Blog Archives

Socializing is a Bitch


The girl is alone on the porch and my son wants to go outside and play with her.  I say yes and he scrambles to get his sneakers on and runs outside.  He is making conversation with her and I am amazed.  I am elated that he even wants to go outside.  Those social skills groups are working miracles.  This good feeling was doomed to be short-lived, however.

She was waiting for two boys to arrive for a play date.  One of them comes and she is engaged with him.  My son tries to keep her attention and the bad habits flare up.  He raises his voice and cuts off the other boy from speaking.  I cringe.  The two exchange glances and smiles while my boy goes on and on about stuff that I don’t even know about.

I sit behind the slanted blinds, fingering the pages of a book, “The Autistic Brain-Thinking Across the Spectrum.” Naively I thought I was going to be able to read this, originally intending on keeping tabs on him since it was the first time I let him go outside by himself.  Now, I want to cry and I wonder why I let him out.  He leaves them to go and put the box of chalk away in the backyard (because I couldn’t take any more and called him inside).  He drops the box of chalk and tries to get them to come and help pick them up and I hear these two making inside remarks and gestures like an inside joke, “what’s wrong with him, what’s he trying to do?” They regarded him as a curiosity, but I don’t think they knew about the chalk he was trying to pick up.  Sigh.

The other boy comes and she jumps up and down squealing, “He’s here, he’s here….!”  My son tries to talk to the parents walking in, but my heart aches listening to him sound out of place with his voice raised, desperately trying to get their attention.  One talks with him briefly, that was nice.  His conversation was all over the place.

I’m proud of myself for not getting aggressive, but my voice sounds acerbic as I try to tell him that he cannot follow them upstairs.  He gets upset and I take him into my room and explain again.  I distract him with some rough and tumble and he laughs.  Still, he keeps verbalizing the statement, “They have a play date and they never invite me.”  The truth is that they have a pretty busy schedule and not around when we are.

Well, just something I had to write down.  Something I had to remember.  Each day is indeed to be taken as small, tiny baby steps.  I’m glad I felt comfortable letting him go outside without seeking to shadow him.  Hopefully, next time will be better. Hopefully, there will be a next time.

Follow up to Yesterday’s Post


229219_10150565589560316_4887166_n

I got so caught up in my own experience with being bullied (This is a Bully Free Zone).  Usually I just have a burst of writing, then publish right away without editing and refining my thoughts.  But where this would normally lead to is my hopes for my child, new to the public school system in an urban area.  Sometimes I see my son as a fragile flower… yeah, that’s me; but it’s definitely a product of also knowing that school aged kids can be with most ferocious of tormentors and I worry about that.

We had an incident this year with bullying, where the adults of the school did not properly, nor thoroughly, assess this incident to appreciate the full story.  What they saw were two kids who accosted my child, one holding his hands behind his back and one punching him in the stomach.  What would that tell you?  These were kids from my son’s second grade class.  They also saw my son laughing, so they presumed that they all were playing.  THAT turned my stomach.  Autistic kids cannot read or present appropriate facial expressions or body cues.  The teacher in the lunchroom did not have the training to recognize this and so she thought that they all were playing.  After I got done flipping my wig, I got ahold of the principal and blasted his ear on the need for training for ALL personnel who come into contact with my kid.  I explained to him what happened and that I had extensively questioned my son and concluded that this was not playing.  As an outcast during my school years, I realized that he, who also does not have many friends, must have been happy to have attention from his peers, in ANY form, hence his laughter.  Also, he did not realize what had actually happened.  My son said that they thought he was a “robber.”  It took several separate questioning sessions to get out of him that he was not playing with them in the first place and that their actions HURT him.  I think he still was totally clueless as to what had transpired.  Thank GOD that the school acted accordingly in that they have zero tolerance for those actions whether it was play or not play.  These boys are now separated in the classroom.

