Sunday, January 30, 2011

Car Ride With My Aspie

Spending any significant time in a car with any child can be an experience. I just wanted to take a moment to share the experience that I had this morning.

I woke Kyle up at 6:30, earlier than normal, in order to get ready and meet the group he goes snowboarding with. The normal battles of getting ready in the morning were the same. He knew that we had to leave by 7:30. At 7:30 he started freaking out at me because we were supposed to be leaving. I was just finishing up a quick bite of breakfast before heading out the door. I reassured him that we would be leaving in "just a minute" which I literally felt would be accomplished. He didn't like that answer, and for the next minute, I spent reassuring him that everything was going to be okay.

We left at 7:31. My tank was almost out of gas, so we had to stop and get gas. Kyle loves the V8 drinks, so I gave him some money to run in and get a couple while I pumped the gas. He came back with V8 tomato juice. I am glad that he likes such a healthy thing. Now only if I could get him to like mint toothpaste!!!

We left the gas station with an hour and fifteen minutes left of our journey. We were driving along and then he started repeating things. He doesn't do this too often, but when he does he does it a lot. The first thing he repeated was "three thousand", followed by "you need to take care of yourself" in a singsong voice. All the time he was doing this, he was very happy and was rocking back and forth and side to side. There were about three other phrases he stuck on for awhile.

He also asked me what "curriculum" meant. I explained to him that what he is doing at school right now is his curriculum. Then he proceeded to tell me that he isn't doing anything in school right now. I asked him about math and reading, and he said he isn't doing that right now. I said he must be doing something in the seven hours that he is there. His exact words were, "I do when I am there, but I am not there now." He wasn't joking around, he was being dead serious. I had to smile to myself, it was kinda cute.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Pain of Rejection

Every week Kyle goes out with a therapist and another child with similar needs to have fun and to work on social skills. Kyle looks forward to these outings. This is such a great opportunity for him and the other children. Kyle has been going with this one child and I thought that everything was going great. I began to wonder if I was imagining the social deficit.

I took Kyle to his one on one therapy appointment today and while he was in his meeting I met up with the therapist that he works with in these social meetings. We talked about the next time that she was going to be taking Kyle out and what they had planned on doing. It was great to hear that he was going to be making some different friends. Then, I was saddened to hear that the child he was going with regularly had asked the therapist if he always had to hang out with Kyle. This was very sad for me to hear. No one wants to hear that their child isn't liked by anybody. On the other hand, I do not blame the child either. Kyle can be mean to other children. He doesn't know he is until after he has hurt the other person's feelings and you have brought it to his attention. He then feels really bad because this wasn't his intention, but the damage is done.

The last time the two of them hung out with the therapist they went sliding. Kyle was getting mad and very hurtful to the other child because he "wasn't sliding right" and kept falling off. This is something that he has had a hard time with all along. His brother doesn't play with Legos right...his sister doesn't play the game right...every five seconds someone isn't doing something right.

The therapist could tell that I was sad. I said to her that I have tried to talk to him about this since he was little and he doesn't ever get it until after the damage is done. She reassured me that it is great that he takes ownership for it after and that he feels remorse. She told me that she was going to work with him and help him learn. I am so happy and grateful that he will eventually learn, I hope, but why is it that I am not able to teach him this? What is it that I am doing wrong? I love him with every bit of my heart, and when he gets rejected it hurts me a million times more than you can even imagine. He is such a happy, lovable boy and I never want that to change.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

You Can Be Part of a Team in More Than One Way

     I try to involve Kyle in as many activities as the schedule allows for many reasons.  He is a kid and will only have these opportunities for a very short time, I want him to have fun and learn skills, but most of all I have him take part in different things for social growth.
     Kyle has fun at sports, he plays baseball, soccer, basketball and is involved in gymnastics.  He tried flag football two seasons but that really didn't work out.  He isn't the top athlete, but he does awesome in my eyes.  Seeing the growth he has made in the four years he has been playing sports amazes me.  The first couple of years he would physically be at practice, but would be off doing cartwheels half a field away from his team.  More interested in the grass and the adults than the sport or his friends.  A short attention span at this age is quite normal, but Kyle always likes to take things a little farther.  Now, he can sit with his team, follow directions and stay on task 1000 times better than he could back then.  This to me is much he has grown in such a short time.  There is still room for growth, though.  When the team sits together, he will now sit quiet and still with the team, but is usually facing the other way and not looking at the coach.  He is listening...he can answer a question you ask or repeat what you say.  He is gently being reminded about eye contact.
     He is doing well, and they just had their first two games this season.  The coach was very good and picked up on something that will be very useful in future years.  She also knows that the main reason that he is in basketball is for social growth and not because I wisk for him to be in the NBA!  LOL!  She noticed that he likes the paper they use in games to keep track of who scores and such.  He seemed to have a strong interest.  She said to me that when he is older he might prefer to be a team manager.  This thought had never crossed my mind...what a great idea!!! 
     That night I talked with Kyle about the game and about how interested he was in the tracking sheet that one of the other parents was filling out.  His eyes beamed...he went on and on about how cool that was and how he wanted to do that.  Awesome!!
     Since he is so young, and sports are still working out for him for the most part, I don't want him to not practice and play...I still want him to be a regular part of the team, but I also want to let him learn something that he will enjoy and will become useful in the future.  Now to find a balance and compromise.
     I talked with the coach after practice yesterday and I thanked her for her great suggestion and we worked on incorporating that into the mix now.  Since it is something he likes to do, we can use it as an award for good behavior.  I explained to her that for now I would still like him to practice and play at least the first half of the game, and if he does well and cooperates he can keep track of the sheet for the second half, along with the other parent who will be keeping the "official" sheet.
     My goal in this is to force him to be out there socially and learn how to be part of a team, which is a skill he will need in his life, but to also grow another part that he really likes and is potentially a great fit for him!  I am very thankful that the coach noticed this, brought it to my attention and is helping him learn this.  I think this is going to be a great thing for Kyle in the future when sports become harder and more competitive.