Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Side of Autism: Then and Now

Today I had a date with the V-Man.  I try to have a date of some kind with each child during the week - usually weekends are best for these things - so they feel special and I try to talk things over that happened during the week with them too.

We left his siblings to nap (as they were up at 4-f*cking-30) and we went to our local grocery store - which conveniently, has a Subway.
We sat down and every time we go out to eat, I have to prepare mentally for a few things:
  • That there will be a line.  He hates waiting in lines but refuses to walk around and come back. 
    • That means meltdowns.
  • That he's going to strip at the table.  Typically he takes his coat, sweater, shoes and socks off...
  • That he's going to make a mess.  He actually is the neatest eater out of the three - but keep reading...
  • That he'll wipe grease or sauce and crumbs all over his head.
Today we got lucky.  No line up.
He sat down nicely, didn't strip (probably helps he's in a 1-piece snowsuit) and used a napkin!
He also lost a tooth - and seemed thrilled - I can't blame him because it's lucky number 7 and he's been popping them out for weeks.

I guess the biggest things I've noticed is that again, he's changed within the last year and a half.
How so?
  • He doesn't always hold my hand when we are out together.  He used to - to the point that I had a hard time letting his hand go because one hand would be pulling the shopping basket on wheels and the other would be tightly gripped by him.
    • I don't know if this is a form of imitating his siblings or if he realized our trust has increased and he's 7.
      • He also knows we will end up back home at the end of the day.
  • He doesn't run away.  He seems to know his limits - and ours - and comes back when he knows it's time to.
    • He also stays away from the roads.
  • He doesn't rip open packages of food at the grocery store...this was embarrassing and for a few months - I refused to take him grocery shopping with me because I don't have the strength to deal with a kid who would run off, fill the basket with 2-5 packages of junk food and begin to rip them open before we got to the cash register.
  • He's incredibly helpful.  He absolutely loves doing chores - I suppose because he's autism - it's the regular routine of it.  Everything has a place and everything has a schedule.
  • He's reaching out to his siblings.  His idea of playing and theirs differ greatly in comparison but he is trying.  They don't get it - they don't understand autism really - but the bigger deal is that he's trying.
  • He understands more.  He loves to point at things and look us in the eye and we have to say what the item is.  It was a tad annoying for awhile because he would point at a water bottle twenty plus times in a row and we were expected to say it out loud repeatedly.  BUT! I've noticed I can say longer sentences to him now - and he smiles.  
    • This makes it so much easier when we have to go a different direction or eat somewhere he's not used to.
  • Due to him understanding more - there's less tantrums and meltdowns.  Of course if someone doesn't understand you and you couldn't say "in their language" what you needed or how you felt - you'd freak out.  
  • We trust each other more.  Of course it takes time to trust a non-verbal person and to trust a person with a voice - but we're getting there.
I think that's pretty much it for now.
Until next time,

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