Getting back to educating our teachers.  Yeah, does that sound like an oxi-moron?  It does to me.  These school districts do not want to pay for the continuing education and training for the teachers in their schools. Our principal is suggesting or urging our teachers to get training in autism.  It may not seem like it, but it’s a pretty BIG damn step!  At the very least, he is acknowledging the need, but sadly not ready to have the district pay for it.  Hopefully, they will have more of these workshops included when teachers have to go for their “inservices”.  It’s a day when the district’s kids have the day off, but teachers must go to these, I want to say, conventions and take workshops.

Plain and simple.  I do not want my kid bullied.  My rant of yesterday stems from that; but as a mother of one, I feel for all children, not just my own.  Forget about No Child Left Behind.  NO CHILD SHOULD EXPERIENCE THE PAIN OF BEING BULLIED, period.  My heart is bursting.

Introductions, Please.


Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!

His Name is TONY, Dad~!


First and foremost, this is amazing to me, and that I caught on to it.  This morning we were free to head on over to our diner for breakfast.  I say “our” diner because this is the one that DH has the school discount for.  He always goes there to, 1:  Support a local business, and 2: the school discount gets him 15-20% off the bill…. also, it’s very close to us and that’s a plus.

So we were there today, waiting for our breakfast and I sort of hear, on the peripheral, a conversation happening between the hostess and a man.  I don’t see them, but she calls him ‘Tony’ and all of a sudden Gabe pipes up (he must have been listening, too) and blurts out, “His name is Tony, Dad!”  He was so excited.  I still don’t really know who the guy is and just let it go and never turned around.  I mean, give those people their privacy, right?

So then later on the manager comes over and he says hello.  He always says hello.  Then Gabe says, “Hi, TONY, how are you?”…. and blah blah’s of other stuff he talks about, but then it just clicked that my little guy, who’s been talking to this manager like forever, but I guess without knowing his name, picks up on his name, then immediately uses it in a greeting.  How cool is that!  Now, this might seem trivial to most of you, or all of you; but it’s a pretty BIG damned thing for me. First, I feel so blessed to be able to actually see this in action and then put two and two together, myself.  Usually my boys are out together, but without me to  save some money here and there, but big guy wanted us all to eat out this morning.  Second, part of Gabe’s disability is that his social skills are/were practically non-existent.  I can’t wait to tell the supervisor of the social skills group… I think it’s working!  It’s so wonderful to see this progress in action and taking hold. This coming week is the last week, but then it starts up again when the summer semester at the school starts.  Gabe is also starting to hold the doors open for me and even gesturing with his hands and saying, “come right this way”…. LOL.

Oh, another biggie thing happened at breakfast.  Gabe made an actual egg sandwich all by himself…. what?  Up until now, he always refused a sandwich and has not had eggs in a very long time, since being a toddler.  Out of the blue, he orders an egg, then proceeds to make a sandwich with the toast that was served.  I suspect that he saw me modeling that behavior because I always get scrambled eggs and rye toast, then make a sandwich out of it, which I also did today.

Okay… I just wanted to write that down.   Every year he is making progress and it’s pretty exciting.

Oh hell, am I too “mothery” and not realizing that he’s growing up and can do a lot more than I thought?  I’ve been told that I baby my little guy and I try to keep that in mind, but there are still a lot of things I won’t let him do by himself.  I have no other children to know what is supposed to come next, and then I see all these new things… Just wondering.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far


Don’t be afraid.  This is just me from this past Halloween and I totally enjoyed making myself up for the day.  Now, it sort of fits my feelings.  This post will be written as a specific comment for Jess’ post on “Diary of a Mom” blog in which she chronicals her family’s experiences, specifically with autism.  I am responding to her post entitled, “I See Myself”, without taking up too much space in her comments, which is kinda inevitable at this point as my middle name is “Tangent” and at least here, I can go as far away as I want… hee hee.  I almost did not read it because I’ve been rushing through my delayed morning routine which is to go through my morning emails and community sites I frequent before getting into much needed knitting this week.  I read this post and saw myself and had to stop myself to breath.  I am forever seeing myself, as she has.  I’ve seen myself even before my son was diagnosed, but never knew it to be Autism.  I mean, I see myself as being fine.  Different, but fine.  I grew up in the sixties and if I were diagnosed back then, it might have been for retardation, not autism and my life would most certainly be very different…. I don’t like to think about that.  As a matter of fact, I don’t like to think about anything.  As far back as I can remember, I could just sit there for hours, just staring off into space without a single thought.  I still have these times, but not as much because, I suspect, solely because I have a computer with internet.  Games? NO… My vice is just surfing from one site to the next without much thought or concentration.  I LOVE information, and that is what I get though I rarely take the time to read each thing through… really.   Wow, sort of the same thing except it’s external.

