Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, sensory input devices, socialization tactics…… each taking up so much time and yet when things seem they are at the bleakest, a new sentence will emerge, or a new skill evolves. While spending so much time in the trenches of the special needs world, it is sometimes difficult to see how far Conor has come since he has been immersed in school and therapy and anything else we think may help him. This past week he asked if he could go to Rolly Pollies, a kids gym that has all sorts of great sensory input activities for him. Since that comment, he asks to go daily. Of course we can’t do that due to his school and therapy schedule, but that sentence has led to others including “when can we go to Rolly Pollies?”. I had never heard him use the word “when”. And while he asks to go daily now, he understands when I tell him it is closed or we are unable to go because we have this or that to do. To many this may seem a small thing, but to me it’s a victory. One that will takes us to further down the road toward……??? Something good anyway..
And, while on the subject of Rolly Pollies, a big thank you goes out to John, the owner in Bee Caves. He has gone out of his way to help Conor by showing him some things to do on the equipment, and by linking me up to some other parents of kids Conor’s age with Autism. Thanks John! We will see you soon. Literally 🙂
Conor, Jack and I went to one of those jump houses (lot’s of blow up things to jump and slide on for those of you out of the loop). I won’t name names as we like going to this one a lot and have always had fun and support even when Conor is having one of his bad “autism” days. So, we are there at a time it is not too busy, and Conor goes and jumps on one of the “under 3 year old” inflatables. Now, I know that he shouldn’t have done that, but there were no kids in the place younger than 3, and all the other kids of varying ages above 3 were in it at one point or another and no one was upset about the situation. Except the older woman who is an employee who very randomly, and seldomly, walked around shouting at the kids not to run, get off this or that, etc.. She really had a calling as a drill sergeant if she hadn’t already been one. She even had the haircut. Of course, Conor is alone on the under 3 yr jumpy house on one of her rare walk-throughs when she sees him and starts yelling at him to get out, as he is clearly over 3. He ignores her and continues jumping. I had been watching and rushed over to take him out when she gets even more upset at him and yells more loudly (and not so nicely) for him to get out. She was incensed that he was ignoring her. I called to Conor, and she told me he wasn’t listening and was going to be asked to leave. I had to throw out the “A-bomb” at that point and told her he’s autistic and can’t talk much, not to mention couldn’t hear above the screams of the other kids and the noise the inflatable things make. She immediately apologised and said that there were a lot of kids with autism that came to the place. I don’t what she was trying to convey to me at that point. I felt if she had been around all these other kids with autism that maybe she should give the benefit of the doubt to a child who is not responding appropriatley.
Conor got out of the jumpy thing when I asked and went to find something else to play on. The woman followed me briefly saying that there really were a lot of kids with autism who go there and I just said that I had to keep an eye on him so that he didn’t break any rules. Meanwhile, the under 3yr jumpy house filled up with clearly over 6yr olds as we spoke.
So, I don’t know how or if she will remember that incident, but I hope she does. Parents with kids of different abilities remember them. And, just because a child doesn’t look like he has any issues doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t. It’s difficult to have a child so cute (my own bias there) and then have people project certain behaviours that he should accomodate, and when he doesn’t, blame goes to him and to the parent. I suppose sometimes that is true. But sometimes folks should take a step back and consider there is more going on than just bad parenting or bad behaviour.
Needless to say, I hope the woman who yelled at Conor (ugh! still hurts) woke up in the morning and thought about the situation. If it was no more than a flitting moment in her life with nothing gained, than that’s sad and a missed opportunity on her part. A goal for everyone should be to have a little understanding for those you don’t understand.
Sometimes it is found in a bottle of wine and other times it comes from a trip to Target. With Conor and Jack. While that sounds like a no-big-deal event, it often turns out to be a monumental task getting them to go through the aisles and aisles of Target. Jack drones on about getting something from the wonderful world of toys (or as I call it “the black hole”) and won’t quit until he peruses the aisles. Of course, I try to avoid that section at all costs, but I’m only human. Conor on the other hand runs to the electronics and the wall of flat screen tv’s that are on and playing different ads all at the same time. Unfortunately, the electronics department is near the toys, and neither of them will be confined in the shopping cart (gone are the days of strapping them in the stroller). Getting either of them out of their preferred places requires me to carry one out screaming (Conor) and bribing the other one (Jack) with something from our Treasure Box at home. Sometimes you just have to go to Target and bring both kids. And that takes courage. It also takes a bottle to relieve the stress of the outing.
Conor has beautiful eyes if he looks at you. Frankly you are blessed if he does because looking people in the eye really isn’t his thing. However, last night I was sitting on the bed about to read a story to him and he just started crying. He made no noise, but these big tears came falling from his eyes. He had a great day at school and at therapy and was happy as a lark all day. He screams like a banshee when he doesn’t like something or is unhappy about something. And, he has a super high tolerance for pain. So, the first thing I did was check to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself in someway. He seemed fine so I hugged him (he loves deep pressure hugs. Ok, a plug here toward the autism assistance dog that would help him greatly. Link to donate on the blog:), but a few minutes later he started crying again. I asked him what was wrong many times, but of course he is unable to tell me. He again settled down when I hugged him, but I still don’t know what instigated that? I can only guess it was an emotional response to something. I just wish I knew what drove him to tears..
We have a terrific physical education teacher at our school who is like a drill sergeant having the kids do sit-ups, push-ups, shoot hoops, play tennis all of which build fine and gross motor skills, not to mention upper body strength and core strength. So what you ask? Well, she is doing this with autistic kids. And she is doing an amazing job. Watch out Shaq (well okay you are retired but I don’t have a lot or any references. Maybe Kobe Bryant?).