Saturday, July 31, 2010

#39 New Food

Most nights, Jack eats an Oscar Meyer cheese dog and kraft mac and cheese. Last night, I accidentally grabbed a box of shells and cheese instead of mac and cheese and made it for Jack's dinner. I tried to get him to eat just a bite of the differently shaped pasta...and he would not. So I told him he would not get to watch a movie the next day until he had taken a bite of the shells and cheese.

I'm the meanest mommy EVER.

He refused the shells last night, woke up this morning, and wanted to watch a movie. I said he couldn't until he ate a bite of the shells and cheese. Much screaming and whining ensued, until finally the desire to watch a movie overcame the fear of TASTING SOMETHING NEW!

He counted down to the bite, took it, and gagged. He chewed, swallowed, gagged again, and asked for a juice box. After washing the taste out of his mouth, he said, "It looks like it was going to throw me up."

But he did it. By golly, he did it!

What do you do to encourage your child on the spectrum to broaden his/her taste horizons?

Monday, July 19, 2010

#38 Insight

One thing George and I constantly wonder is this: how much does Jack actually understand about the world? Sometimes, he seems so disengaged and/or clueless, and other times, he shows remarkable understanding.

When we were saying goodbye to our golden retriever, just before George took him to the vet to be euthanized, Jack and I stood at the back of the car, petting Hoover for the last time. Jack couldn't understand why we were all so sad. "I'm not going to be sad!" he said.

Then, he told me, "Mommy, when Daddy said Hoover was sick and was going to die, I got my wand and pointed it at Hoover and said, 'Brakiarm emendo!' [a spell from Harry Potter]. I did it over and over again. But it didn't work." He paused, then added, "I want a wand that works."

So do I, Jack.

When I reminded him that wands are make-believe, he said, "I know." But does he?

Things like this make me realize I too often underestimate how much Jack understands. Today's question, then, is this: How do you balance your own perception of your child's/student's/patient's understanding to keep from selling them short or giving them too much credit?

Not sure how you can answer this, but it seems to me it's an ongoing process. I'm curious to know how other parents/teachers/therapists/doctors feel about it.