before they can understand Algebra 

Why cannot the school system allow for people to pass certain kind of math ? and not all kinds?

She said she could never have done algebra

Its very important to ensure that the Autistic person's abilities are being harnessed properly-


"I see too many autistic people with my intelligence level bagging groceries and cleaning toilets"

Its very important to be good at something that others are interested in

"I always sold my work, not myself "

Its also important for parents to be entrepreneurs – and be creative in thinking of how to get the child an "in"

"I always got thru the back door .. never through the front door .. I never passed an interview in my life "



Medication

She had a lot to say on medication –I don't know much about medication so please pardon any errors

She was positive about SSRI like Prozac and Zoloft and said she knows many people on the Spectrum who would not be able to do what they do without Prozac .

And said the atypicals like Abilify , Seroquel, Rispedal, Geodon may have severe side effects

She said that some of these second generation anti psychotics will fog up the brain and ensure the child is in a fog and can never program a computer –

While these medications are very valuable for some , she felt these medicines are being overprescribed. And when there are problems doses are being "upped " instead of decreased

She talked about the importance of physical exercise and Omega 3's and Sensory things like Weighted Vests etc .

She also touched upon the value of vitamins and supplements including probiotics.

As well as special diets

The Autistic brain is different from Neurotypcials)

One fascinating example was as follows

Dr Grandin said her brain worked like "google Images "

So when she was asked to picture a church steeple – her memory conjured up all the church steeples she had ever seen in her life

Whereas neurotypicals, when asked the same question , thought of a generic image of a church steeple

A brain scan showed that, indeed ,her actual brain and wiring was different – so that it was like her brain had a" high speed internet highway" inside her head that captured all images that she ever saw and she was able to retrieve them all at will

( This is indeed true of R as well – when we went back to India this time – he rearranged my parents set up on the staircase to how it had been in the past .

The thing is, the last time he had visited that house, was when he was 2 !!!)

  • All autistic thinking uses specific examples to create concepts
  • It is bottom up thinking
  • ALL concepts are learned from specific examples
Teaching Auties

Its very important to teach by playing games to categorize things into – big-small, different shapes etc and then use the same objects and categorize them in a different scheme—This teaches flexibility of thinking . For example a small white bottle bottle can be "small" in a size scheme . And it can be white in a color scheme of categorizing

( though all autie brains are not identical to each other either)

Its very important to teach rules clearly including turn taking and waiting for your turn

Teach with real objects – example fractions can be taught through slicing a pizza . Adding and subtracting can be taught thru candy

Its critical to kep expanding their experiences – the whole idea – to take the high speed internet example from earlier – is to create many many "web pages

Autistic learning does start with memorization but as more and more information is memorized – it will be organized into more and more categories which will help thinking become more flexible

"The thing with Autistic people" said Dr Grandin, "is that they are always learning for their entire life"

Amen!!

I will soon be posting on the notes from the other three  fantastic speakers and hope they will be of use to you  

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Odds & Ends

Here is a little update for all the things I want to remember of this month

Pretend Play

So I do not know if I have mentioned before, but one of R’s interests is Christmas.

Stopping at Cracker Barrel, for instance is always fraught with danger as it has Christmas tree and R demands a Christmas as soon as we get home

Anyway like most Floortime Oriented parents our motto is – No interest shall go unused

And so we have bought these adorable Little people sets

When DH and R return from their Friday musical gymnastics – I set out the Little People package on the table

For the FIRST TIME EVER – R demands that I open the box as soon as he sees it
( This makes us ecstatic as R NEVER cares about presents much – certainly not something that is still in the box )

He fawns over all the reindeers in Santa’s sleigh ( though there is no red nosed reindeer and this is very annoying )

After I put R to bed– we arrange the 2 Christmas sets we have

You should see R’s face when he comes down stairs in the morning

He rushes straight to the toys – all thoughts of the usual morning DVD forgotten

He is playing (Appropriately as the developmental psychologists would call it

Photobucket
Photobucket


He has ideas

His ideas are still islands – not really well connected .

