Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where are Reid, Baby Girl and Eyebrows When You Need Them?

I LOVE Criminal Minds.  For some reason I am drawn to the story lines of these horrible incidents happening to everyday people.  The hardest ones for me are the episodes involving kids.  Anyway, on to the blog.
James has wanted a phone for a really long time.  We have continually told him that he will get one when he is twelve like his sister did.  For years we have worked with him on learning my cell number and 911 for emergencies.  He finally learned the latter one a few years ago 911... I need a new Babysitter  Okay, I might be a horrible mum for saying this but I danced a little jig when he FINALLY got the number correct.  
Fast forward a few years to the present.  James has FINALLY learned my cell number and thank goodness for that!  He rides the bus to and from school on most days.  They had reworked the bus stops and James forgot to give me the new assigned stop he was to get off at, (typical!) Anyway, yesterday, I got a text from someone who somehow got my number.  "Hi, I'm ---. I provide security at the --- library on --- Ave. Your son James says that the bus dropped him off at the wrong location.  Please call me back or text me. Thank you"  PANIC!!!! The girls were waiting at the stop where he always gets off.  I called my daughter and broke down trying to explain that James was at the library with the security guard and please go and get him.  Call me when you have him in the car.  I held my breath and somehow called my husband to get him updated. The girls called me after a short period of time and James got on the phone.  "Hi Mom, I heard you are crying.  Why are you crying?"  Well, let's see... I am crying because James remembered my phone number and found a person in authority when he needed help.  I am crying because my sweet child was concerned about me being sad.  I am crying because I get scared when James is not with a designated adult.  "I was crying because I was scared when I got the text from the security guard but glad that you knew just what to do!"  "Well Mom, I did try to call you two times but you didn't answer."  "I am sorry James. I was at work and my ringer was off."  Actually thank goodness that I didn't answer those calls because all I could think about was that conversation.  "Hi Mom, the man has me at the library."  Again, cue PANIC.  All is well in the Laughter Home.  James will be getting his phone for his 12th birthday in a few months.  He remembered all that we taught him about when he is lost or simply misplaced.  Phone Home Baby... Phone Home!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

On the Road to One's Fullest Potential

With every diagnosis comes lots of question mark.  Will he be able to ...?  What will —— diagnosis do to me wanting her to go to college; drive a car; get married; have children; ....? There are always a lot of unknowns.  To be honest, there are always unknowns even for a child without a diagnosis as as these charming little critters don't come with an instruction manual and they, heaven forbid, have free will!  Anyway, it became my mission after James received his diagnosis of Autism on 12/20/06, that I would give him the tools to help reach his fullest potential.

Fast forward 3161 days and here we are, in the present, well yesterday to be exact.  James has progressed amazingly well through ABA and is currently in the 6th grade so he is certainly moving in the right direction.  Now, independence in daily living is a completely different thing.  If you missed it, here is James's view of perfect independence Independence perfected, James style For those of you who missed the updates on Facebook, James forgot his morning medicine so needed to be reminded and only ate a small bowl of pretzels for breakfast, forgot to pee all day and at supper (Hometown Buffet) ate enough for 3 hungry adults.  The independence I am talking about is independent living skills; cleaning, so when his future friends come to visit his apartment they won't need to use the bathroom in the restaurant down the street. 
Just a little back information, I work as a case manager for adults with disabilities.  I have lost count on the number of them who are capable of completing many cleaning tasks independently or with verbal reminders of steps, who still have their parents or support workers do all of it.  Oh No. This was not going to happen for MY kid!  So, about a year ago, I started small with James wiping down the counter in his bathroom.  It doesn't matter "high or low functioning" (I really hate these labels but let's go with it); all kids with Autism can do something every week to contribute to keeping the house clean.  We all know that kids with Autism love repetition!  How many time have you had to suffer through (fill in the blank) movie or commercial just to keep you child from losing control?  We all have stories about this.  Well from the little seed of wiping down his bathroom counter a mighty tree of independence has grown!  Currently this is his list:
  1. wipe down the bathroom counter
  2. wipe the two sink basins in his bathroom and around the faucets 
  3. cleaning the toilet inside and out
  4. vacuum and wash his bedroom and bathroom floors (for those of you who might have missed this blog, here it is: vacuuming fun)
  5. filling and starting washing machine
  6. switching over the wash to the dryer (don't forget to do the lint trap in the dryer)
  7. fold and put away clothes, hanging school shirts on hangers for the closet and matching socks (still working on the matching and rolling socks)
  8. and this week, we added folding towels!
                                     Next week... helping to load and unload the dishwasher!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day Before 6th Grade.... Silence Please

So, the 100 days of summer are coming to a screeching halt and James has asked for an unusual request.  He wants to make a deal with all of the adults who live in our house, 4 to be exact.  Before we get to his request, let's just ponder and see what making a deal with him in the past has looked like.  Let's make a Deal don't worry... I'll wait (da da da da,da da da-- da da da da ^da dadadadada, da da da da, da da da, da da da da da da da.  For those of you who didn't catch the tune, it was the timing music for Jeopardy)
The current deal of this very savvy 11 year old is this... for one day, Sunday, he wants no one to be able to ask or tell him to do anything.  NOTHING!  We can't ask him questions, can't ask him to flush the toilet, did he wash his hands, NOTHING!! Okay, I'm game; only I had one stipulation.  Well really two, but whose counting?  First, if he forgets to take his medicine, an adult can ask him to get it.  Second, the deal is up at 6:00PM when he needs to be dressed because the adults in the house are taking him out to his favorite restaurant for a celebratory, I mean, last supper before the beginning of 6th grade!  If said child, isn't independently ready by 6 PM sharp, the supper out goes away (like all of Cinderella's niceties at the stroke of midnight.  6PM Pacific time, it must be midnight somewhere in the world) and he will have to eat at the table in our house with no special restaurant.  
Okay... I am looking at this as an interesting social experiment... After all... one of the main deficits in individuals with Autism is their social interactions.  So here we go...