Brainstorming needed (long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marguerite, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I was just talking over today with husband and sometimes a second point of view can give you more insight. Bear with me, I'm thinking as I type this, my conclusions are changing form minute to minute. I'm looking for thoughts, ideas, anything I can take form this and use to help difficult child 3.

    To set the scene - today was difficult child 3's school presentation day, the end of year event. It's a week until the last day of the school year. This year they chose to have the event NOT at the school itself, but in a central building in the heart of Sydney's CBD. The school building is multi-purpose (so acoustics are makeshift) and also too small.

    difficult child 3 is doing really well in a lot of ways, but is still obviously autistic (obvious to me, anyway). Catching the train - we've done this a few times lately and he's getting better at coping. He's NEVER too happy about being away from home, he can get increasingly anxious and only getting back home can help. So on the train - I usually want him to do some worksheets while we travel, but I'm noticing that he refuses to get his work out until some undefined time into the trip. I remembered how he told his psychologist that when travelling, he likes to look at the scenery. On Tuesday when we went into the city, difficult child 3 did this; then after about ten minutes (just after we passed the river) he opened up his case and got out his work.
    And again this morning - "I will do my work, just not yet." He then sat and looked out the window, so I said, "OK, I will wait until we have passed the river." He looked surprised, but I think he was happy with this.

    He did a complex maths problem but only wrote the answer. I knew he had to show working and to me it looked like he had to do it again, properly. By the time I realised (after talking him through how to do it - I didn't need to, it turned out) I discovered that he had done a complex problem IN HIS HEAD instead of showing working (so no wonder he's taking too long to do the work and says it's too hard!) and he also said, "I have a headache now; I can't think, you've made my head spin."
    The train by this stage was VERY crowded, I think it was aggravating things too.

    I let him put his work away because we had already agreed that it would be time to put the work away as we left the station two before the one where we needed to change trains, and we were almost there.

    Then we got to the station where we had agreed to change (there are several options; we'd tried to choose the easiest one for mother in law) and difficult child 3 again began to fuss. "We need to find out which platform to go to; we need to go downstairs; we need to find the lift. We need..." over and over. Turned out we only had to walk the width of the platform to the other side. difficult child 3 was making so much noise another traveller pointed this out to us.

    We got to the final station (the same one we used on Tuesday's outing to the Opera House). difficult child 3 started to panic again. "We don't know where we are going. How will we know how to get there?" He saw a classmate and briefly said hello before the classmate was called away by his mother (who hadn't seen us) in a different direction (found out later, they were lost). This upset him more, made him doubt us even more. I brandished a map the school had posted, plus husband (who met us at the station) had already worked out the best route and headed us there.

    Once we got there, difficult child 3 was getting anxious about the elevator and whether there were too many people in it. Then there was the time it took to get the elevator loaded, which made difficult child 3 anxious that the door open alarm would begin to sound.

    The check-in procedure was familiar to him; the school uses the same procedure for the larger special school days - the kids sign in, get name tags and anything else they need. Permission slips get signed etc.

    He sat quietly and paid attention throughout - this is new and a really positive thing. Mind you, having difficult child 1 call/text my mobile upset him (difficult child 1 was in a car accident this morning, due to the rain - I needed to talk him through stuff). I managed to juggle seeing difficult child 3's awards and still talk to difficult child 1 on the phone.

    difficult child 3 went to collect his award on stage. The teacher organising the packages was distracted and difficult child 3's was missing; they did a quick substitution for the look of it and he came back with a folder that was empty apart from a note saying, "sorry we didn't have your papers for you. Please see Mrs ... afterwards. If she still can't find them we will post them to you." A teacher also came back with him to quietly explain this to us, making sure that difficult child 3 wasn't upset by the glitch.

