Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making the bed

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You have made your bed, now lie in it"

Sometimes I think my son does that....he makes a mess then expects other people to clean up after him. Today things were different. He is looking for a specific book. Heaven knows where this book is....it is probably in our attic. Anyway, we can't find it and because it isn't easly located the OCD starts in and the pentantic nagging begins. It is designed to wear us down and make us do whatever he wants.

It doesn't work very well.

Like I have said before, nagging me to do something means I am not doing it. No matter what, Don't waste your breath, or your time. I won't do something when I have been nagged. The boy hasn't quite caught onto that yet. He still thinks I am maleable and able to do whatever he wants when he asks.....kind of like badgering me into getting him a video game he isn;t allowed to play. It makes no sense. He knows I am not some kind of push over but he still trys to get me to do whatever to see if I will.

Lots of times Austim makes no sense, except to the person with it. It hit home today that when something is important to the person with Aspergers it is REALLY important. But if something isn't then it is automatically forgotten. A homework assignment my son had was for comparing versions of Cryano via the play, and 2 movie versons. He kept insisting he didn't remember the movies or even the play. Finally when I told him he wouldn't be leaving the office until at least a format was written and I left the room. He spent more time yelling about how he couldnt' be expected to remember something he saw a month ago....but then comes back with a word for word version of a commercial he saw. As some would say, "Bollocks!" In the end he wrote the paper, there were minor changes and he printed it off and we went onto the next assignment. It would make our lives easier if he would actually be able to hand in the assignements when he has them done. Most teachers say that something is due and then when most of the class isn't done they extend the assignement. Nuts. But really what it comes down to is the boy needs to put up shut up and get the work done.

As for tonight...it is time to make the bed. Maybe the boy will learn that making the bed and laying in it are all in the way life is dealt with.
I am not good or patient with life very often. I don't have the resources to be patient...I know gift from God and all that. BUT (and here on a good day I would say "but me no buts") the fact that I always say that God doesn't give us more than we can handle still makes me question why God picked me in the first place. There is an allegory I heard a while back about how having a child with a disability is kind of like planing a tour of a foreign city. I certainly didn't ask for this trip to Holland. I wanted to go to France. Yet I am in Holland, and it is lovely here but very lonely because I don't always speak the same language and we don't have many friends.There are days that it gets lonely for the 3 of us. then there are other days when the tulips are in bloom, the windmills are running and the grass is green. We move around quickly and are able to go further than ever before. Then there are other days where we can't move about at all. The "wanter" gets stuck and the "gimmes" come to fore....those days are long.

It really is time to make the bed.





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ordering Scones

This week we have a reason to order scones. We, or more aptly, I am gonna watch the royal wedding. For fun, and have my scones, tea/coffee or whatever and just kick back and enjoy the show.

My son thinks I am nuts, and I am certain my cuter half does too. Yet they are encouraging me to get up, watch the wedding and then go onto work and enjoy the day. It is funny to me that they would encourage me to do so. Maybe it is just memories: I was sleeping on the floor of my brother's apartment when the last English royal wedding happened....woke up early, turned on the tv and watched the whole thing. My aunt and I were talking about it.....did you see this, did you see that? Great fun.

Now I don't have my auntie to talk about it, but she would have enjoyed it as much as I will.

Unfortunately, reality bites.

It intrudes and then we have to grow up and do things we don;t like to do. tonight's coming down on teachers and staff is not one of my favorite things (I know you are surprised).

At our son's recent IEPs (the last couple); we had asked about having a specific service requested for him- mistakenly we were under the distinct impression that it was rectified. We thought that it was implemented. Guess not. so, being the subtle person that I am I once again blew off the handle and asked WHY this was not done and when it would be fixed. Why is this so hard? These teachers and staff make more than $100,000.00+ a year (check the Daily Herald) and they are telling us that a five minute service impossible????
OK then it is now impossible for me to pay my taxes and my bills, where does that get me??? I can't do my job today because I have cramps? Please.

Right now I am so frustrated.
G__ Bless it where is the wine and the cheese with caviar please?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Working on trying new things

FRANKNESS WARNING- there will be some terms and discussion in today's posting that might be offensive to more DELICATE READERS. DO NOT MAKE comments that could be viewed as offensive, mean spirited or UNKIND. This blog is about living with a Teen BOY on the Autism spectrum and we are talking about EVERYTHING just like we do here in our home.
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Planned spontenaity.

