Active Day

We went to a big park near our house today.  It was nice to see some trees and sky for a change.

Unfortunately, we have spent much of my son’s Spring break just walking around inside the house like poorly functioning zombies.

The boy has been waking up and throwing tantrums in the wee hours for the last several nights.  He screeches and kind of screams and he hits himself.  Loudly.  Repeatedly.  He turns on lights, he throws things, he slams his head into the mattress…over and over and over.  It’s disturbing.  And it’s routine.  His routine.  Our routine.  No one sleeps.  We all go crazy.

So yeah…trees, sky, clouds, grass…welcome sights today.

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I wonder who JD is.

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We parked really far from the playground area so we would be motivated to get in a good sweaty walk.

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There was also a big hill that called to us several times.  My calves are crying a little bit right now.

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The boy had a great time running and skipping and jumping, just like a boy should.

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He was also determined to climb a tree.  Sadly, most of them were covered in red ants or were too slippery to tackle.  We settled for this one:

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“V” for victory, I guess!  🙂

What are you up to this week?

♥♥

 

 

 

Tangled Autism Hair

A few weeks ago, I posted a note on Facebook about my son’s love for the movie “Tangled” and how he had fashioned himself some long Rapunzel hair using a few lengths of orange Hot Wheels car track.

Not long after my post, I bought the boy a long blonde wig. He tried it once and abandoned it in favor of the car track again.

Now, when he arrives home from school each day, he goes immediately to his room to get the car track.  He puts it in his hair and wears it until he needs to dress or shower the next morning for school.  Yes, he even sleeps with plastic car track stuck in his hair.  And usually he attaches three or four pieces – about eight feet of track – so it drags on the ground when he walks around the house.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except maybe to give you a glimpse into life with an autistic child whose sensory issues, OCD, and creativity frequently collide.

We can usually anticipate that he will react strongly to things, but we are powerless to accurately predict for you exactly how, or for what duration, that reaction will grip his body and our house.

We have simply learned to slip our arms under the track when we hug him and to call him Rapunzel, as if he were the most gifted princess in the land.

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DSC00461Happy Thursday!

P.S.  What’s happening at your house this week?

♥♥

Stuff That Helps My Autistic Kid – #1 in a series

Turning on the subtitles when he watches his favorite movies.

My son didn’t start talking until he was four years old.  Even now, at ten years, he is far behind his peers and still has enormous trouble communicating when he is upset, confused, or hurting.

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Anything that helps him understand his emotions, motivate his speech, or improve his reading comprehension is important for him.  And for our family.

This morning, he came up to me and spontaneously rattled off a list of words – “sighing,” “echoing,” “stammering,” “gasping,” and “straining” – and he gave me appropriate examples of each one.

His new vocabulary came straight from the subtitles of the movie Enchanted.  Each word appears in parentheses there to describe the dialogue and emotion in the current scene.

He has read those words and listened to the associated speech a hundred times.  Now, he knows it all well enough to come up with examples of his own.

When my son first insisted on reading the subtitles a few years ago, I found it very distracting.  We displayed them by accident once or twice, and it seemed the faster we reached to click them off, the more he wanted them on.  Smart boy.  Now, he turns them on for everything.

The subtitles help his awareness of ambient (and usually meaningful) background noises as well.  In Enchanted, he knows when to listen for “truck horn honking” and “glass breaking” and he has made the connection between these words, their sounds, and the storyline.

Subtitles also make it easier to catch elusive song lyrics.  Enchanted includes some amazing and very clever musical scenes.  Despite the beautiful, clear voice of Disney princess Giselle (played by Amy Adams), some of the lyrics were a mystery to us until we read them at the foot of the screen.  Now, we laugh every time we hear and see them.

These days, I can’t imagine watching a video with my son and not having the words on.

Those subtitles help my kid.  And that helps me.  🙂

What simple things help you and your kids?

P.S. Easter Egg ears are all the rage in our house today.  🙂

♥♥

Sick Day Activities

My son is home from school again.  It’s the third day in a row.

He has been sick all week with a bad cold (not to be confused with the vomiting nightmare that kept him home three days last week).  😦

To pass his lethargic downtime, he has been playing with Singing Fingers on the iPad a lot.

It’s loud.  He is loud.

Do you remember the theremin scene from Big Bang Theory?

It feels a bit like that.  It kind of makes my head hurt.

Yesterday, I felt I might go insane from it.  (Or, just maybe, I would discover that I had gone insane from it the day before.)

Today is a little less stressful.

Thanks to a visiting friend and an unemployed husband, I got to leave the house without my son for a while.

The break did me a world of good, and reminded me how much fun I have with my kid.

When I came back, he asked me to film this:

I sure do love this boy.

What did you do today?

♥♥

Sick Again

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The boy is home from school again today.

He missed three days last week because of a stomach bug and now he has a very annoying cold.

My kid can’t seem to catch a break.

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And neither can we.

He’s a bear when his nose is bothering him.  He wiggles and whines and screams and goes insane.  Same deal.  Different day.  Frequent topic.

It makes us all nuts.

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And there’s no real way to explain to anyone what we go through in our house.

He’s an angel out in the world.  He behaves, he is loving, he handles things.  (Except occasionally at school, but that’s another post.)

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At home though, when it’s just the two of us, or just the three of us, he is a different kid.

He is inconsolable, desperate, angry, sad, very physical, exhausting and exhausted.

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He wakes in the middle of the night, will do nothing to help himself, but is insistent that we are awake and miserable with him.

We rarely get a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

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Our son slams doors, throws toys, twists his body, flails his arms, furrows his brow, screeches, and screams, but he says nothing.

We try desperately to help him, but our efforts generally fail.

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Last night, husband actually got him to take some Motrin.  He was tired and it did help him to fall asleep, but he was up again at 3:45 and back to his routine of misery.

I asked him repeatedly what I could do for him.

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I suggested all of the usual remedies for his bothersome throat and nose and I tried to comfort him.

I offered him a snack, some water, and a hug.

Nothing worked.

At 4:30, I gave up and told him I was going back to bed.

I closed the door to our room, but that made him crazy.

He got louder and louder and finally crashed something into the door.

Husband got up that time.

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This morning has shown more of the same.

The boy is miserable from the cold and he wants everyone to know it and feel it right along with him.  It’s maddening.

He took some more Motrin about an hour ago.  He has eaten a hot dog and even exercised at my urging, but it’s going to be a long day in what already feels like an insanely long week.

Husband is gone for a few hours to catch up with a friend and I will get out for a while when he comes back, but I don’t know how far that will go toward preserving our sanity today.

It’s 12:15 p.m. and I’ve yet to make it out of my pajamas and into the shower.  My hair is dirty and flat.  My skin is colorless.  Honestly, I look like the sick one.

Stress.

We need a babysitter.

I’m starting to forget what my laughter sounds like.

P.S.  The best thing to happen today?  I got out the camera to make a video of his on-going tantrum and suddenly he’s a model – posing, smiling, saying “cheese” for all these photos.

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He’s on the couch, watching a video now.  Maybe I will get a shower after all.

♥♥