    After the whole event, the teachers filed out past us. The principal came up last. Because I've been at the school for some meetings over the last fortnight, the principal has got to know us fairly well. He stopped briefly to say hello to difficult child 3 who looked blankly. "I'm Matthew," the principal said.
    "Hello, Matthew," difficult child 3 answered, but still blank.
    "It's only your principal," I said, gently teasing.
    "Oh, okay," said difficult child 3. "You can help me - I need to get my presentation papers and report, I have to find Mrs ..., you can take me to her."
    husband was too far to hear but did notice the look on the principal's face - shock, surprise and then acceptance.
    "Sure, I'll help you," he began, even though it's maybe the busiest day of the school year for him.
    I was able to step in though, to say to both of them, "It's OK, I'll help. difficult child 3, Matthew is very busy today, I can help you find Mrs ..."

    I noticed as we made our way to the corner where Mrs ... was managing boxes of files, that we passed a few teachers that difficult child 3 knows really well. He didn't seem to recognise anybody. The classmate from before (at the station) came up - a classmate with a distinctive face - and difficult child 3 recognised him (or at least responded as if he had). Other classmates greeted him and he didn't remember them; to me it seemed like he tried to cover for this. The classmate from before came over to talk again, his girlfriend (another classmate) was also chatting to difficult child 3.

    We got the papers without incident, difficult child 3 talked to a few people, we stayed until the place began to empty and teachers began to pack things up to take them back to the school. difficult child 3 said goodbye to his two classmates and then as we headed to the elevator, began to worry even more than before. It was really over the top and loud. By this stage it was almost all teachers, they either know him or know about him. difficult child 3 was organising people onto the elevator. I recall he DID address two teachers by name, asking them if they wanted to get onto the elevator or wait. Then difficult child 3 was holding the doors open, pressing the button for the ground floor - he HAD to be in control of it all.
    Downstairs we discovered it was pouring outside. difficult child 3 just wanted to go out into it to get back to the train and head home. However, in his suitcase he had his electronic games (as well as schoolwork). We had the conflicting drives of "I want to get home" and "I want to keep my electrical things safe from the rain."
    So difficult child 3 insisted he was going ahead to the station on his own, even though he was still a little uncertain of the way. mother in law & I are much slower (husband had left earlier, had to make his own way back to work). So again, a source of anxiety. We would find difficult child 3 ahead of us waiting under whatever shelter he had reached. He was sheltering, then moving ahead, keeping us in sight but also moving to the train station, also in sight.

    At the station there was a bit of delay while I worked out which way to go. difficult child 3 was getting increasingly anxious with every train that he heard coming into the station.
    We finally got onto a train; it was awash (windows had been left open during a downpour). difficult child 3 got anxious about the water, the risk of mother in law slipping over and also us getting wet.

    The train was going on a line we've not been on before, but mother in law & I know our way around well enough to not have a problem. It's a new line linking two older ones. difficult child 3 again was in a new environment, he needed to know exactly what station would be next and what order they all were in.

    We finally got to the change point - we had to use an elevator again. And again, difficult child 3 was in a panic over the possibility of alarms going off because of the door being left open for too long. He was worrying about the elevators adjusting the floor level slightly; he was worrying about every little noise or movement; worrying even about the possibility of it.

    Once we were back on the familiar train line, difficult child 3 was wanting to get out of his seat and stand by the door. He was in "pacing" mode by this time. He was trying to explore every bit of trash stuffed into nooks and crannies (which he does obsessively in many situations). I wouldn't let him out of his seat (the carriage foyer was crowded with schoolkids, I worry about difficult child 3 left in that social environment for too long, unsupervised) so he did a deal, said he would go stand there when the train pulled out of the station before ours. Which he did.

    We got back to our station. Still raining. difficult child 3 made sure we got safely to street level via the elevator then said, "I'm going back to the car as quickly as possible."
    Which he did - he has his own key for getting in.

    Back in the car, difficult child 3 was visibly calmer already. He began to mention that he was hungry. I had some errands to run, which we did; difficult child 3 helped, seemed OK with it. I gave him money to buy food for us which he did with no problem.

