Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Alan Shows Flexibility and References Me Well

Today was one of Alan's good days. From the beginning, he showed flexibility. When he had already begun his Algebra at the kitchen table, two workmen showed up to inspect the bay windows in the area where he was working. They entered his space, explained the window operation to me, and he noticed them, but continued working, without any frustration.

Lately, he has been taking a long time to eat. Today, we were supposed to be going to CVH Park Day at 1:30. At 12:40 he wanted to get on the treadmill but he was still finishing up his lunch. It became too late to do both the treadmill and go to the park. We decided together, without much discussion, that we would not go to the park today. Alan continued to get ready to go on the treadmill because although he likes to do it around 3:30 p. m., he knew I thought that was too close to his gym time on Tuesdays and also that I would not guarantee we would be home then. He did his treadmill.

Afterward, I asked him to go to the post office with me to help me with the parcels. Recently, before Christmas, he did help me a few times, but was also happy a few times when he was allowed to stay at home alone while I did that errand. Not only was he helpful today, putting things into the trash for me and into the mail slot, he waited patiently and only remarked one time that there was a long line. It wasn't that long, and we got out soon.

I forgot to mention that this morning, he did not have any of his preferred waffles for breakfast. In the past, I have told him that when he starts the last box, he needs to write it on the list, or it may not get bought. He accepted that he had not told me and decided to have toast with jam instead with no angry words. So, after the post office, I told him I would take him to Whole Foods Market to pick up some waffles for tomorrow. While we were there, he not only got a couple of boxes of the plain waffles he prefers, he picked up some apple cinnamon ones he had previously rejected firmly and remarked, "Apples and cinnamon taste good together." As we proceeded down the frozen food aisle, I asked him if he wanted ice cream. He went over and picked up his soy ice cream, selecting a new flavor. He asked me, "What does Dulce de Leche taste like?" I told him as far as I knew, it was caramel and cinnamon and milk. I didn't really know. He kept the carton in the cart while we got coffee beans for me and then went to the check out. I was very surprised as his flexible choices.

Later on, after we got home, he brought his dog in for a cuddle and then decided he needed to feed the two dogs. I suggested that he would not have time to do that and eat at the same time. In the past, eating at six p. m. was a firm must for him. I told him we needed to leave at 6:30 p. m. for gym and he replied, "I'll eat some rice when I get home." Not, "I'll have my corn, chicken and rice (his personally chosen menu)."
He declared when he turned sixteen on Sunday that he was going to take his shower at 8:14 p. m. which is 16 minutes to half past the hour. That time went by, and now at 8:58 p. m. I hear the shower. All these are examples of his new flexibility.

The other new behavior I want to remark on is his referencing me this afternoon. He seemed especially engaged all day. However, when he was referencing me the most happened in the car. The new car has a connection so that he can play his iPod so that we can both listen to it. He got into the front seat (formerly he always sat in the back), connected the cord to play the iPod and then kept looking at me and smiling a little to see if I was listening and enjoying the music. Actually, I was, because the music he has on his iPod is from his Dad's computer and our time. Alan told me that he changed his beginning track to a CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) one and then, a big surprise: the rest of them are shufflled! He has refused prior to this ever since he got the iPod in July to have the pieces scrambled at all, even though Dad keeps suggesting he add to the selections and also that Alan might want to shuffle them. I truly enjoyed the music but most of all the fact that he kept referencing me to see if I was enjoying the music with him.



Blogger The Glasers said...

Wow! This is exciting on so many levels!!! Talk about flexibility! You and Don must be so thrilled about the changes you are seeing. I think a great source of unhappiness in families with autism is difficulties when things change beyond our control. Being able to go with the flow goes such a long way in keeping an upbeat attitude toward life!

YEAH, Alan! I am Snoopy Dancing with CCR's "Rolling on a River" running through my mental iPod.

5:15 AM  

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