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.  🙂

♥♥

Jelly Bean Eggs

We made our construction paper Easter eggs this week.

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I think we did more this time than ever before.

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The first year, we mostly just decorated the eggs.

Now, our tradition is to write on them.

The boy does most of it.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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He also made a couple of really LARGE eggs:

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I wrote on a few of them too:

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We also played with balloons this week.

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And we made a bed on the stairs.

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What did you do?

♥♥

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?

♥♥

My Little Angry Bird

The boy is home from school again today.  Second time this week.

Lingering sniffles set the mood, but it was a frustrating failure to instantly shuffle cards like a pro that sent him over the edge.  😦

I tried to help him learn it, but he wanted to do it himself, so hit me and threw a toy into the air.

I got mad and he started sobbing.  Right away, I knew he wasn’t going to go to school.  He just had that look about him.

He probably wouldn’t last long there anyway.  He sometimes hits his teachers and throws things in the classroom too.

In the past few weeks, the school has called on three separate occasions and asked me to pick him up early.  Last Friday, it was only twenty minutes before my phone rang.

It’s inconvenient.  There’s no denying that, but it’s really more heartbreaking than anything else.

He wants to grow up right now.  Today.  Completely.  All the way.  And he is distraught when he finds he can’t.

Somehow, my child perceives adulthood as a frustration-free zone in which he will magically know how to do everything, his words will come easily, and he will be in charge.

My poor little boy, if only there were a way to get him to really understand how very untrue that is.

The teacher made a great social story book for him.

It’s all about growing up, how you have to do it a little at a time, and even when you get there, you have to obey grown-up rules.

I think it helps him.

But this morning he was frustrated beyond reason and then paralyzed by my upset.  All he could do was sob and sit there on the couch, waiting for me to make it better.

Seven days of school to go and I have to be okay that he is desperate to miss one of them.

When he is older and (I hope) employed, he won’t be able to skip work just because he has a bad moment at home.  He will still have to go.  He will still have to listen to a boss and do his work.  He will have to learn how to smooth things out in his relationships and still manage his responsibilities.

I am intensely aware of this fact.

But he’s nine years old and he has challenges that other kids don’t have, so he gets a free pass this morning.

And a popsicle.

And then we’re going out to lunch.

P.S.  He dressed up for Gold Rush Days at school a few weeks ago.  And yes, Forty-niners did so eat Nutri-Grain bars.

♥♥