Brother has learned a lot about friendship in the past couple of years. He mentions that one guy he knows is not a good friend because he doesn't interact with him much. This guy tends to ignore Brother especially when other boys are around. This happens a lot to Brother. But, until just recently, he didn't notice it. Maturity can hurt.
He's figuring out that friends shouldn't just come over and ignore you at your own house. It hurts him. How do I know? He was doing an exercise with his ABA therapist about this very topic and he started to cry about it. He feels strongly but can't express himself so all he can do is cry.
It's hard to sit back and watch his hurts. I try to remind him of his friends who do hang out with him totally. He has one good friend who has Asperger's who is just a wonderful friend. They can both hang out but they completely understand when the other needs a bit of a break from sensory stimulation. It's great. They're amenable to each other's ideas. It's been a good experience for both of them.
I don't blame the other boys or at the very least try not to. It's hard for mother bear not to come out, but I do try since really, they are just immature boys.
I understand about hurts regarding friendships. Someone who I thought was a friend has been slowly pulling away. I didn't recognize it at first but it's become pretty obvious. Our daughters are friends so we'll always interact in some way but I realize that our friendship really has only been more surface. I don't understand it and it does hurt a bit, but I do understand. I don't know if I did anything to offend but if I did, I don't know what it is.
My son was older when he received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. He was ten. Usually, you are around 7 or 8 (second grade).
I worried about whether he got it. I need not have worried. He does. He is a literal person so it was very easy to understand (and believe) that Communion involved the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
He just knows.
God just takes care of him. We are truly blessed.
A fellow ballet mom asked me a question regarding what nurses should know about children with autism when treating them. She asked me through Facebook (I read it via email). I was going to speak to her about it tomorrow but then realized it would make a good blog post.
The very first time I recognized that healthcare providers needed to be aware of Brother's diagnosis was when he was six. He was terribly sick; throwing up constantly with serious abdominal cramps plus fever. I thought he might have appendicitis since he was complaining so much of pain on his right side. I took him to the ER around 4am. It was when they tried to have him drink a large amount of contrast for a CT scan that I realized I should've mentioned his autism diagnosis. This was not long after Brother's diagnosis.
A healthcare provider needs to know that a child with autism:
I'm sure there are many more. There other moms out there I need to speak to and find out what helps them. Please leave a comment if you know of more things healthcare providers need to know.
When Brother was about 10, he started to question why he was continuing with his therapy. His two younger sisters needed speech therapy for articulation issues but were finished within a year to eighteen months. I explained to him that he had autism and that the therapies helped him in many areas. He didn't really understand but he's learning more and more what his weaknesses are.
As we were purging, I came across a picture of us where the children were holding disposable cameras. He wanted to know what he took pictures of. I told him he took pictures of the walls, ground, dirt, grass, etc. He then looked at me with a smile and said, "Well, that's autism for ya."
Who says people with autism don't have a sense of humor.
April is Autism Awareness month. This is the face of autism.
I'm watching something on TV about autism. It's showing a segment about the police and interactions with autistic people. A man is a trainer for police departments on how to deal with people with autism. People can sometimes mistake autistic tendencies with other things such as being under the influence. It has happened that police officers have killed a person with autism because there had been a misunderstanding from both the autistic person and the police. I really hope the more and more police departments are trained to deal and recognize people with autism.
When we started on our long journey to finding out what was going on with Brother, we started with a psychologist. The psychologist was supposed to be an expert and autism wasn't even on his radar. Brother knocked over all the chess pieces in his chess set. He wanted Brother to pick it all up, but Brother chose not to. He wasn't being defiant. I think at that point he had shut down so it was difficult to get him to process any instructions especially then. The doctor told me he thought Brother had ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). If a doctor can make this sort of mistake, imagine the kinds of mistakes a police officer can make.
There have always been debate on whether to label a child with a disability. A common argument against labeling a child is that the child will be hindered. I don't take that view at all. If my son wants to go on to college, then he is at a distinct disadvantage as he is at all times. Most places have allowances for special needs. A diagnosis will help not hinder. Now, I know that once he goes off to work he's on his own. I know that he will have to find a job where he will do his absolute best without having to use his autism as a crutch to not do a good job.
My biggest worry in life, besides whether or not we will all make it to heaven, is who will take care of Brother when I'm no longer able? I hate to burden his sisters, but they'll have to be there. I know, he can take care of himself. He is pretty high functioning. However, he probably will need some guidance at all times.
Brother knows he has autism, but he doesn't understand exactly what it is. His sisters don't quite understand either.
He doesn't always understand what happens in social situations, but he knows sort of what's going on. He has noticed that the boys his age don't play or speak to him. He also notices that his friends, in a group situation don't always include him. His lack of social skills is one of his biggest obstacles. Saturday morning had me comforting him as he cried about the boys not letting him play their games because they said he didn't play well enough. And, I admit to getting angry for him when these same boys surrounded him while he was playing on the Nintendo DS. Until we can prayerfully discern otherwise, we will be stepping back from group activities. I just can't put my son into situations where he will be hurt. It's not necessarily a malicious things as a careless thing.
Another of our biggest obstacles is his inability to read and follow a story. He can't figure out what's going on. Picture books are great as are comics, but he needs to be able to read more than that.
Boy, that was a depressing 7 Quick Takes. And, it's my final autism post of this month. I've had a lot of the real dealing with life and autism being the only parent home for now. I'm hoping next year will be better for Autism Awareness Month.
Check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.
A few years ago, I read that Ryan Barrett had participated in his homeschool group's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I had the same reaction about my son wanting to participate in a production as Mary Ellen.
I decided that I needed to give him a chance. He wanted to do it. I had to let go. So, I decided to help direct another play.
We practiced for nine months and yesterday and today we had our performances. We had to do some serious cramming on his lines, but he did it.
I had to let go. And, he soared.
I've heard it said that people with autism love rules. What they don't mention is that it's their rules they like. Not necessarily yours. If a rule doesn't make sense or he doesn't want to follow it, it's hard for Brother to do so.
For a long time, we had to have lunch at exactly noon and dinner at exactly six. If we got to the table a few minutes early, we'd have to sit there and wait until the clock struck 12 or 6. He's become a bit more relaxed. Part of that is because of his growing maturity and part of it is that we have such a varied evening schedule that the variation became his new norm.
He can still be really rigid about times. He was invited to a birthday party a couple of weeks ago. The mom was out and about so she called to say she'd pick him up. She ran a few minutes late and it just about drove Brother crazy. Even though I had told him it would be rude to ask why she was late, he did it anyway. See? His rules, not mine.
I have to admit it that keeping me awake worried about his life as an adult. What if he broke a law because he just felt that he didn't need to follow it? I hope I can teach him well enough that that doesn't happen. He usually has the best of intentions, but they don't turn out well at all.
We sit in the same pew every Sunday and during daily mass. He needs that to feel comfort. He also sits at the very end on the left. He's better about not requiring the same pew if we are late, but he does have to sit on the very left of the family. It works out as I need to sit somewhere int he middle with the kids and Honey will not sit next to strangers. We end up arriving at church very, very early each Sunday.
I allow some of the things he requires because otherwise he feels anxious. I have to gauge what he needs against how much it will disable him as he gets older.
Being a parent of an child with autism can be quite a balancing act.