Adventures with Autism…
In my “Too Many to Count” list of “Things Tried” to help our daughter break out of her restricted-interest-rut, the one I share with you today beats all. Yes, mama pulled out all the creative stops with this one. It was going to be one for the record books I was certain. That did indeed turn out to be true!
When your child enjoys (count them) three things – done over and over all day, it can be maddening. In our case, it is (1) car rides (2) showers (3) cheese. A perfect day for Miss Carrie would be rising early, having a cheese plate for breakfast and then a long shower, followed by a very long car ride leading up to a cheese plate for lunch, followed by a shower and another long car ride. This sequence would continue until all the cheese, hot water and gasoline were gone, only to be replenished the next day because she is sure that an endless and free supply of these vital elements exists.
Fellow parents, you know what I’m talking about! Some call them obsessions or compulsions or perseverative behaviors or restricted interests. Whatever you call it, our kids are stuck doing it – riding Read full post »
It’s that time of year- summer in Seattle! Living in the Northwest, we are surrounded by natural beauty, and everywhere you look, there’s water! The Puget Sound, lakes, rivers, and pools are accessible year round, and are particularly fun during the summer months when the weather is nice.
Being near, on, and in the water is a popular summer activity. One of my family’s favorite things to do over summer weekends is to head to the beach. The minute hit the sand, my 7 year-old is stripping off his shoes and socks and my 18 month old is struggling to do the same. I scramble to slather sunblock on their wriggling bodies, often wondering why I didn’t attempt this feat before we left the house. The boys and I run to the edge where the beach meets the surf and throw rocks in the water. Feeling the sand between our toes and the water on our skin can be a wonderful sensory experience, and one that many children enjoy and often seek out, including children with autism. However, having children near the Read full post »
As we turn toward the long summer months, many parents of children with autism are busy filling out summer program forms. If you are like me, you pause when you get to this section:
Does your child have any behavioral concerns?
Why do I pause at this question…?
First of all, I usually marvel at how little space is provided to answer such a complex question. My son’s Behavior Intervention Plan is nine pages long!
Second, the answer for my son is YES, he does have behavioral concerns. I’ll admit to being afraid to list his specific challenging behaviors for fear of being excluded from the camp. I’m tempted to simply write “some” with a little smiley face and leave it at that—-but this would be unfair to everyone— Read full post »
Arthur, my 15-year-old son, has autism and getting out the house for community outings can be a complex, demanding, stressful and unpredictable journey for both of us.
Last year, on a gray December Saturday, Arthur and I were flopping around the house in our pajamas. The day wore on and we were feeling restless and confined. Arthur started to pace and gallop.
A clumsy giraffe in my small kitchen. His way of saying, “not one more minute under this roof.”
I remember this day because months before this, we had some very rough moments in public. The kind of day when we both return home traumatized. Tantrums in parking lots, meltdowns in bowling alley, aggression in Safeway, bolting in the museum, the sound of breaking glass in the gift shop, nibbling others’ French fries in the food court and sniffing strangers in the elevator. Keeping him safe, apologizing to others when necessary, and helping Arthur to understand the rules of social navigation was overwhelming. I started to wonder if we’d never leave the house—even if it meant terminal cabin fever. Read full post »
A little life lesson…
So often, some of the greatest lessons we learn in life come in times and places when we are least expecting them. Last week offered one of those moments…
As our monthly movie night at the Burnett Center came to an end, as we turned off ‘The Incredibles’ and vacuumed up popcorn debris, a new friend, who will be participating at the center, asked if he could talk to me about some things he had on his mind.
Curious, I welcomed the conversation as this bright, charming and contemplative young man talked about planning for the future and how the unknown can be overwhelming for people with autism. For him, this was in regards to his life and wondering about girlfriends, marriage, even heaven… and for me, in Read full post »