A is for Autism! A-Z Blogging Challenge Day 1

Yep, it’s day one of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. I’ve decided to do my very first post on Autism and what it looks like in our family.

Little Man

This is what Autism looks like to me… My precious Little Man.

National statistics say that 1 in 88 children are on the spectrum today. That’s a

Autism spectrum

Autism spectrum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

lot of kids with something that people not touched by it really don’t understand. Now, Little Man has a host of other disorders that go hand in hand with his Autism, he’s paranoid schizophrenic, has PTSD (due to an abusive bio0-mom and boyfriends), OCD, and is just about 10 years developmentally delayed. He’s basically a “typical” 6 year old… in a 16 year old body.

Our day starts with breakfast, which thankfully Little Man can usually handle on his own – if it’s a good day, and we have instant oatmeal or cereal for him to make. Of course he has to be supervised, and we have to watch him eat – because he also has an eating disorder that stems from his PTSD – he was underfed so much as a young child that he tends to over eat or try to eat so fast that he will either make himself sick or burn the crap out of his mouth with hot foods.

After breakfast he will watch television or play with legos (right now he’s not in school because we just moved again and are waiting for services to get started here). Of course back before we moved, when he first came home from the hospital he was only getting an hour and a half of school each day anyway, so his day hasn’t changed that much here.

Lego’s are his current favorite thing and he will sit for hours playing with

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and...

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

them building some pretty cool stuff. Last week he created an amazing puzzle box that was five layers deep, each layer fitting neatly into the other in perfect order right down to the single row in the center. This week he made a “sword” of lego’s and created a stand for it to sit in. He’s pretty cool like that, making some really creative stuff…

But a lot of the time he is creating weapons… some means of protecting himself, because of the Paranoid Schizophrenia he has irrational fears. Of course I’m sure his past abuse has something  to do with that as well.

Often he has to be redirected, and his OCD prevents him from stopping something (especially talking) once he’s started… Usually it’s something that starts with “What would you rather have happen to you”… followed by two equally horrible fates – which of course we do not respond with answers to, we just try to redirect to something more positive. It’s not always easy, and is often accompanied by a meltdown.

Lately a meltdown consists of him getting frustrated and angry and self deprecating… up until his last hospitalization meltdowns consisted of him hitting himself, banging his head into the wall, floor, or other immovable object, or suicide attempts… Ya’ll don’t know how scary it is to have an 8 year old tell you they want to die… or wish they’d never been born, or that you would be better off without them. Of course – we still hear those things, just not as often because he has a mantra he’s made to repeat when those negative start flowing… We make him say: I am loved. I am worth it. My family loves me. He says this  until the negatives stop, and he isn’t so agitated.

He also spends a good portion of the day counting things or stacking things – I think that’s why he loves Lego so much – he can stack them and they don’t fall down.

We of course have lunch mid day, and usually that’s also something he can do for himself – peanut butter and jelly, hot dogs, or ramen that he can prepare on his own with supervision.

We spend the afternoons usually doing the Lego thing again – because trying to get him to do anything else right now is a real battle, and I’m just not cut out of the same cloth as those awesome creatures they call Homeschooling Mom’s… I tried, and Ya’ll it’s hard work – work I’m just not able to do. We do spend a lot of time talking to Little Man and working on social behaviors, because that’s where his weakness lies. He has no social skills at all – so he’s learning those daily.

Bedtime comes around 10 pm and is usually preceded by the supervised shower (Dad or big brother’s job) – because he can’t seem to get in the shower and keep the water in there for some reason…

Then there’s dinner time, which is a family affair and usually goes off without a hitch because if there is anything Little Man loves more than Lego – it’s food.

Then we “wash, rinse, repeat” every day…. because if we vary the routine by too much – we are met with meltdowns for days… Which is why therapy days and doctor appointment days are generally pretty hard. Appointments are scheduled as close to the end of the day as possible, just so his normal routine isn’t interrupted too much and so we don’t have a full day of meltdowns instead of just a few hours.

All in all, he’s an easy child to parent – but it is a challenge, and a big one. We could not be happier to have him in our lives, and wouldn’t change him for the world – but we do want better for him. We would love to have him be self-sufficient and able to live on his own at some point, but realistically, that’s not gonna happen. We are in a great community with awesome resources for him, where he will be able to live in a group home setting, and work in a supervised environment – something he is waiting for with baited breath, and wants to embrace right now. But alas he has to be 18 before that can happen, in just two short years.

Well, that’s some of what Autism looks like in our house – tune in tomorrow for the letter B…

Autism Awareness Ribbon

Autism Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Sunday!


6 thoughts on “A is for Autism! A-Z Blogging Challenge Day 1

  1. Thanks for sharing part of you life with us. Autism is not something I really understand very much, but it sounds challenging. I admire your positive attitude and your strength.

  2. Gracious. I had some early exposure to several children and adults on the spectrum years ago when I worked in a home for the mentally retarded. (I know … it’s not socially correct to refer to it as retardation anymore, autism does NOT equal retardation, and children had no business in a halfway house for adults!) This was 30+ years ago and my favorite was a 10 year old named Matthew who had Aspergers and had been placed there because Dad had just remarried and step-mom didn’t want to be bothered with Matthew’s needs. Seemed to me, at the wise old age of 19 and a few psychology and sociology classes, that what Matthew needed was consistency and love! I used to sit and rock with him when he wanted that and listen to me holler at me that he wanted a divorce when he was mad at me … or people in general. Then there was Rose who had a serious Elvis infatuation (complete with several black velvet paintings and a number of albums) and went into serious LOUD mourning at least once a day when she remembered anew that he was dead. She also was a head banger and threatened often to send me straight to the “Lord’s table!” I tried to be comforted that at least she wanted to send me to Heaven but she was strong and she scared me when she was angry! There were others but those 2 made the deepest impressions.

    I grew up … left that job … married a man with 3 kids … had another … and spent 25 years as one of those “homeschool moms” and I’m here to tell you … I couldn’t have done it with a child on the spectrum!

    And bless your heart for adopting a child with such huge needs! You are my newest hero!

  3. Pingback: B – is for Blue A-Z Blogging Challenge Day 2 | Set in My Ways

  4. Pingback: E – is for Emotions – A-Z Blogging Challenge Day 5 | Set in My Ways

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