Well, this last weekend marked a momentous occasion for Buddy Boy.
He went to a birthday party!!!!!
I was beginning to think he'd never get invited to one again. The last time he was invited to a party was over 2 years ago. When he was 4 he was on the edge of "the parents just invite whoever is in the class, even if they don't know them" stage. He then entered into the "Buddy Boy's the oddball kid who throws tantrums" stage of recognition (by peers and parents) and I thought that his days of going to parties (he had only attended a few, with only limited success) were over.
But one of his classmates from his regular classroom invited him to a birthday party. It was a bowling party, which was a good thing. Bowling used to be something that was definitely sensory overloading. One of the parties that he had gone to a couple years ago was a bowling party, and although he had wanted to go to it, he had a meltdown that was probably sensory in origin (can you think of a place much more loud and echo-ey?).
But last summer he was involved in a summer camp thru Giant Steps, which for those who don't know is a private school that specializes in autism. They had tons of field trips, including a weekly trip to a bowling alley. The long and short of it is that Buddy Boy loved going bowling, to the point of it becoming incorporated into his OCD behaviors. He perseverated for a long time on acquiring a bowling ball. He asked my sister, the chemist, if she could make him one. He googled "free bowling ball" on the web and found dozens of bowling ball sites-"Look dad, I don't think this one costs that much!"
So I was glad that it was a bowling party. It was something he liked, and it had a structure that he would understand, and foster some limited interaction with the other kids.
As it turned out, Liz took him instead of me. I'm usually the designated escort for both kids to parties, but I was involved with taking down a 40 foot pine tree in the back yard, and was up against having not enough time to finish the job.
Liz reported that he did reasonably well. We had written out and reviewed various things with Buddy Boy ahead of time, which we think helps. Buddy Boy didn't have any meltdowns, didn't interact much but remained basically socially appropriate, and said he had a good time. In my mind, a roaring success!
I only hope we have the opportunity to do it again.
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.