    We got back home, difficult child 3 slipped into his familiar routine, he did a few chores without argument.

    So I look back - difficult child 3 was getting increasingly anxious today. It was a crowded, noisy event in an unfamiliar place. There were still a lot of familiar faces there, most of whom difficult child 3 didn't seem to recognise. The focusses of his anxiety were:
    being away from familiar surroundings
    elevators, especially their safe operation
    other safety issues

    Despite having made a lot of progress socially, he showed poor face recognition (aggravated by the unfamiliar surroundings) and although his classmate commented on how much more relaxed he seemed with him in conversation, difficult child 3 seemed to me to be covering for his social deficits, less able to stay 'on task' in a conversation (noisy room, highly distractible) and more anxious in general. HIs anxiety was showing up not so much as extreme panic, as in perseverative behaviour, obsessing about safety issues especially the elevators and organising other people (regardless of rank) to meet his needs in this. His increasing restlessness was showing up physically in his need to stand, to pace, to fidget, to go digging into crevices for whatever junk he could find (marbles, stones, sticks etc). He also didn't begin to express any need for food until he was well and truly back on familiar ground.

    We have an appointment with the pediatrician on Tuesday. I think we need to mention a few things:

    1) Face blindness, especially when people are even partly out of context, or there is a highly distracting environment;

    2) Anxiety often heightening the longer a novel/challenging environment continues, yet he is making efforts to mask this, it's not always apparent;

    3) Obsessions about safety especially plus increasing desire to be on familiar ground close to home;

    4) Still rapidly gets into patterns of behaviour and habits (such as not starting his work until after we crossed the river);

    5) Still doesn't distinguish socially between people of different rank (such as expecting the principal to drop everything and take him to the teacher who was handling the paperwork);

    6) When anxious/obsessing about things, won't consider any need for food.

    IS there anything I've missed that you can see in this?

    All ideas welcome.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Marg. Wish I could helpl ya more :) It sounds a lot like MY son. If he is in unfamiliar territory, he isn't the same kid. Then I can really tell he's on the spectrum. It sometimes shocks me as he seems so, well, um normal (for him!) at home lol.
    I CAN relate to the face blindness. I have it. I didn't even know what it was until about ten years ago, but I knew that I could never recognize anybody unless they were sitting where they were supposed to be--such as in the cubicle next to me at work or at the doctor's clinic where they receive the patients. If anyone approached me in a mall, for example, I'd smile and nod and wonder, "Who was that?" The exceptions were VERY close friends and family (I could recognize them probably from overexposure) and children. I can always recognize children. I have no idea why, but that means I'm saved is Mrs. Faceless at the mall brought her kid with her--Whew!
    I have learned to look for facial markings and clues and to say those cues out loud to myself so I have a better chance of recognizing people if I see them in unfamiliar places (like if the woman who works out next to me at the gym sees me at the mall). I've had good success with that, although I will never be good at recognizing people.
    Propansia is very common with Aspies, as you probably know. I don't have Aspergers, but I do have a NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), which is similar to Aspergers, and I've had trouble recognizing faces since I've been a wee little one.
    I hope this rambling wasn't Sorry I couldn't help more.
  3. ML

    ML Guest

    I think you covered it. I think he did remarkably well. That was a HUGE day for him. The fact that he categorized people in terms of who can assist him to meet his needs is a good skill. I am proud of difficult child 3.

    Frankly a day like you described would have been exhausting and challenging for me!

    It's just a matter of stepping outside our comfort zones a little more each time to expand our sphere. If difficult child had to go that route every day he would learn coping skills and after some repetitive learning it would no longer be so anxiety provoking.

    We teach them the skills they will need to expand their comfort zones but I guess every once in a while there will be a new, unfamilar situation that will tax all their resources.

    Your son is a very smart boy. I hope he had a moment or two of enjoyment from the day.


  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    This was a huge thing for difficult child 3. His masking behavours show that he is making an effort. He may still be confused/overwhelmed but knows he shouldn't be or doesn't need to be. He is recognizing how he should behave and is doing his best to live up to that. It will take practice.

