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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Monkey on His Back

In light of comments and disapproving looks from people while we are in public places, I have decided to write a little note about the purpose of the Child Harness. Or, at least, it’s our purpose anyway.  I am guessing that if we are dealing with this issue odds are there are other folks out there as well. 
I am frequently blogging about the various irritations of other parents and/or those who don't even have kids giving their opinions on what we should or shouldn’t be doing with our kids.  Number one, it’s rude to give unsolicited advice. Period.  I don’t comment when I see Other Kid slurping up Trix Flavored Gogurt, loaded with red dye and sugar; it would be rude for me to just walk up to Other Parent and say “I can’t believe you are letting your kid eat that!  Don’t you know what’s in it?".  So I have no idea why I get stares, the shaking heads and my personal favorite the “that’s just cruel” comments when Buddy is proudly sporting his Monkey-Backpack-Complete-With-Tail harness. 
Ahhhh ignorance, the bane of my existence.  If they only knew that dangers of wandering in autistic children.  If they only knew that Buddy has extremely poor spacial awareness thanks to SPD and his off-kilter vestibular system and that “cruel leash” keeps him from running head first into the glass window of a zoo exhibit.  If they only knew that the monkey is weighted and provides the sensory input he needs to function better. If they only would research how important it is for children in their early years to have that need for autonomy met and the fact that the harness lets them walk freely without the struggle of holding hands. 
I will say what is cruel; it’s the nasty stares that Buddy gets when he is wearing his monkey harness. He loves it and frequently asks to wear it at home.  Some people smile and think it’s cute, so he proudly stomps his feet and grins.  It makes me wonder, if he notices the positive reaction is he noticing the negative? Is he wondering why that mean lady is scowling at him?  There are times that I just want to stay home to avoid all the negativity that is out there.  I just wish people would ask questions before they make assumptions.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Children's Museum, Seattle

The Children's Museum, Seattle

Check it out!  Early opening first Saturday of each month for ASD families!  Details on the website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Woe is me?

Do you ever have one of those days where you wonder if the endless hours of therapy and practicing appropriate social behavior will ever actually pay off? 
I have listened to other parents confide that they just want to give up sometimes.  Today is my turn.  While standing in the middle of our living room floor after an hour of ABA, attempting to ward off a body dive-bomb attack from Buddy while listening to the therapist as best I can I began to think to myself ‘is this really helping?’.  I mean, our little guy gets ten times more worked up during therapy and then it takes three hours of deep pressure and sensory melt down to get over it.  This means four out of seven days per week is guaranteed to be sheer H E Double Hockey Sticks.  I thought we were making progress (sort of).  After all, we had a new strategy for flash attacks via flying objects and tiny fists.  But, victory is always far too short lived it seems. Well, it seems like it today.
 Today I was told that although our little darling appears to be making progress, it seems as though much of his emotions and actions are mimicked ----pause for kick in the gut----that maybe all those loves, tears and angry episodes are not a result of empathy or actual feelings but simply something he has learned, like the word awesome.  This would explain why he can hit me in the head with a toy and then jump up and down while screaming AWESOME.You see, there are other instances that lead to this theory”, the therapist explained, “for instance, his ability to turn off emotions like a switch or his ability to talk and eat, which comes and seemingly disappears at random”.  ‘Uh, so what’s your point?’ I am thinking hooray for the tiniest of victories, right?  No sooner had she popped my giant red balloon with a big sharp stick, time was up and we are going to discuss it in two days when we have our next session.  Now I am upset and feeling quite like I am the only parent in the world who has to deal with this (sniff). 
So as I sit here, woefully sipping my tea, I begin to feel guilty because it could be so much worse. I begin to realize something; that even though it seems like we go two steps forward and one step back, it’s still a bit of progress; and I will take it.  Sometimes life in acronym-land is disappointing and it can be easy not to see things on the bright side.  However, I have realized that it just makes the bright side that much brighter and it really isn’t all that bad.