Friday, July 31, 2009

#16 What is one of your amazing moments?

Because I have a child with a serious disability, each major or minor milestone met both surprises and amazes me. Today, I had one tiny moment that took my breath away.

Nick and Jack were playing in a McDonald's play place outside. There was much gleeful screaming and yelling...the normal sounds of six or seven boys under age ten playing in a small space.

Nick came off the slide to sip his drink, and I asked, "What is Jack doing?"

Nick replied, "What all the other kids are doing." Then he ran back into the tunnels.

What all the other kids are doing. Wow.

Can you describe one (or several) of your amazing moments?

Friday, July 24, 2009

#15 Am I the Only One?

I am cleaning out/up my library and have a stack of books on autism THAT I'VE NEVER READ!!! Yikes, there are five books just waiting to be read, two of which I bought in the last two months and promptly forgot about. A year ago, I donated and threw away a bunch of pamplets and crap (much of which all said the same things, over and over). I just keep collecting.

The irony that I am writing a book on autism to be added to the PILE of autism books available right now is not lost on me at the moment.

What sort of answers am I looking for in all these books? Is one of them hiding a crystal ball that will show me Jack's future?

What's your feeling about autism books? Which ones do you like and why? Which ones do you read a chapter or two and stop? What do you want in a book?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

#14 What causes the most stress in your life?

There was a moderately interesting report on the New York Times Well Blog about mothers of autistic children having more stress than mothers of children with other types of developmental disabilities. The reader comments, however, are utterly fascinating. I wasn't at all surprised by most of them, but wanted to ask the question here. What causes the most stress relating specifically to autism for you?

Teachers, aides, therapists, other relatives...please weigh in on this issue. Your perspective is ALWAYS welcome here.

BTW, while I find this study and its discussion fascinating and important, I'd honestly prefer research dollars to be spent on finding effective treatment, better support for adults with autism, and better understanding of the causes of autism. Those seem like higher priorities to me. Just sayin'....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

#13 Changes in Behavior

Out of the blue, Jack has begun pitching fits, screaming at his brother, and refusing to cooperate. He's always been pretty sweet and benign, even in protest, so this change is dramatic. At the pool yesterday, a little girl touched his toy fish and he screamed at her "Those are MINE!" I intervened and made him apologize to her, but soon after we had to leave the pool early (with much screaming and crying) because he kept yelling at his brother, who really wasn't being offensive at all.

Jack is basically acting like a three-year-old wrapped in a six-year-old body.

Tthe little girl at the pool who touched the fish thought they were hers because she has, it turns out, the exact same fish. Nick collected our fish while I got Jack, screaming in protest, out of the pool and ready to leave, and the little girl, who was probably three, walked over and started pulling our fish out of the bucket. I said to her (kindly!) that they were our fish and we needed to leave but she could play with them next time.

Her mother walked over, and said, "We have seven fish, and they are missing." She had to speak loudly because Jack, standing next to us, was SCREAMING "I want to stay!" over and over in a high-pitched, panicked voice. I said, "We have seven fish, too, and I'm pretty sure these are they. How odd." She picked up and examined our fish closely, one at at a time, and gave off body language that indicated she thought I was lying and trying to steal her $2 drugstore fish from under her nose.

I left Jack standing at our table refusing to put his shoes on and screaming, and started looking for the other fish (they are brightly colored and easy to spot at the bottom of the pool). The lady went over to her pile of pool stuff and finally yelled out, "I found ours!" in a tone which indicated we were off the hook this time but she'd keep her eye on us. No apology, no kindness, no sympathy, no nothin'. Jack was still screaming, I made him put on his shoes, and we left.


I hope consistent, firm discipline takes care of this in short order, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure of ANYTHING where Jack is concerned, as I'm sure many of you can understand all too well!

Have you experienced these sudden changes in temperament and behavior? How did you handle them? Did they respond to discipline? What sort of discipline did you use?