Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coping and Not Coping

Some days, I just don't know where to start. I mean with everything.... housework, dinner, blogging. Some weeks are like that. I suppose it's a combination of interrupted sleep and sickness.

Some days, I just can't handle my son's autism. Other days I think it's cute. Sometimes, I feel both at the same time. Crazy, huh.

His behaviour is becoming more rigid in some areas now. He is starting to really recognise some routines and is wanting to play them out every time we do that particular thing. For example, the way I get him out of bed in the morning: I sing a little song, and turn on the light. He stands up in the cot and comes to the side. I hug and kiss him there, then put the side down. Then he climbs out. If this order of events is interrupted, he doesn't like it and his whole morning is ruined. Sometimes all it takes is for his dad to come in to get him up instead of me.

We had an interesting incident one morning this week as we were leaving the house to see the speechie. Hubby was home, which is unusual for him during the week. On some occasions, he has taken our son out and about in his car - a Ford Falcon XC 1978 model. With quite a boom on the engine. The boy tends to get upset when he goes in papa's car, because he is accustomed to going in mine. It's just wrong to him. Anyway, on this particular morning, the boy must have deduced that because Papa was home, he must be going out in his car. This is what happened:

I opened the front door to walk to the car with my boy. He always pauses at the front step, the door mat, and the end of the paving, for whatever reason. He did this as usual, then started down the garden path. But halfway down, he veered off and went towards Papa's car! This was a major suprise to me, he never does this!

I caught up with him, and began walking him back towards my car. "No, no honey," I said, "mummy's car today, we're going in mummy's car, see?" I point towards my car. He doesn't follow my point - I didn't expect him to. He doesn't like me changing his course though! I managed to walk him back to the garden path, but by this point, he is so upset that he plonks himself down on the ground and has a tantrum.

I let him have his moment, and then help him up - he accepts the hand up. But he still won't come to the car. I let go his hands again because he's trying to get away. I wanted to see what he was going to do. I thought he would go back to the XC, but he didn't. Instead, he went back up to the front door, stood on the step, and started his walk again from the beginning, going to my car this time as usual.


He couldn't cope with the 'mistake' he had made, he had to take it from the top. I laughed. I thought it was very cute. But it's such an 'autistic' thing to do! It's an interesting thing this. On one hand, he showed some good adaptive thinking: Papa is home, therefore we must be going in papa's car today. However, when he realised that was not the case, he had to make his way to my car from step one. That is rigid thinking. He probably couldn't get the idea that he could just continue on to mummy's car from wherever he was at. It would just be 'wrong' for him.

Another thing he struggled with, was the fact that papa got into the drivers' seat, not me. This upset him, again, because it is not the usual way that things are done. Once I got into the passenger side though, and turned to smile at him, he was ok. Overall, I think he adjusted to these changes quite well.

This is an example of autistic behaviour of his that makes me smile. It's cute. It's funny. It's very autistic. Some days though, I just don't have the time or mental energy for it. I haven't got time to be patient while he works things through....we need to go now. - The step is the same today as it was yesterday, can we just go already son? Do you really need to check it again? - It can get pretty frustrating at times.


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