Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
A Sunny Day
Although it's a bit cold in the middle of the US right now, the last few days have been sunny.
If left to his own devices, Buddy Boy would spend the majority of his time in his room building things. He just loves to build. Towers, water treatment plants, houses for animals to live in, garbage dumps. He builds with blocks, magnet sets, K'nex, and Tinkertoys. He is most prolific (and creative) when using paper and tape. He's made space suits and sea scapes from just white paper and tape.
We love that he loves to build, and we encourage it (as well as play with him and encourage him to play with his younger sister, Sweet Pea). Bu we also like to get him out doing more active things, for physical exercise and coordination (which he has some issues with), as well as for the whole socialization aspect of it (working with a group, taking directions, interacting with peers). As his school thus far has not seen fit to provide him with any inclusion, we think it's even more important that we provide some.
Buddy Boy has historically not been really happy partaking in group activities, or even individual sports type activities. Oh, he'll go on a bike ride with me with some cajoling, and sometimes even willingly, but it's far from a preferred activity. Swimming lessons and gymnastics are even tougher. Presently he's only in a Saturday morning swim class, and no gymnastics at the moment (due to no current class fitting his schedule). Once we get him going with these activities, he's usually OK (partaking for significant portions of the class, only occasionally having to sit out portions of the class in order to regroup). But the first time he goes to one of these activities is usually frought with moderate to major resistance on Buddy Boy's part. Reaction on his part usually involves such comments as "What were you thinking? How could you do something like this to me? You're so mean to me". Of course, once the class is over he's usually OK with having gone to it. And sometimes even admits it was fun.
Experience has taught us that the best way to introduce an activity like this is not to start talking about it days ahead of time, but instead to just introduce the idea 30-45 minutes ahead of time. So Liz signed up Buddy Boy for a class at a local "kiddie gym". This place is run by an OT who runs several classes throughout the week. Many kids on the spectrum take these classes, but there are also several NT kids in her classes.
Well, Liz picked up Buddy Boy from school yesterday, and gave firm instructions to Sweet Pea beforehand not to announce it to Buddy Boy (as she would have almost certainly said something in a sing song voice like "You're going to the kiddie gym, and you're not going to like it"). So Liz announces to Buddy Boy, "I've got a surprise for you! You're going to the kiddie gym today for a class!". And Buddy Boy said...
And he went, didn't have big problems with separation, and participated in the majority of the class without a problem.
Sometimes the littlest of things can make your day sunny.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.