Wednesday, January 28, 2015

He is my son.....

I've come to realize I don't have a kid with the tendency to be autistic, I have an autistic son with the tendency to be a kid.
I've learned a lot about my boy and what makes him tick. I don't claim to have all the answers but I'm slowly learning how to make our lives mesh better.
What I thought was going to be the hardest diagnosis to learn to cope and live with is quickly becoming the easiest.
I've learned that he almost always knows with certainty when he's ready to learn a new skill or take on a new responsibility. Where by my daughters are quick to say things like "I can do it, I think" when in fact they are not of the ability yet. He wont say anything until he feels certain he can do it.
I've learned to listen more to him and let him guide our learning. I can see the physical differences in his stress levels between his last year of public school and our present homeschooling. I have learned that his need to move while he's thinking, reading or writing is not something he can control. When he is forced to try and control it he becomes fixated on trying to control that one thing so that he isn't able to focus on learning or listening. If I allow him to move around or stand (rather than sit) to read or write he gets way more done in a shorter amount of time than if I had made him try to sit still in one small space. I've learned that he doesn't know why his body needs to move so much, he is aware of it sometimes, or how to make it stop. Most times he can play with legos (or anything to fixate his hands) while I read aloud and he can follow along better than making him listen only. His energy needs to be directed to leave his mind open to receive information.
I've learned that when he has a thought he literally needs to complete it in its entirety whether or not you've already supplied the information. Think of this, most times we can anticipate where someone's train of thought or questioning is going and sometimes will be quick to answer.
Heres an example:
My 10 y/o daughter walks into the room saying "whats for dinner mom, because if its meat....." and I interrupt and say "its not meat" she will be satisfied and likely walk away.
Now if my ASD son walked into the room and began saying the same thing and I answered before he was done he would continue saying his entire thought even as he's walking away with the answer. See what happens is he hears the answer and has accepted it but he still needs to verbally say the whole thought.
There are many things I've learned and still more I'm learning.
One of the most helpful things I've learned so far : don't fight against it. If he needs to move around while learning then so be it. As long as he is learning, I'm happy and he's happy. If he needs to finish his thought, let him, whats it hurting? Some days we all just need a meltdown to reset ourselves. On those days we take it a little easier. I feel confident I have made the right decision for him and for me at this time. We have considerably less meltdowns these days which is always one of the intended goals. I see that as a huge progression.
Feel free to share your coping strategies or helpful tips in the comments. We all need to support each other.
Thanks for reading along.