For example Santa comes to the town – says Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

But he does not do much else

The kids dance around the Christmas tree but that is all they do

Speech

While he is very very apraxic still – he is talking more and more

Even little phrases

Like yesterday when he tries to wake us up instead of the usual “stand up “ wake up”

He says – “Wake up … go eat tea” ( DH and my weekend morning ritual ) … and then points outside and says “when the sun is up .. it means wake up

Yesterday on the trampoline

He is shooting baskets ( standing right next to the basket – lest someone think I am hiding a Michael Jordan here )

And he goes – S is for Soccerball , B is for Basketball and then he says R is for ..

I obligingly complete with his favorite R word “Rudolph the red nose reindeer

He says “no, R is for R_____( his name , my favorite R word )

Really I am just soooooo grateful my cup of happiness runneth over.

I know there is a long way to go but I simply pay no attention to it anymore .

I just look at the next step ahead



Social

One of our good friends is having a birthday party for their 2 year old and invites us

They are very very very welcoming of R always

Pretty much all our friends are very accepting of R - but these two go a little beyond

For instance her MIL has bought a present for R - just becasue their daughter will be getting a present

We have told R about the birthday party well in advance

He has been practicing with the Sepctrum connections DVD Birthday Party scenes

( really the child has SUCH a desire to learn )

he behaves really well at the birthday party

The one thing that sets him apart is the stimming and the "eeee" sounds

Its a large barbecue so at one point in time he wanders off happily and suprises two people by randomly saying eeeee to them

For some reason their surprised faces makes us laugh uproriously

Though DH and while watching Dexter late in the night realize that we should take a page from Harry's( dexter's dad's )  book and teach R how to "act normal "

( For those of you who dont watch Decter the basic premise of the show is that - a police inspector ( harry ) adopts a boy called Dexter who has homicidal tendencies. So Harry teaches Dexter how to only kill bad people and also how to act normal . he is kind of a vigilante serial killer )


We dont ever want him to feel that stimming is bad or wrong ( becasue really for many auties - stimming is a release that calms them down )

 But we do want him to be able to stim in private

So that one day - if it matters to him - he can pretend for periods of time - to act neurotypical

I think a lot of autistic adults I know make attempts to blend it - but they learn how to do it in a hit or miss fashion

I think all parents of Auties need to have a 10 -20 year planning horizon for their child and then think of all the little steps that are needed to accomplish this goal

So for instance at 26- my dream for R is  to have, Happiness , to be  good humanbeing and have some way to make a living and hopefully also have friendship and love

Frankly I think the seeds are laid for many of these already

Awareness

We are also noticng a much greater sense of awareness

For instance last weekend when we are at an Aquarium at an Autism event - R goes to a "shark" instead of running away
Photobucket

 He expereince the Aquarium instead of being dragged from exhibit to exhibit

He notices the Halloween exhibits and coos at them "Happy Halloween" and counts the pumpkins

Photobucket

At the candy store - he takes a large lollipop and plonks it down at the check out counter next to me



Walks in the woods

we do much walking and treasure hunting in the woods these days

The Fall weather is just idyllic -

here is some treasure we discover last time.

 I am in equal parts disgusted as well as charmed by the tortoise shell


Photobucket


I write this post in my most favorite part of the weekend - friday evening

As its Fall break  for R - I have taken a couple of days off .

I cleared out closests yesterday and have generated 4 bags of clothes for Goodwill

We used to stick on to R's old clothes for sentimental reasons earlier  but we think now that its more fun to donate them right before winter so a child can have a a really warm and fashionable coat and trendy outfits

DH has done all the grocery shopping etc while I cleared two closets  . We have cooked . We have done laundry

On Monday the mad crazy week begins with all its stresses

But between then and now the weekend waits

With that feeling, I write  to the sound of the wind in the pines

I am in my favorite season,

In my favorite place

With my beloved husband and son

God's in heaven and all is right with the world !

The minutiae of a random weekend

Dear Reader  I have been absent without excuses and now I am back just plunging you back into the excruciating minutiae  of my life witho...