    It may be time to start introducing him to maps before going out. Talk through the steps and write down each one. At each step along the way, he can follow his list and know that you are still on the right path. Try to get him to relax between each transition on the map. O.K. we made it to the train station. What are we looking for now? Yep, this is the correct train, you read your plans well, let's enjoy the scenery and get school work done.

    I think by the time he met classmates, he had already become so overwhelmed with the new environment that he had shutdown somewhat. He knew these people but couldn't face where from even though he was at a school event. (I did that last Saturday; came face to face with a doctor from the facility I work in. We were in a different town away from work and it took me a few minutes to figure out where I knew him from. I don't see him very often at work.)

    Taking control of the elevator is another sign of shutting down. If he can put everyone/everything in its place, then the environment will make sense and feel safe. If he is doing something, then he can keep control of his feelings. A job keeps him too busy to fall too deep into the anxiety.

    I think it is great he can get any work done on the train even when it is a way for him to focus on something. The movements of the train would make it hard for me to write and think. I think his ability/interest in watching the scenery is also a step forward. As he gets further from home, his anxiety increases and if he is enjoying scenery, then he is trying to control that anxiety. The longer he can relax and enjoy the scenery, the longer it will take for the anxiety to start to grow.

    Maybe if he starts using his own "map" with a list of steps he can learn to relax between transitions. O.K., we are now on the train, we can enjoy this ride until we have to get off. A few minutes before we get off, we will review our "map" to prepare for the next transition.

    He really is doing a great job! You are also doing great in recognizing the needs that are still there.

    I hope this makes some sort of sense.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I was seriously impressed at how well he did cope. One thing that stood out was his willingness to wait for you and your mother in law to catch up to him. Walking ahead but still keeping you two in sight definitely gave him some control. That seemed to be the big issue -- him taking control over his environment as much as he could. Personally, I think he did a super job in a very trying situation.
  6. Wow Marg,

    First of all, kudos to difficult child 3 and to you as well for his well-earned awards!

    difficult child 3 is so much like our difficult child, it is eerie! Especially the part about performing complex math problems "in his head", not on paper. I just don't see how (or why) they do it!

    It sounds like the day was very stressful for you both, but that difficult child 3 really put forth enormous effort to handle the situation the best he that could. Honestly, I think that the day that you describe would be a stressful situation for even a laid back easy child. I personally can understand difficult children in their difficulty with new and overwhelming environments ,because I also have great difficulty "filtering it all out". I get completely focussed on the sounds and sights in social situations and can't recognize people I really should know. My adaptation is to say, "I know I should know your name, but please help me because my memory is blocking right now". It always works!

    I'm always completely physically and mentally exhausted when I come back home from such an event. I know that anxiety plays such a big piece in this, but the inability to filter also plays a part. I don't know if the two issues are connected, but I suspect that they are. I know that our difficult child has the same issues and he externalizes all of that anxiety out to others as well - so the events are doubly exhausting for us all. This is a big reason why we spend so much time at home. We do travel a bit, but the trips are always well planned out and difficult child is a big part of that planning. It gives him a little more sense of control. We can always tell when he is getting overwhelmed and when that happens , we scale back and sometimes just spend time in our hotel room. This has been a huge lifestyle change for husband and I - we were always on the go before difficult child was born.

    I know that our difficult child probably would have asked the principal the same question about getting the awards that difficult child 3 asked. Our difficult child's rigidity of thought is the piece that disables him the most in my humble opinion. I would have discussed with him later why his timing was off - but actually I do believe our difficult child's lack of empathy would always make that concept too difficult for him to grasp. Personally, I think that particular behavior is more attached to thought processes than to anxiety. It's a difficult piece to change.

