Saturday, August 14, 2010

making it work

Sometimes it's tempting to just stay home on the weekends. I might get to read part of a book. Or I can leisurely drink a cup of coffee (well, as leisurely as that can be with a kid screaming Mommy Mommy at me). However, we are making an attempt to do new things with the kids, more than we usually do. So today we took a 1-hour drive up to Idyllwild (sp?) for the Butterfly Festival. It isn't Ben we worry about (it used to be). It's Elliott. He can't handle new events very well. He doesn't like the driving, the new people, the noise, the sensations, etc. But we can't just keep him at home. That wouldn't be good for him. So we load up his favorite snacks and his favorite movies. We take deep breaths, and we try to be as optimistic as Ryan and I can be.

Yes, Elliott screamed. He also threw-up because of the winding roads. He didn't appreciate his ears popping after we passed 3000 feet. By the time we got there, he was a smelly, unhappy mess. He was mostly cranky the whole time, punctuated by moments of happiness--climbing a rock, noticing a small waterfall and ravine, coloring a butterfly mask.

Ben had a fantastic time. He got to hold a butterfly and made a really intricate mask and necklace in the shape of--you guessed it--a butterfly.

The screaming began to disrupt the 3-piece-Jerry-Garcia-covering band and its listeners, so we had to take off before the release of the butterflies, but, hey, we did something new, and that was the only goal.

So I guess the message here is, we can stay home and feel sorry for ourselves that it takes too much effort and stress to get an autistic kid out of the house. Or we can just forge ahead and do it and have the best time our family can have. Because screw those other families, with their non-screaming, non-throwing-up kids. They aren't nearly as interesting as mine is.


Anonymous said...

Angela, getting out of the house and exposing Elliott to new things, even when it is difficult, is definitely the right thing to do. It can be hard and it can be frustrating, but in the end, it will ultimately be very rewarding.


Smith5 said...

Props to you. It's hard and it is a lot of work. I used to take KK everywhere before her Diagnosis and once she has that "label" I let it stop me for a little bit. Not long. She doesn't barf, but she does tantrum and loves to flee and in-fact was arms length from getting run over at the furniture store the other day. But most importantly, you can't let it stop you from doing things. He will adjust the more you do it, the more he will become accustom to it. I promise.

I think it depends in the kid, but I also think no matter where they are on the spectrum, they learn to adjust to changes to some degree and the more you expose him to it, the more he will adapt.

Keep doing baby steps. the jumping places, try Pretend City on Autism night, and local museums. Maybe a family story time one evening at the library.

Just don't give up because you guys are doing a great job and you are not alone. Jim's right. You will resp rewards from it all.

MrsDoF said...

It's been awhile since I've been over here, so your last several writings were new to me :)

If you remember, my job is Teaching Assistant Substitute in the public school system, and most of the time I am in Special Needs rooms.
In fact, I'm take a bit of pride in knowing that a couple rooms for the kids with Autism put my name in By Request for the SubFinder system.

Anyway, over the summer, I was walking along in a store when I hear a voice I know so well
"Mrs. W ! What are you doing here? !!"
His mom stopped in her tracks, turned and looked at her son, then at me.
How does he know your name? she asked.
Well, I'm often called to work as a TA Sub in his homeroom at KJHS. and I'm pleased to meet you. Grin.

We both looked at the 13 yr old who is taller than both of us women. His face had closed again when I did not answer his question right away.
She said that is the first time he has ever spoken to anyone else, an 'unknown' in a store.
He is a freshman in high school this year. He has matured greatly since I first met him 4 years ago.

As a side, the Atlantic Monthly magazine with Doonesbury on the cover (? September 2010) has a wonderful article about a guy who was first labeled Autistic. He is now 77 years old.
I cried, I cheered, I want reprints for all the teachers in all the classrooms where I am an assistant.

~~love and Huggs, Diane