That is our new thing, we are planning out being spontaneous. We aren't much good at it but the horizons are broadening.

this week we have had to discuss many things with the boy from being unintentionally distructive to m_______________.....we have hit all the topics and anything in between and it has been what we call a "cultural experience" None of these topics were planned.

What I had planned was watching the royal wedding, having tea and eating scones for b-fast on Thursday around 3 AM....what I had planned was helping my Mom and being a good daughter. So much for what I had planned. Thus far none of tht has worked out.

What did work out was a teaching lesson in not backing down to the king of temper tantrums.....He asked for more of a punishment and he got it...then had a fit because he believed he was exonerated from being in trouble (??)becuase what was thought to be broken was covered by an insurance policy we bought for the item in question. What he ended up doing was getting himself in SO DEEP that he is now w/out television priveledges for 6 weeks and book rights are out for 1 1/2 weeks......
Next it came out what was going on in places that I don't need to know about but had to discuss anyway. I don't want to know WHAT your thoughts are on m_____________. I don't want to talk about it...the boy started the discussion and I had to refer to the cuter half. Number 1 I am not a guy and Number 2 I don't have the body parts required to discuss this with the boy. So the cuter half took this topic over and I am not sure what was discussed but I do know that I still don't want to know.

We had the sex talk with the boy a while ago....several years to be exact. We had signed him up for a program at the middle school. It was a waste of time...he was more messed up that before so we had to buy a book and do this ourselves and explain things. He was more embarrased that we were. We are going back to his psych and asking him to talk to the boy too, as well as us talking to the boy and counselors at school....good night maybe something will sink in.

We still are not certain that he gets it (the sex talk or the other). In fact we are pretty sure he doesn't and is really using this as an excuse to not get in trouble.....How that would fit I don't know....he is grasping at straws most of the time and maybe this will work maybe not....

I have yet to find a chapter on this in any of the autism books I have on hand...I am almost as good as a library and there isn't a whole lot out there on this subject and how to discuss it with the boy.

IT is stuff like this that gets me in the dumps. I just don't know what to think or do. Is he normal? Is it the Aspergers? How do we talk to him and make him understand? What do we do next?

When in doubt, psych it out......

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When to get a cell phone

When to get your Aspie kid a cell phone.....

I was thinking about this today. Our son has had a number of cell phones. His first one he had from 2nd grade all the way thru 6th. Then he went thru several- 2 were washing machine issues (I have a fear of meeting up with bugs and ick when emptying his pockets so I rarely ever have and it was me) the other was an age problem and over all poor phone system. This most recent is a  "go phone".
"Go phone" is a cheapo way to get a phone when you don't want to go into an expensive cell plan and are trying to make it work until the contract wears out.

Our son tells us he would like a Blackberry. Although it sounds like an interesting idea there is a thought that getting a teenager a Blackberry is kind of like getting a dinosaur an Ipod.....what for and what is the point?

Teaching responsibilty with electronics is a learned process. I think it is an important thing to do with kids who have an overall tendency to be couch potatoes. Having to do work around the house or understand that being responsible means cleaning up your room and putting your clothes away. It is all an learned process. Now I don't want you thinking we are perfect at this....we aren't. There are many evenings where we struggle to get homework done. Or we argue about why the boy picked Around the World in 80 Days over Call of the wild for a reading assignment when we told him to read Call of the wild. A basic example of how the boy refuses to listen to us and then discovers that OMG the old geezers might have been right after all. What a shocker.

Being responsible for his phone is huge. He was allowed to have a phone at a school where electronics of ANY sort were not allowed. At a young age (6) he was using his phone appropriately and NOT allowed to hand out his number to everyone under the sun. It was a number of years before he even knew what his number was, if he still knows I am not certain. The thing is though, he LEARNED not to download a bunch of games, features and stuff to plug up the systems on his phone that he needed to have. He is texting rather than calling (texting is not as disruptive) after school and prior to working out.

Really if you think about it, encouraging your Aspie to text requires them to think in a few words what they need to tell you. Our son tells us if he is at school, doing homework, going to practice; or whatever we need to know in 3 words or less. BONUS! No long drawn out explanations and better yet a quick easy way to communicate with out trying tocome up with the appropriate phrases. Texting may be a bit slower in the response time, but in the overall thinking it out process it is MUCH MUCH better.

Even now, the boy does the 3 word thing and it is very effective. I know exactly what is going on, when, and how it needs to be set up for everyone to feel OK about the situation at hand.

