Sunday, February 22, 2015

"But I'm an A Student!!" and When did This Happen?

I always have known that James was smart.  Even when he wasn't talking and couldn't be tested, there was something in the way he paid attention.  He was always observing even if he wasn't looking.  Somehow he picked up on what was going on in the world even if he was stuck in his.  Anyway, fast forward to now.  James is in the 5th grade. He has an aide but in a typical classroom.  He keeps up and is doing very well.  His teacher is amazing with him, and for the first time James has someone who understands him as a kid with High Functioning Autism.  She expects him to do classwork like all of the other kids but allows homework to be modified for our sanity.  It is in his IEP so... James has recently taken up using his "Free Homework Passes" for his spelling.  Not really sure why spelling continues to be so targeted in school because every device he will use has spell check.  Anyway... So as you can probably surmise... He didn't do well on the spelling test this past week (I believe if we use metric and take his 42 and convert it from Celsius to Fahrenheit then it magically goes from an F to 107.6 degrees which is definitely an A with extra credit for creativity!??!)   Well, James was obviously upset over his grade.  He told his aide that he couldn't get an F because he was an A student.  His aide talked to him about making better choices with his homework passes and studying more for the tests. 
A very rare picture of the Laughter Mum but this kid makes me smile!!

Usually when James gets upset, he packs his things and "moves out." He did it the day before in school when he moved to the principal's office during a new typing skills class.  He has moved out of our house many times but usually just as far as the living room, where he gets engaged in something and then forgets why he wanted to move out.  This time, after the devastating grade, he announced to his aide that he needed a walk and asked if she would take him!  YEARS, we have spent YEARS on asking for a break appropriately!   Wow!!! Two lessons learned in one day and on a day! LOVE this kid!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Okay... I Know I'm a Chicken!!

Okay, so I am doing what most people do when they get up. I am having a private moment trying to get ready for my day.  In walks James.
"Mom, what is that noise?"
"I'm peeing"
"Wait, you're not holding anything."
"Well James, boys and girls have different peeing parts."
"So you don't need to hold anything when you pee?  Cool!." and off he went.

This was almost as easy as when my daughter asked me where babies came from when she was three.  I told her the hospital and it worked.  No uncomfortable V and P discussions with a child who didn't need a full anatomy lesson just wanted basic information

Saturday, February 14, 2015

So IT Finally Happened!!!

Okay. So we all know kids with Autism have obsessions of some kind or another.  previous post on this topic  James's is currently Minecraft.  He talks about it ALLLLLLL the time.  There isn't a conversation we have had at home over the past several months that hasn't somehow magically found it's way back to this topic.  Well, after tons of prodding from him, my husband and I finally gave in and bought the PC version for our family computer. Seems innocent enough.  We turned off the chat feature and protected him as best as we could.  Paid the fee and started the download.  James danced and twirled!  He "patiently" waited for the download and then it happened.  Every other login on the computer disappeared!  James's obsession finally took over and destroyed our world.  We are now stuck with a computer that only has his login and no way to make him an administrator to try to fix it.  Autism obsession 1           Laughter house computer 0.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Puppies and Pansies

Let me just preface this with a caveat...  My husband and I are both pacifists.  We believe in non violent ways of solving conflict.  James was born all boy, ready for a battle at any moment and the more weaponry he had the better and if it blew things up that was a bonus!  For years my mantra with him has been, "Puppies and Pansies James, Puppies and Pansies."  I say it at least daily.  It is my way of letting him know that he is crossing the line into territory I am not comfortable with him going.   I want him to stay innocent and sweet.  This is a kid who continues to believe in the magic of Christmas and asked Santa this year to please make Pokemon real.  He doesn't always have a strong grip on the difference between reality and fiction.  This is a kid who lives very happily in the world of Mario, Pokemon, and Minecraft.  He cursorily understands that death is forever even though some of his favorite characters die during each battle and come back for the next one.  Innocence isn't a commodity that I take lightly.  James is only 11 and he should be allowed to be a child for as long as possible.  He has plenty of opportunities to be "aggressive" in a gentleman's way.  James has taken archery, fencing and is currently doing well in Karate.  He plays Chess, Heroica, Battleship and the card game "War".  How do I protect him when he isn't under our roof and our rules?  We hope that all of the conversations will finally sink in and he will have clear thought when he is asked to play some very cool, very violent, very gun-heavy PlayStation game.  Miracles happen every day, right?  Puppies and Pansies do frolic together right?
Too late to make him return to this stage where everything was innocent?  Too late to have him rethink his fondest desires to annihilate everything in his wake?  Too late to ...? Yup... too late. To be honest, James is mostly sweet, funny and charming. There is just this "Jekyll Freckle" that seems to always itch.  And a guy's gotta scratch what itches, right?  Well, scratching that itch last week gave him a one day suspension.  In November he had a two day suspension because he was lost in a fantasy experience and told a girl he was going to kill her. He wasn't necessarily talking to her, he was in a role play and she came in.  James has a ton of creativity and impulsivity.  Talk about explosive!   As his mum, I feel I need to cushion him from violence and yet it is everywhere we look these days.  That is why I continue with my mantra, Puppies and Pansies James, Puppies and Pansies!!  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Finding What You Love About Yourself

