We are having many new visitors to this blog this week. I thought a look back at a couple of stories I wrote in the past would give a flavor of the stories I tell about our family. Autism touches each person individually, but I find that some things are more universal and I hope that our stories help others understand autism a bit better. I also hope they give hope to those that are dealing with autism day to day. Sometimes while we are in the middle of it, it is difficult to see the tremendous progress our children are making.
Here are a couple of stories for today.
Peter made this video about Bambi on my iPhone. I just found it today. When we first got Bambi, Peter would not even stay in the same room as her. He also used to have a difficult time pretending, so giving Bambi a different name for his movie is a BIG deal. He likes making mini-movies. I think he has a touch of Uncle Jay going on.
Today I came across Peter’s school journal. To get him writing, the book he used gave the lead sentence.
His essays show that you get information from Peter very differently depending on how you help him start.
Take a look at a few. The part in all caps was already written. The rest is Peter’s, including spelling and punctuation.
TO GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP YOU NEED… to make your eyes closed. Pajas to get you warm. Get in bed. I say my nighttime (I think he missed the word prayers).
THE LAST MOVIE I SAW THAT I REALLY LIKED WAS…The lorax. It was a great film. It was based on the book by Dr. Seuss. The tiny orange guys name was Lorax. It was so funny.
AFTER A RAINSTORM, I SOMETIMES SEE…a rainbow. The sun comes out. The sky gets blue or dark. After a evening thunderstorm I saw the moon.
When the topic made him think in a specific way about bed, he was very specific. When the other two essays gave him a word like sometimes or stayed open ended about the movies, Peter gave more information. His thoughts did not get boxed in.
This made me think about how I ask him questions and our conversations. I have to try to stay open to give him the chance to do the same. When he was younger I had to stay very focused to get him to talk at all. Now I have to be the one to change to help him grow too.
We are waiting in the car to pick Charlotte up from dance. Peter and Kit are filling in Peter’s calendar on his tablet. I can not believe how many dates he has in his head. He knows our birthdays, our anniversary date, that Thanksgiving is ALWAYS the fourth Thuraday of the month. He also unfortunately remembers what age we will all be, so his calendar says Peter’s 12th birthday. Mom’s xx birthday. When he put Charley’s in he said “Wow, your daughter is really growing up.” When he put in our anniversary he asked how many years we were married this year. Then he said, “Oh my gosh 21 years next year, you are going to turn into Grandma and Grandpa.” Sigh
Peter has become fascinated all over again with his childhood videos, but this time he is watching them for different reasons. Lately he talks with me about how the characters are feeling in each show. He wonders out loud why Little Bear’s friend is scared without his parents. He asks me if I am worried too because I am a Mom. He talks me through the worrying as the story moves along.
The videos Peter is selecting he probably has memorized since preschool. When he was little he would devour a video over and over until he had figured out what he needed and then move to the next one. We watched a series of Barney videos learning how to take turns, share toys and start the idea of pretend. Once he mastered the skill, the video was done. We would go from watching it five times a day to not seeing it for weeks.
Now these videos are reappearing and he is saying, “Remember when this scared me?” And then the emotion questions start. He talks about emotions for almost entire shows. Today he was home sick and I think we talked about four shows in a row. Then he thanked me for watching his preschool videos with him and spending time with him.
I thought maybe I was the only one seeing this HUGE change. Then at one point tonight, Charlotte said, “Mom who is that talkative boy in there? It can’t be my brother could it?”
I told her, apparently it is. We both agreed it is fun to just listen.
Thanks to the encouragement of many readers, It’s The Little Things is now a blog. The goal is to continue sharing our stories so others can not only understand autistic spectrum disorders, but appreciate the struggles and accomplishments, big and little. Please feel free to join in the conversations.