Time to Diversify

Where we live, we have certain stores and activities close by and available to us. We have a local Autism Society Chapter. We have the ocean. We have a Walmart, a Michael’s, and a TJMaxx. We have to drive a little bit to get to a 4-screen movie theater. We have to drive even further for a Target, Old Navy, bowling alley, or an arcade. We have to drive a couple of hours to get to the big city stuff. Like a trampoline park.

IMG_3505We went in May last year, and The Boy had an absolute blast. But he was by himself, and after awhile, you realize it would be much more fun with friends. We talked about inviting his friend C and C’s brother and sister the next time we came, or possibly to celebrate their birthdays, as C and his brother are twins and have their birthday a month before The Boy’s. We talked about it several times with C’s mom, a friend of mine, because we would have to coordinate driving or possibly rent a vehicle big enough for all of us.

A couple of weeks ago, a picture popped up on my facebook feed from C’s mom. They were at the trampoline park. And I was miffed. We happened to be in the same town (two hours from home) that day, and my first thought was that The Boy was left out. It has been one of his most earnest wishes to go there with them, and we got nary a text about the trip?

And I have to admit that I’m still miffed, but I’ve mostly let it go, because it’s life and shit happens, and people aren’t as thoughtful as they could be. But mostly because I realized we need to diversify. The Boy doesn’t have enough friends, and we need to work on that, because depending on one family, one kid, is kind of sad, and rather hopeless when C’s mom is as scattered as she is (it’s not a knock – she really is incredibly scattered and disorganized, and she would be the first to tell you). So we’ll work on this, which is difficult for this introverted mom, but it needs to be done. We can’t live in a vacuum, and The Boy deserves to have some fun with friends.

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Dead Computer

Sunday, The Boy had a computer go down.

I can usually get things up and running, or at least figure out the problem. That day, the problem turned out to be a really old computer that just wasn’t going to turn on anymore.

He had found it high up on a shelf in my closet, and had been using it for awhile, primarily to watch videos. Why can’t he watch videos on the portable DVD player he has? You’re asking the wrong person. It was a Gateway computer (I don’t think they even make them anymore, do they?) that his dad and I had bought, possibly before he was even born. It wasn’t even capable of accessing wi-fi. Yep, OLD.

pexels-photo-51415But to him, it was like watching a friend die, and that core piece of The Boy’s autism, attachment to things, reared its head again. He insisted he had damaged it by dropping it, which he hadn’t. He insisted that it couldn’t possibly be replaced. We kept focusing on the fact that he is getting a new computer – a delayed Christmas present to replace the brand new one that crapped out on us the day after Christmas. He didn’t want to hear any of it. His old friend, the Gateway, was toast, and his world was ending.

The Man turned to me at one point in the day-long drama with utter disbelief that he felt so strongly about a thing.  “I don’t get it,” he said. I tried to explain about attachment to things, but it is difficult for us NTs to understand.

I do know when The Boy is hurting, though. We made the best of the day, tried to be gentle and talk him through it. By evening, he was making peace with himself and the reality that the computer was not going to turn on again. And the next day he was searching online for a new one.

It’s not going to go away, this attachment to things. Or maybe it will. I don’t know. It’s hard to predict and prepare for, though. So in the meantime, we just have to try to understand, get some perspective, and be gentle. Poor kiddo.

Executive Functioning Skills Don’t Grow on Trees

Yesterday, the band director’s text alert system let me know that the permission slip for the upcoming band competition was coming home today, as well as something about a spring trip to Washington DC (…yikes…). When The Boy came home, I searched his backpack. Nothing. I replied to the band director’s text – “Could you email it to me?” he said he could.

Last week, the science teacher, from the same text alert system, let me know that progress reports were coming home. Looked in the backpack. Nothing.

And you know that there is still math work floating around in that thing, but I have been told that it is not homework, and that it will be worked on in school, so I don’t touch it.

And there goes last week’s reading log floating by…

_Oh, look, Honey, there's an executive functioning skill tree! Let's pick up some organization, working memory, and focus on the way home!This type of lack of organization has to do with executive functioning skills, often a deficit for kiddos on the spectrum, and many with ADHD. Without assistance and support, and regular lessons and routines to help them get their stuff together, they continue to not bring things home-bring the wrong things home-not turn stuff in.

Considering that The Boy is not verbal about school either, this becomes a real issue. Like when I find out about a band concert two nights before (do his pants even fit??). So, I kinda need to know about any kind of trip that is leaving the state.

Before his program was annihilated, he had an opportunity at the beginning and end of the day to check in with his ASD teacher to make sure he had what he needed, and turn in anything. It is evident that that support has not been replaced.

And I kinda need the staff to do something about this. Yesterday.