This is not a perfect alternative to communicating with the kids, but if you need a quick and dirty resource to getting ahold of a kid who is prone to be loquacious....well to us it is a positive thing to keep things going appropriately within the family scheme.

Deciding when to give your kidling a phone is a big decision to make. Deciding WHEN they are old enough to be responsible is up to them. Making it happen is up to the parents. TEACHING it is another parent thing. Not the school, not the case managers, not the psych's the PARENTS need to teach this part of being responsible. IT is not up to the kids to know that leaving their expensive electronics or even basic daily supplies about is a cause for problems or concerns....trust me, Our son has done that  too, lost his expensive calculator AND lost a day planner that he really needed to have to keep track of assignments.

After loosing rights and privledges; he is learning to keep track of his stuff......although the other day he mislaid his house key. Too bad he didn't check his backpack. He would have been inside and warm instead of parked on the stoop and mad at me because he thought he didn't have his key....allright so we didn't think of everything- give us a break we will get there soon!

Keeping Busy

Yesterday I was told that the boy was bored. He had to do some things on his own and he found it increasingly difficult to do so.
"I'm bored when you two aren't with me."

My reaction was, "You need to learn to be bored. It is a normal reaction."

I wanted to say, "How Sweet." but it really isn't sweet. the boy has to learn to be BORED. Mind-numbingly bored and NOT REACT, whine or complain about it.
It is a tough thing to learn....to motivate oneself to react positively (or at work to do more) to not be bored. He has to learn this trait and in this world of INSTANT gratification being bored is a bonus.

On this wonderous holiday weekend we need to teach the kids to BE BORED and not run to the TV or cartoons or anything. Just be.

I wonder if we are going to be able to do that too, or if it will have to wait a year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

There are 2 kinds of math

I am stepping out into unchartered territory.

First off, I stink at math. Really stink, like so bad that I used to write my son's teachers notes:  "I had helped with the math homework and it was automatically wrong and to please help him make the corrections because I don't know how to" bad.

Tonight was among the first really using the expensive calculator required for school. This thing is almost as smart as our car and not quite as smart as our computer. Our kitty Garfy is pretty smart too, he can turn the printer on and off with a step of a paw.....that kind of inatimate object smart that makes parents cringe and kids smack their hands together so that they can learn a new gizmo to scare the old people half to death.

Thankfully, my cuter half is much better at math than I am. Being married to him makes me look smarter than I really am. Anyway, tonight was a night that he calls "teaching calculator" not teaching math. Put it this way, the cute one is so annoyed he wants ME to contact the math teacher and let her know that she needs to teach math and not calculator....what in the world am I gonna say???? I like this teacher, she is super nice and really smart....and here's good ole Mom who could barely pass a math class to save her life. This ought to be good.

I will say this for last years teacher HE TAUGHT MATH. He might not have been good at some things but HE DID teach math and got our son caught up to almost grade level. Which from what we can tell has dropped dramatically this year....as we were wasting the year learning calculator......thus the cuter half's frustration with the Special Ed system.

Teaching the traditional methods (sans calculator) may be the best way to go....how do you know what to plug into the blasted expensive calculator when you don't know what to do in the first place??? At least with the old way you learned the formulas and other stuff and how it all worked (at least the other people did, I think I was hiding in a band practice room pretending I knew what I was doing)..

Anyway, today's lesson kids: TEACH MATH NOT CALCULATOR!! - from the cuter half. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

SHHHH It's a secret.....

DO WA DO.......

Keeping secrets is fun, sometimes.
Being transparent is dangerous all the time.

Balancing both....difficult at best and noxious at worst.

We are finding that secrets make things very stressful for our son. He doesn't do well without full disclosure and he needs details in order to feel remotely comfortable. These details can be small things, like working out who sits where, who is coming and what is going on....minutiae to most people but vitally important for those who need some kind of mental plan in their heads before going to even a "basic family party".

Lately we were planning a, no strike that, others were planning, oops I mean are planning a, well party is a stretch, so lets say get-to-gether. We have little or no information. Several others are asking us questions about the details and since we were....um... removed from the planning committee we have no information. Well, not NO information. I have a few details but sketchy at best....and most likely inaccurate by now. This is not a group that does teamwork very well.....Ok they don't do it at all.