It is a given.  Some things we really like about ourselves and other things well... we just don't. Recently, James has been talking about hair and loving his hair in some pictures. This came up when he was working on his power point for his New York school project.  One of the slides he needed to do was on the governor of New York. He found a picture that he liked of Andrew Cuomo and commented that he had really good hair. I don't see it but in James's world this guy rocks when it comes to hair!  
We were looking through pictures and James found one that he really liked and commented that he had really good hair in it.  He likes the swirl and how it looks.  I love the smile 
Laughter, Could be the Missing Pieceand impishness that comes with my little man.  Hair has been something that never crossed my mind when it came to me thinking of what James liked about himself.  He has complained about his curls for a long time. He would love a buzz cut but I just can't. Every time I send him to get a haircut with my husband, I tell them to leave some of the length for the curls. I adore the curls!  I am sure when he turns 18, he will go someday to the barber and get it all buzzed off but I have seven more years of curly bliss.  I end this with some of my favorite curly moments in time.  
James and an armful of Rodgers!!  See
Previous post for this explanation.  

Say "cheese!"

All of these pictures are from years ago.  Now James is rocking a great head of hair that is generally disheveled and uncombed.  Like most Autism parents, I choose my battles and as long as he is dressed and ready for school on time, I let the hair go.  Most mornings I am not home to even care and by the time I see him in the evening, the sweat of the day has magically turned the disheveled look into pretty curls again.
So gorgeous!!! This picture was
taken in a brief moment of peace. 
 He had been racing around the
house and for one fraction
 of a moment was still and perfect!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Constant VS Obsession

Over the years, our family has lived with James's many obsessions.  Thomas the Tank Engine, Lightning MacQueen, Speed Racer, Herbie (remember the little beige Volkswagen bug with the 53 on the side?) Spider-man, ramen noodles, pizza, Mario, Pokemon, still pizza, Minecraft.  It is possible that I have left some out but you get the picture.  These are obsessions!  They consume his life for only periods of time. They get banned from the table (all except for the food items).  They go in on ear and out the other for the poor person James is trying to engage with as he rattles on about the most intricate and impressive reason why we should all love his current obsession.
Flip to the constant in his life.  The constant goes by the name of Rodger. There have been many versions of Rodger, some white, some brown, some Rodger's brother or cousin but they have all been a form of Rodger.  Rodger is comfort, where the obsession is adrenaline. Rodger is quiet, where the obsession is boisterous.  Rodger is allowed at the table, where the obsession is banned.  Rodger is ... LOVE!!
Taken today as James was avoiding doing his spelling.
Guess what happened when he woke up.  Spelling!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Don't Judge, It is all a Matter of Perception!

I have been away from the blogging world for a long time and am going to try to get back into it slowly at first and then hopefully back into full swing of writing a blog post several times a week.  What has sparked my interest in getting back into it?  The 58 likes I got this week!!  Anyway... as an Autism parent I am often judged by what I do or don't do.  What therapies I have tried or haven't tried.  Did I vaccinate James on schedule or not (yes, I did). Gluten and casein free or no (a BIG NO on this one, James would STARVE!!).  James is just about the pickiest eater I have seen in a long time.  Everything has to be just the right softness, smell the same every time, look the same every time, and it had better not have anything green on it!!  So today I am thinking of the "vegetables" my son will eat.  Here is the grand list:

French Fries
Onion Rings
and the frosting "carrot" off the carrot cake at Hometown Buffet

Sounds limiting I know but it is all a matter of perception!!  At least he is nearing  almost eating a vegetable!  So today as you are putting your child's one food they will eat on the plate again just remember... we have all been walked this path and there is no shame in feeding your kid the food they will eat.  They need something in their bellies to maintain the energy level they all seem to have!  Someday they may surprise us and actually try something new and like it!!