    Again, many congrats to you both!
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Unfortunately, I don't know hardly anything at all about indications of autism or being on the spectrum. From someone who has had anxiety issues and comes from a family where others have anxiety and panic attacks, I could all of this as his way of coping through high anxiety and an urge to panic. I think he did very weel with it, too!!
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Am thinking, but thus far I don't see any additional things to bring up.

    It was a rough day, I'm sure, but the overall outcome sounded pretty good, really.

    Sorry I'm not more help, but I'll think on it.
  9. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I think you covered it all, to be quite honest.

    I think there is a certain level of uncertainty in most individuals when entering into a "new" situation or environment, even easy child's at times. I know that my easy child will also express confusion at times when entering into a new environment of sorts.

    As far as the rest of the day goes, I think him even doing his work on the train is huge, especially with a crowded train at that point. My difficult child would never be able to do that, she'd just quietly hold my hand and wait till it was over.

    Overall I think you should be very proud of him and the fact that he did recognize his own need to get to the car at the point when it was over.

    I was confused by the elevator thing, I dont' see this as a bad thing, nor do i see it as shutting down. My difficult child often does this, and it truly is her way of trying to regain control over an overwhelming situation. Control and them realizing their need for it, is huge.

    I hope as well he enjoyed part of the day and I was really impressed to see how well he handled it and how calm you remained through it. Your a good Mom and a good model of calm for him to observe. Their like little sponges i've come to learn, just when you think they aren't watching and taking it all in they sooo are.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The elevator thing - he was extremely anxious about it to the extent that it was interfering with other members of the public (at train stations, for example); people who don't know him at all and who I'm sure just thought he was a boy making trouble and that I am a bad mother for not scolding him. However, I won't change how I handle him just to keep up appearances!

    Maps - I agree, I think I'll do that next time. I did have a map with me, he could have taken it from me to look at because I very quickly worked out where we were going. Also on each train we were on, there was a map of the entire train network (including the new section of track that now goes past the airport terminals). He did use that map to reassure himself that we weren't getting lost; the funny thing was, he's really good with maps but he was still getting anxious despite the map confirming what I was saying, that we were changing trains the right way.

    What fascinated me was the level of anxiety escalating yet he was still coping. Getting much more odd of course, beginning to pace, fussing over the elevators, insisting on going ahead - but not falling apart too badly. He never totally lost control. However, he was certainly a long way from his best.

    Every time we have to go into the city, he learns more about how it all connects together. When he came into the city with me on a Saturday about two months ago (so I could buy a pair of shoes for the wedding) it was the first time we had done this in this way. We just walked fairly aimlessly, he had seen a shop from the car window that he wanted to try to find so he watched me navigate by educated guesswork and also was patient when I wanted to window-shop along the way. We found the shop he anted, we bought something then we navigated our way back via a slightly different route, buying lunch along the way back.

    Every time we do this, every time we travel to the city for whatever reason, he learns more. Yesterday was really stressful and encompassed a lot of new stuff plus huge crowded rooms. The trains were also crowded and a lot of our navigation involved the City Circle, Sydney's underground network round the CBD and beyond. These are noisy and his first experiences of them were very stressful.

    He's becoming a seasoned traveller. We've taken a lot of holidays over the last few years, these have all been challenging in their own way. I think it's doing him good, but his level of anxiety worries me, as well as his very rigid thinking at times. I try to explain things and he just doesn't get it, he thinks I'm explaining something else. It takes a lot to get through to him sometimes.

    He did enjoy his day; I think he's used to being anxious and takes even his own anxiety in his stride.

    I'm going to try to find a meditation tape/CD for him, taking a leaf out of Linda's wm's book. Christmas is likely to be stressful for him (noisy, crowded, family visiting), I'd like him to be prepared.

    We see the pediatrician on Tuesday. I need to put together a list of things to talk about.

    1) Anxiety. We need strategies, as much as medication. We have gone beyond breathing exercises.

    2) face blindness. I think we need to find some practical ways of dealing with this, such as techniques for teaching oneself to mentally back-check to find the context of a person.

    3) the need to control as a means of reducing anxiety.

    We need to move into a new set of strategies, he's older now and more capable. Time to ramp things up? Maybe some actual coaching on how to cope.

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg, All I can say is WOW!! You ALL handled that very very well. You recognized that he had a certain point after which he would do his work AND you let him wait until that time. You didn't insist on "now" which, as we know, doesn't work on our kids usually.

    You let him go ahead, you caught all his cues that he was having difficulties and you did what was needed to help him be successful.

    Big pat on the back for YOU! mother in law either helped or didn't stand in your way (not sure - it wasn't mentioned) so pat on the back for her too.

    It must have been frightening on some levels for difficult child, but he didn't have a meltdown!! That is HUGE!!! And, he used coping tools like going ahead but always making sure he could see you (his security).

    I think you have covered the bases in what to talk to the doctor about. You might ask if there is any visual therapy that could help him recognize people. I didn't know visual therapy EXISTED until I was waiting for Jess in the school office and a new visual therapist was asking to sign in. Not sure what they do, but maybe they could help.

    In terms of helping him, first of all would a portable gps system help him? Not sure if you do Xmas gifts the way we do, but it would be a good one. That way he would always have a map and it would show him where he is anytime you are away from hom.

    I also thin that the way SL, our first ED teacher (we all LOVED her - she reached the unreachable kids and was so great with them, no matter what!) worked with the kids might be helpful.

    sometimes she would PLAN a change in the schedule for the day and NOT tell the kids. Real life does NOT always follow a schedule or plan. She kept telling the kids to "Roll With It". Whatever it was, she used that line. And by December the kids really WERE rolling with it.

    When they got anxious she would tell them that the worst thing that could happen was X, and if X happened they they could do Q and still have a good day.

    I must say that the phrase "Roll With It" made MY life much easier. It helped Wiz let go of some of that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) need to know every detail about every single moment of the day.

    It helped Wiz see that even things like being lost were not all bad. For a while when I would take Wiz to the city to see the dev pediatrician we would get "lost" and then find a donut place, or cool park, or neat toy shop, or whatever. Just something to make him see that getting "lost" was NOT the end of the world and that he COULD trust me to get him HOME (but maybe not to find the car in the mall parking lot, LOL!)

    Anyway, I think you got a LOT of valuable info from this trip with him, and I hope the docs can use it to help even more.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I also think you are right on target. I would be surprised if you can a therapist who can offer much more to what you're already in touch with. But, it never hurts to ask for another viewpoint and more ideas!!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks for that idea, klmno.

    The GPS - too expensive, as yet. Plus difficult child 3 has always been able to use a street directory, since he was about 2-3 years old.

    HOWEVER - I'll definitely look up visual therapists, see what I can find. We still have a week to go of school, a week in which I can access the school's Special Education advisor, pick her brains.

    Also, we do know we have to work on "getting lost". He really does get anxious when we do this. WE call it "let's explore" which helps a little to lower the anxiety. last year in New Zealand we couldn't use the claim, "Don't worry, we know where we are," because he KNEW we'd never been there before. But he did realise just how quickly we could become accustomed to a new place, and saw how we can also navigate by approximation. However, this is still a huge area for us, although we're working on it.

    A lot of people don't understand, when your kid is this anxious. They say, "Oh, he must have had a big scare some time in the past when you got lost, had to call for rescue, had to get help and it was dangerous/frightening/etc."

    Not a bit of it. I can't remember a time when that happened. I DO remember ME panicking when he was little and I couldn't find him; I was looking up and down the street, calling everywhere, alerting neighbours to keep an eye out for him - then I went back home to call the police and found him sitting under the dining table, hidden by the tablecloth, playing with his toys, oblivious. He hadn't answered when I called because he didn't recognise his own name. He didn't even know about names. He didn't know who I was, I doubt he knew who HE was. And he would wander.

    So yes, in the past I would get anxious (until we installed an unclimbable front fence).

    Thanks for the feedback, folks. All ideas welcome.