The funny thing is, trying to explain all this to the boy is kind of like explaining what the pastor meant today when he said "You get what you get. It might not be what you want, but it is what it is." In the meantime we are left explaining (poorly) why we don 't know the details of this get-to-gether and what is going on (ask the others don't ask us we are clueless). Oh and it is a BIG secret. For years I hated secrets, largely because I was battling them every other weekend and the boy was messed up because he was dealing with some scary ones regularly.....it was too much. So now, tolerance for secrets is even less. What we are going tell everyone and broadcast it??? whatever, you have issues.

My cuter half has a funny story, last year I wrote about entitlement and in the story a woman had issues with people who had invited themselves for roast beast and ham hog over the holidays. The new story goes like this:
"Hi we are coming to your house. You will have the angel choir and the sounds of reindeer hooves on your roof for us if it is Christmas. WE only sleep in 1000% Egyptian Cotton sheets and please hire a maid to clean your house because your home won't be spotless enough for us to come and visit you. Oh and could you have the utensils ready and the serving dishes out there for our use? Oh by the way you do have a COSTCO card don't you? You have to have one to bring food to your house that none of you will eat and most of it will end up in the garbage (because that is what it is). We know you only eat food that is real (veggies, nothing fried) but we are coming and this is better. But that is OK right and you don't mind right? Make sure that you have everything ready for us to come and trash your kitchen and house; although we didn't ask we know you wont mind because it is us and the world stops for us whenever we come around. Don't forget now that we require absolute control and we won't be able to tell you a thing because it is us and we have to do it this way...."

Think Peppermint Patty and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and you about have it down only go faster and and really extravegant ideas and then you are there!!



I know that is totally extreme but do you see how this appears to a kid with social problems ....BTW we got this from him and are now trying to get him over this viewpoint. It isn't easy. We have been having regular psych appointments to explain things to him....he still doesn't get it. In fact, he is thinking this is how you handle going to other peoples homes and we are trying to get him out of that line of thinking pretty quickly. His thought is "Well if that is how family is then everyone is like that" It isn't necessarily so and it is hard to get him to understand what is going on and why.

SO therefore, in this house we go the full disclosure route although some would say "You can't handle the truth."

What does this mean for the house with the every loving Aspie boy teen? Well it means that we do things straight up around here. Trying to control us with half truths and secrets is only going to make us mad, frustrated and annoyed (the cuter half and I don't really care, it is the boy that has that problem)....then we will decide to avoid you like the proverbial plague. Then do whatever we are going to do and go from there..... which is usually more fun and much better than the way Peppermint Patty planned it in the first place.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pomogrante wine and other details

There really is nothing about wine in this post.
I just liked the title.
we had some pomogrante wine with dinner...it was nothing great. I think my cuz's place could do much better than this stuff.
I learned something this week. A friend of the boy did an experiment. I think it is cool. She was participating in a psych fair and the boy came to help with her project.
This is neat.
Did you know that people with Aspergers don't yawn when other people do. They don't. The group did this with the boy a bout 3 or more times and he didn't yawn once. The theory is that many people on the spectrum don't have the concept of the sympathy yawn or something like that.
Our next thought was, "Well, that is really interesting. So if we were dead and lying on the side of the road would the boy go, "Oh thank goodness, now I can go play video games?" I know that is dreadful but there are times as a parent when you begin to wonder...
Seriously though, try the yawn thing; I know it sounds nuts but check it out and see if your peep's yawn when you do.....and if they don't....well then that is one way you know for certain the diagnosis is probably on target.
The boy is consistent. He doesn't yawn when we do. Since she mentioned that to me I have been watching and it is really on target.....the things you learn over flatbread pizza in your family room. Amazing.

Another thing: teaching sublty is hard work. Especialy when I am about as subtle as a 2 sided sledge hammer with a corded belt. We are working on it with the boy, and the results are unusual. We have a LONG way to go on this one.
Tonight it was kind of weird, we were watching the third Narina movie. near the end (spoiler alert)
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*****
the mouse decides to go onto Aslan's land. The cuter half and I were crying for the last 20 minutes of the movie....we are so sappy. Anyway the boy, he was apologizing to me because he couldn't cry. He patted his daddy on the chest and kissed me on the head and went to get ready for bed. He asked me why he couldn't get emotional and I informed him that some of it was because he was a teenager and the rest was because of his Aspergers. He kept telling me he felt guilty about it and I told him not to bother....compassion is taught at home. If you can't have empathy, at least compassion is a good place to start, right?
How did I figure that out? ....well it goes back to his friend's psych experiement.....she taught me that if my son doesn't naturally have empathy, at least we can try to teach him compassion. They are different species really; and to learn compassion is something that is taught.....not just a natural compunction of whatever.

