Sunday, June 28, 2009

On his way

FLIGHT: 2401 STATUS: In Flight

Departs: Minneapolis/St. Paul-Int'l, MN (MSP) Arrives: Toronto-Pearson Int'l, ON, Canada ( YYZ )
Departure Date: June 28 Arrival Date: June 28
Scheduled: 10:15AM Scheduled: 1:21PM
Actual: 10:14AM Estimated: 1:10PM
Gate: C27 Gate: B14
Aircraft: CPJ Weather: YYZ

There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen. Diver is on his way for his third summer at Camp Kodiak.

What a difference from Year 1, when he was at DefCon 1 all the way to the airport, at the airport, boarding the plane; and this with me by his side all the way to Toronto.

I learned my lesson last year and kept myself together better, as did Diver, who maintained his composure through gritted teeth and serial Bubblicious chewing.

And this year; laughing, joking, "This is kind of boring" stating.

How far he's come. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is there an app for that?

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Two men hold th...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

My 13-year-old fact-quoting Asperger's egghead has found an app called Cool Facts.
Which is just that: an unending collecting of cool facts.
Its the last things he needs. He is already a storehouse of arcane trivia, a Jeopardy champ in the making.
With the iPod Touch in his hand, he never shuts up.
What he needs - what all kids with Asperger's need - is as an app to guide them through reciprocal conversation.
Is there an app for that?
There's certainly a market.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Faith and the Auti-Mom

v2.323 and 17/366: January 17th (Gotta Have Fa...Image by Phoney Nickle via Flickr

As he boarded the bus for week 2 of his YMCA L.I.T. (Leader in training) program, Diver noticed that someone was sitting in *his* seat.

I paused. Then high-tailed it out of there.

It is the first of many challenges he'll face today.
My challenge is a) to prepare him; and b) to trust. I will not always be there to advocate for him; to say, "Diver has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and needs; a) routine b) order c) space d) quiet e) chill time f) whatever. "

I must trust that he can advocate for himself. That he has the skills to meet his challenges. That even when he stumbles, he will be all right. He will learn.

That's what will make him a successful, independent human being. Not me.

All of this requires faith on my part and I am trying to exercise it. Having tried the way of faith and the way of no faith, I know that the way of faith works better. I do not have the faith of my sister auti-mom who blogs at Autism in a Word .

But I admire it. And my faith can only help Diver. So I am going to keep exercising it.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It takes a village

Badge of Defcon 13Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes an army.

He's not at Def Con 1, but Diver's anxiety is high. Watching him grapple with the beast is inspiring, tiring, and funny.

Last night it was the Blizzard from Dairy Queen; followed by a long Xbox sortie; processing; yes and no questions; and, a flat out rejection of all suggested anxiety-busters. This morning, when asked what would help with the anxiety, Diver muttered, "A blizzard. An actual blizzard so there'd be no camp."

And yet with the help of two parents, a different water bottle-that-did-not-sweat, an early departure for the bus stop, a parental backtrack for juice and muffin, a ban on jokes, and a code of silence, he got on the bus (first, of course), sat down in his seat (front, of course), and went to Day 2 of his Leader-in-Training program.

All hail the king of coping!

He has more to cope with than I thought.  Here's the email I just sent to the camp director:
Diver and I have been sitting here processing the first couple of days and doing some problem solving about things that are rough for him.  
He reported that on Monday he got hit in the face  and while he was upset, he thought it was accidental.
Today he told me the he was kicked by the same camper, someone named George.  Diver believes it was intentional. He says that that third boy in the L.I.T program has been harassing him about his stuttering.  That has to stop.  He reports that the hardest part of the day is at the end when everyone awaits the buses in the amphitheater.  He says that the combination of the noise and the crowd and the heat at that time of day overload him and make it unbearable.  He asked if he might wait in the office instead.  I hope so.  That seems a reasonable accommodation. 

Diver says that is all he can think of.  I will keep you posted if anything else arises.  

The Y has been a great resource for Diver and we are grateful.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Long live the king

As I waited for Diver to return from his first day as a Leader-in-Training (L.I.T.) at YMCA Day Camp, I calmly prepared for the worst scenario: Snarling teen gets off bus, stomps to car, muttering, "I'm never going back"   

That had been Diver's standard response to new experiences.  
I resolved to be different; to prepare, remain calm and unflustered.

The bus pulled up.  Diver climbed off, handed me his heavy backpack, and announced, "Dairy Queen or Burger King." 

"Hungry?"  I asked.   
"No. I got hit in the face. " 

As the evening went on, details of the day filtered out.  Noticeably absent was the "I'm never going back" declaration.  Right before bed, Diver announced, "I have emotions."

I sat with him and we talked through his day, processing the experience and identifying the feelings.  The "hit on the face" was someone trip during a game of tag.  And it was fine.  He was fine.  And insists I come to Family Night Thursday.  

Monday, June 8, 2009

Approach with caution

InterregnumImage via Wikipedia

The interregnum approaches. The gap, the break, the uncomfortable period between one activity and the next.

(Originally: the period between two kings.)

"Be nice to me. It's the last day of school," a nervous Diver announced this morning.

The last day of 7th grade. The first year in a new school. The first good year since 3rd grade. He is a changed boy, grown from an unstable, wildebeast to a mature, even-tempered, sometimes delightful teenager.

His beloved Camp Kodiak does not begin for 2 and a half weeks. Like all kids on the autism spectrum, Diver likes routine and this is a break.

So I am nervous. Not terrified. We are punting for the rest of this week, and then Diver spends two weeks as an L.I.T (a leader in training) at YMCA day camp. Fingers crossed.

So be nice to me. Its the last day of school.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

mama on the edge of autism: Turning it around, part 1: Autism and mood regulation

mama on the edge of autism: Turning it around, part 1: Autism and mood regulation

This is what it used to be like here, as well. 


The Atomic Super BoyImage by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Diver just cleared his throat.

It's a nasty, fleghummmy snort. He used to make it umpteen times a day, grossing out one and all.
"I have to clear my snot!" he'd insist.

Was it a tic? An inability to blow his nose? One thing for sure: it was gross.

When I heard it this morning, I realized it had disappeared. Hadn't heard it for weeks. Wow.

Which put yesterday's events into a clearer light. Diver's pants split at school and he spent the day in a funk. He announced he was not going to Civil Air Patrol Cadets, and proceeded to shoot Xbox bad guys.

At dinner, he asked, "Are you mad at me? Why am I asking this?!?"
He was reading my non-verbal signals.

Shortly thereafter, he said, "Where's my B.D.U.*? We're going."

He had gotten himself unstuck.

Major accomplishments. Super powers for someone with an ASD.

He's not just growing tall.

*Battle dress uniform
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