Monday, September 26, 2016

Can't press "pause" on autism!

"Wait. You still took him to go see The Lion King on Broadway? But he's been so anxious and his behaviors!" 

You're damn right we did.  For a few reasons I'm about to list because for some reason, autism parents love to read lists! 

1) The performance was a special sensory friendly showing just for the autism/special needs community and their families/caregivers.  Nobody was gonna care if my Kiddo was loud or flappy.  The whole #StimSquad was out in full force representing #TeamQuirky.  

Show tunes and fries. This is living! 

2) Those tickets were expensive. I wasn't going to "eat them" because of what's being going on recently.  We could do it.  We have done it before. The prior experience was something we could use in our favor and did. 

That's 73.50 times 3. You know how much speech and OT that can buy? Exactly. 

3) I bought these tickets months ago.  Once an event is uttered out loud in this house, do you think we could cancel it?  Oh no, my friend. You are not familiar with the ways of my people if you think it's that easy.  We were committed! 

Kiddo has been studying this since it came with the tickets.  You think all the sudden I'm going to tell him "No Simba for you." Hahahahahahaha! NOPE. 

4) Most importantly. Life does not stop for autism.  Ever. Even when I could really use autism doing me a solid and being like "Oh, let's just give the old girl a break. She needs to catch her breath.", it ever does. God, I wish it would.  To quote another Disney character here, I'm like Dory. I have to just keep swimming while Kiddo keeps stimming. 

"But his behavior!  How do you teach him about consequences?" 

Agree with you there. I do have to teach him about his actions and how to be accountable for them. He does not get a free pass.  However, this is autism, intellectual disability, OCD, anxiety disorder, and ADHD we are dealing with at the house that fries built. This is not a child who doesn't understand the concept of time.  Things have to be very clear. Abstract thinking is not something he can do. We are not dealing with a run of the mill typical 12 year old.  I kind of wish it could be that easy. I'm not saying you parents of those neurotypical kids have it easier. I know the grass is always greener and stuff but I sure wouldn't mind a crack at it though. Just to mix it up. ;-) 

Now the Kiddo did have an activity he wanted to do after school on Friday, which he promptly lost as a result of his behavior at school that day. Was he happy about it? No, of course not and he whined and pleaded but this ain't my first rodeo with him and I stood my ground. He then asked "Work for it tomorrow?" while sniffling and I agreed.  I allowed him to be sad. I validated his feelings even though in my head I was like "Really Kiddo? You want me to feel bad for you about this? Really?" But at that moment sarcasm would be a HUGE mistake. (Before you go "Oh Autism kids don't get sarcasm.  Yeah, they can. Or at least, mine can.) 

And you know what happened with allowing him to cry, and be sad, and script like crazy?  I got some more information out of him. Valuable insight as to what is going on and it broke my heart.  He is seriously homesick for his old school.  Worse than I had previously thought.  His hyper focus is on that and well, if you live with autism in your house you know that focus does not shift easily.  

And because he is super sad about that, he's doing his usual "Let me list every meltdown, every little bad thing that has ever happened to me, every time I have ever been wronged or have done wrong." thing. Which is just depression wrapped in anxiety and marinated in sadness.  Oh man, that's a vicious cycle.  This is not going to get solved in a simple matter. Nothing with autism is ever that easy.

But by far the best reason to still go out and do big things like going to see that show on a weekend is it is one giant distraction for all of us. The weekends with no structure or plans in them can be way hard on a child with autism.  This gave us an all day activity and anytime he brought up "No school!", it was pretty easy to redirect him.  The day went by quickly, whereas staying at home the day would have been no less than ten thousand hours long.

Plus, because of his communication issues I am never truly sure of what he is absorbing. So we like to give him a chance to experience as much as he can. Maybe giving him a happy memory to think about when he's feeling sad at school that can help get him out of a funk.

You know, one of the reasons I started this blog is because a lot of my friends and family were commenting on my Facebook status updates about the Kiddo and his love of looking for excuse to NOT go to school back when he first started at the school he now misses.  If you know us, who can forget his requests of "Turn off school!" and "No Monday. Put away Monday."  Or his personal best of refusing to go to school because he was in fact a penguin and penguins do not go to school. (Hard to argue with that logic.)

And yet, I still made him go. And yet, he eventually got over his hatred of the new place and grew to love it.  So I know he has the potential to do the same here at this middle school if he just gives it a chance and if the school gives him one too.

Just like any good production, it's going to take some rehearsals, patience, and maybe some jazz hands here and there. ;-) 

1 comment:

  1. "I'm not saying you parents of those neurotypical kids have it easier."
    Then let me say it for you - Hell. Yes. They do 😂😂😂
    I'm right with you on the scripting being an insight though. We so often work out what's going on in the Little Miss' class because she reenacts the entire day when she gets home. Best entertainment you can get for free, that is!
    My oldest is at school no.4, but she's an aspie, so was able to verbalise her difficulties with the changes (in Australia, by now she should be only onto her second school. Primary school was trial and error for her).
    The little one has one more year before she starts High School (year 7) so we are bracing ourselves. We don't even know where she's going yet, as it will depend on how much her behaviour can improve (so, like, less stabbing other kids in the head with a pencil, and that sort of thing). It's so hard to even predict 12 months into the future.
    I hope kiddo gets into the swing of the new school and it all becomes a comfortable routine for him, and in turn, for you.