Jess, I know what you’re going through.  The difference is that I’ve lived my whole life painfully knowing that I was strange, weird; and it was unexplained.  I yearned to be normal, accepted as normal, make friends and be comfortable with them.  I was acutely aware that I should look people in the eye, yet never could seem to get my eyes to accept my will.  People judged me as being stuck up.  Stuck up?  I wondered how anyone could think that when I lived without the “things” in my life that I thought were instrumental for that assessment in other people, people I judged…. and it went on and on.

Eventually, I learned to compensate, but I was always criticized, chided by family for not seeking out peers, for being a wallflower, for never “making an appearance” when we had company in the house.  I’d spend summers holed up in the basement, pursuing my interests, instead of being outside with the other kids on our block.  I had a miserable school experience (I always have to add that in), but then later on, when I started working, I realized that I would meet people that didn’t know me and I could be whoever I wanted to be.  I did that, but I soon realized that I’d have to spend time with friends if I wanted to HAVE friends… lol.  How was I going to do that if I could not even hold a conversation without stuttering, without running?  To this day I absolutely love to entertain gatherings, I find that I have a LOT of things to do in the kitchen, away from the people.  It’s my refuge in some ways.  I’m comforted by doing, preparing food and serving.  This past Christmas, I was almost bodily forced to sit down with my own family.

I can remember one New Year’s Eve party.  I was with a bunch of people, most of whom I did know.  This was in the late nineties.  I can remember not wanting to be the center of attention, I was cringing, I was frantically looking around, I was on the verge of what I can only assume was a melt down.  I was shaking with pins and needles exploding into my skin.  The irony of this is that I definitely was NOT the center of attention.  As a matter of fact, I was not being noticed at all, a fly on the wall, sitting at a table, all alone.  Yet, I burst from the room, into a bathroom stall–pretending.  I was in my mid thirties and it was this night that, after 5 minutes or so, after the clock struck midnight, I first forced myself out of there to intentionally mingle.  I tried to look normal, but felt far from it.  I left soon after, but still, this was a good idea, I thought.  I could accept and allow myself that social break when I needed it, but after 5 minutes I’d come back to people.

My own flashbacks include my dear hubby from the time our son was born, routinely would almost force me out of the house at least once a week to get out and take time off away from being a mom.  He never wakes me up to get our son ready for school.  Does he know something even from way back then that I am totally oblivious to?  Believe me, he has his own demons, yet he either strives to make life easier for me OR he is merely sticking to his own routine which is so deeply embedded inside him.  I like to actively believe the former.  Jess, to this day I’ve never made it to the doctor’s office to discuss this possibility and probably won’t for a good long time.  Heck, before my son got diagnosed, I thought I would be judged as a hypochondriac.  Jess, that took a lot of guts and I’m inspired.

Last year I read “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” by John Elder Robison (little did I know that, at will, I would remember and spell his name correctly)  I linked to the author’s blog.  I don’t like it that Amazon has a monopoly on book links.  I’d rather give the reader a little more than just the obvious.   I gained a lot of insight into my son and myself from this book; and hopefully, it’s the template for future insights into myself.

Not sure if I should continue so I’ll stop dead in my tracks.  It’s been my experience that I will repeat myself over and over, word for word because I wasn’t sure if I had anything more to say, but just felt that I should keep talking… and well, got nowhere for that effort.  Oh maybe I got somewhere.  I zeroed in to the Weird Zone.

 

edited to add:

Okay, of course immediately after posting, I decided that I’m not finished talking.  There IS more I’d like to say. More about how I’ve adapted and more about the positives.  Maybe these ideas belong in separate posts, so this is a good thing……

%d bloggers like this: