Sunday, October 14, 2007

Transfer of Power

One of the things we have to do with Alan is transfer power to him. By this I mean, he is aware of and knows his role in any interaction. Previously, RDI was built on activities. Instead, now, RDI will happen whenever Don or I find an opportunity all day for practicing in real life.

When we begin, the parent will be doing most of the work. We do this all the time, compensating for any deficit. With our consultant, we are to figure out how to stay connected. At first, the parent is the one aware. The child has no idea the parent guide has been over-compensating. We need to get the child to take on more and more of the role we want for him or her.

Today at the RDI seminar I attended, we watched a video of a parent and child emptying the dishwasher. In the beginning, the mom handed each piece to the child. Then, she moved aside and the child took something out and handed it to her. Then she switched back and began to hand items to him again. Sometimes, he did not know where an item went. She would indicate it, moving near to him, but not talking. She just smiled, encouraging him. She moved slowly. (We were told that in fact, she is a busy physician, who is smart and quick. She was slowing her pace so that he had time to take part and to think about where each item went.) She kept a close zone of connection. He did not try to leave when there was a pause. She simply looked at him, and he responded, filling his role of partner in emptying the dishwasher. He is eleven. I have begun a similar situation with Alan. I have waited until he is at the table and when he was not actually eating, handed him the glasses or some bowls across the island. Now, I have to get the video camera onto the tripod and videotape us emptying the dishwasher. First, though, I will have to clear up my paper mess on the counter. One of my responsibilities is to create order and that is something I need to do. The kitchen counter is a paper "hot spot" for me.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Feeling Good About Something
Alan goes to a special needs session at the Teen Center every Monday afternoon. He can stay from 2 until 5. He usually calls me on his cell phone to come and pick him up at 4:27 p. m. That's quite a long time to be in a social situation for him.
Usually, several boys go to play basketball at the beginning. On the very first day, a boy named Mikey said Alan could be on his team. He sent the ball to Alan and expected Alan to shoot it back to him so he, Mikey, could try for a basket. Being autistic, Alan did not recognize this unwritten agreement. Alan caught the ball and sprinted down the court to try for a basket. Again, Mikey got the ball and again sent it to Alan. And, as you have guessed, Alan sprinted down to try for a basket. Mikey really did not like this. He did not see Alan as a team player. After that, I witnessed Mikey playing aggressively one-on-one with Alan. At this point, I left it to the supervising adult and I presume it got worked out. I told you all that to tell you this.
On Monday, after playing basketball, Alan went to the machine to buy water for the first time. He put in two dollars and got back 3 quarters in change. He went over to the table hockey game and put in two of his quarters. Mikey came along. Alan decided to let him play. He also decided that whoever won the game would get the unopened bottle of water. Mikey won, 7 to 6. Alan gave him the bottle of water. I asked Alan if Mikey asked him for it, and Alan told me that he had thought of giving it to whoever won. Maybe Alan has gained some idea of unwritten social rules now.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Insufferable Verbal Stims

Alan has been in a period of making fart sounds with any part of his body. He can make them under his knees, with his hands over his mouth and under his arm. That is bad enough.

This morning, I lost my temper with him. I shouted at him. I try hard not to shout at him but this did get my goat. He came in here to my study and repeated to me verbally, "I can burp the ABCs. I can fart Row, Row, Row Your Boat." I lost it. He has been saying these same words for days.

Later still, while he was at his table work, he began an old verbal stim and I was not even in hearing distance as far as he knew. He went on with his "No sign, no sale, heh, heh, heh," which he always says in an identical voice. He did it several times.

My friend Tammy agreed with me that it is hard not to lose one's temper when this sort of verbal barrage keeps on and on. I am glad she thinks I am human. I even shared with her that I don't want to become an alcoholic which is why I don't self-medicate with drink when I can't bear these particular stims any more.

She also suggested finding something we both find humorous. The trouble is, I can't think of a single funny thing now.

I usually resort to going online or to the library (luckily we have a library visit this afternoon) to find something to laugh about when I feel grim.

I also hope to get to go back to Curves this afternoon. I haven't been able to go since Monday. There is a bag there I was tempted to buy but didn't as I have many bags already. It also advertises Curves, and I don't like to carry things with labels around. However, I agree with the sentiment: "Laughter burns calories."

So, I'll be looking for things that make me laugh and trying to get in some solid exercise on the machines as well. And, if you have a laugh to share, please send it to me.