  14. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi Marg,

    I found your post wonderful to read. It does sound like difficult child 3 worked hard and succeeded at keeping things together in the face of a difficult day!

    I have seen the rigid thinking you are describing. I have a cousin who has a disability that causes her to have very rigid thinking, to the point where I once spontaneously invited her to her favorite place - a baseball game - and she absolutely did not enjoy one second of it because it was not planned in advance. I'm positive she would have done the same thing your difficult child did with the principal. I don't think anything but a very specific preparation, such as "When you see the principal, he will be too busy to help you with paperwork" would work with her, however I fully understand that most social situations can't be foreseen and discussed in advance. My cousin has some physical disabilities, too, which causes people to immediately "get it" and give her lots of leeway in social situations.

    I wonder, do you get the impression that any part of the day was enjoyable for difficult child 3? I hope he found something enjoyable!

    As for getting lost, I sadly do it all too often, and I get very stressed about it. My difficult child said something wonderful once, when I was driving and stressing and very lost. He said offhandedly, "Mom, you can get anywhere from anywhere." I've taken that as my mantra when I get lost, and in fact, when I start getting stressed, my kids have learned to say, "Remember, Mom, 'anywhere from anywhere.'" This might work in a situation where you are truly lost and can't use "we know where we are" line.

    Wish I could be more helpful. Good luck with your doctor appointment.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    "I wonder, do you get the impression that any part of the day was enjoyable for difficult child 3? I hope he found something enjoyable!"

    I do think he enjoyed himself overall, but he was also relieved to get back home. He's doing this increasingly. Yesterday I said to him, "Do you want to go to the beach for a swim?"
    He did, but wanted to finish something he was working on, on the computer. Then he got dressed, got the beach bag into the car and went to the car to wait. We went to the beach, he went straight into the water and played around as he always does. After about an hour he came to me and said, "I'm ready to go home now."
    He was happy to wait a few minutes more while I had one last swim, but wanted the keys so he could go on ahead to the car. He has a routine - load his board into the boot (into the plastic tray for it), rinse his feet, wrap his towel around his waist then undress under the towel to put on his "after beach" shorts made of towelling. Nothing can change this routine. Then it was time to go home.

    He had fun, but was happy to get home. Similar scenario.

    mother in law asked difficult child 3 today if he had enjoyed the Rolf Harris concert at the Opera House on Tuesday. difficult child 3 was enthusiastic and said, "Of course!" On Tuesday we had to use the same railway station that we used on Friday, so doing both things so close together was very helpful.

    On Friday I'm sure difficult child 3 enjoyed talking to his two classmate friends who sought him out. Interestingly, the boy classmate used to see difficult child 3 as a threat, as someone who was trying to show him up. Then the boy's mother told him about difficult child 3's diagnosis and explained it to him. Since then tis boy looks out for difficult child 3, helps him and always makes a point of saying hello and hi-fiving him. The girl - it's the boy's girlfriend, they live near each other and often do their schoolwork together. She's learnt about difficult child 3 from her boyfriend and from her own observations. It's good that they seek him out to be friendly. I just wish difficult child 3 would learn to seek THEM out sometimes! Although I think he is beginning to...

    I do think difficult child 3 has learned to accept that he has anxiety, and has to cope with it in his own way. I remember earlier in the year at his school's big expo day when they had rock climbing, difficult child 3 was clearly very anxious about climbing the wall and needed to be coaxed by his teachers into having a go. But despite his anxiety, I think he really wanted to try it. He just needed to be reassured that he would be safe, at least reassured intellectually.

    So he tried it, clearly still anxious. But he kept going, he reached the top. And was very pleased with himself. He knows that every time he faces his fear and endures it, he comes out of it stronger and more capable of enduring more next time.

    it's just a matter of carefully balancing what he is exposed to, with what he can handle. Anything that can boost what he can handle will speed up the whole process.

    I do like the line, "YOu can get anywhere from anywhere." I'll use that. Thanks.