Now if we could teach compassion to the kitties, maybe they would stop jumping on the bed at night....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Making decisions

Lately we have been making decisions.
The boy makes them too. The other evening he decided to make a decsion to cut track practice. He went missing for about 3 hours. Normally after a brain fart like this one; we start giving him monikers, "the boy genius" or some such thing. The boy genius decided that he didn't have to go to track. The boy genius decided he didn't have to go to his doc app't either.
The boy genius got totally busted.
Wide open...his coach nailed his butt...Oh and yes the gentleman had/has my full support. Good on him...and if the boy genius does it again, I hope he lets me know so I can encourage him to nail the boy genius' butt again.
So what did my brainy offspring do? This is one of my fav things. He was allowed to download a game on his school ipad as a reward. The boy proceeded to play this game for 3 HOURS in the boy's locker room and made up an excuse so he wouldn't get busted. My son's ability to fake or make up a story is so pathetic (he isn't pathetic, but the fib/story would have so many holes you could call it swiss cheese); that he has given up fibbing and story telling because it isn't worth the trouble for him. He tried a sad excuse this time. No fibbing (pun), and well, lets just say that Mom was too much for him.....he was grounded before his butt got in the car and we made it to the last half of the doc appointment.

The thing is, OK more than one thing, I noticed that sometimes people, OK teachers get really funny/weird when I back them up rather than my kid. My kid was wrong, blew it, and made a monster mistake. The coach was totally on top of it, the counselors, the same. And my attitude was, YUP he did it and he deserves to be punished. Frankly my thought on the matter was to have him do the crab walk 2x up and down the football field, a 5 mi run and then a round of weights.....when he was done with that he was supposed to tell the coach, "Thank you sir. I'm done sir, may I have some more?" and go for round two. I guess that was too hard on the boy, but I thought he deserved it. Not sure what coach said, but I did tell him he could say whatever he wanted to and I wouldn't complain a bit.....I think I heard something about entrails, but whatever, the boy deserved it.

Now you are asking me WHAT does this have to do with making decisions?
Well, it has a lot to do with that part.
We are the choices we make and that is how people tell different religions, cat people from dog people, snake people from iguana people.....and other stuff like that. (We are cat and dog people; but we just have cats right now).

Using wisdom to help make good choices is a good thing....Proverbs is a good place to start. I am thinking there are a good number of chapers in Proverbs that might help the boy with making some wise choices. I wonder how many people refer back to Proverbs before making a decision? I think my nicer half and I should try it and have done it recently.....but I wonder if we do it as parents would we be wiser in the long run or just seen as stuffy officious know-it-alls?

I like the idea and I think we will try it and have the boy try it as well. Although the "boy genius" moniker is one I have a liking for I don't think he would appreciate it much if it became a regular thing. That and I need to find a new one now, this one is getting stale after a day or so.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bullies

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big, some are little. Some are animals, and some are grownups.

Dealing with bullies is learned at a young age for most of us. I had my experience in grade school. Let's just say it made my ENTIRE school experience pretty icky and I couldn't wait to get out of HS so I could go out and have a life. Sometimes it doesn't work that way. I think I got lucky....

Bullies in elementary schools are given lots of chances. At our recent experience in the grades, it was told to us that records of special needs kids bullying each other was not kept. It was not relevant and expectations of our kids was not the same as the gen population.

DID YOU HEAR THAT?

So if one special needs kid went after another special needs kid it wasn't worth reporting?
What if someone went after a gen? A gen vs a gen is reported, a gen vs special needs is reported....what is up with that system? Really it comes down to expectations. We came into the gen district with HIGH expectations. They were crudely dashed after we got our son  into HS. He is now working his way thru a lot of things and has learned gobs.

the fear of bullies still gets him though. Even seeing this one kid in the hall can set off problems or panics. Although we are certain the HS is on it...nothing has been reported to us by him recently...the recent spate of stories about bullies and famous people being bullied as a child is quite something. Kate Middleton, Kate Winslet, Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and MORE.

So for the average Joe what does this mean? Bullying is teasing and more....and although we work with our son to NOT be a bully and to be almost disgustingly polite. It is still there. The fear that he might try to bully someone because of what he has been through.

I still worry though.