Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Play time and dream time

I don't know about other moms with aspie kids,  but my Aspie gets upset if games aren't played the way he wants.  For example, when building with blocks, I am only allowed to place the blocks in designated spots and at designated angles.  If I deviate from this, he becomes quite anxious, upset, and moves the blocks the way he wants them.  If I insist that he allow me to play my way as well, he becomes upset, pouts, and doesn't want to play anymore.  Playing board games or card games is even trickier as my child becomes distraught if he doesn't win.  I've allowed him to win more times than I can count just to see joy exuding from his face and through his actions, rather than counseling him for 15 minutes concerning losing.  I have to admit that lately he has improved.  There have been a few times recently that instead of crying he said, "It doesn't matter if you win or lose.  It's about having fun playing the game."  You can imagine my joy at hearing these words. 

I've read about other moms whose autistic children lash out physically at them.  Reading their stories makes my heart ache, a lump clogs my throat, and my eyes blur with tears.  I imagine the pain and heartache they must feel.  To love a child so deeply, to want only the best and put forth more effort than most parents ever dreamed of to have a healthy and happy child, to give up so much of yourself for your child only to have that child lash out physically.....the heartache.  The emotional pain would be overwhelming.  I wish I could wrap my arms around those mothers, hold them while they release their tears, and tell them it's going to be okay. 

I have been very lucky to have a child that recognizes emotional pain and responds to it.  Thank goodness for this as I don't know if I could handle an emotionally absent child.  The interesting thing about my aspie compared to other aspie kids is that my aspie is actually overly sensitive.  I am no way complaining, as I see this as a blessing.  I just find it interesting considering most autistic kids seem to be lacking in expression of emotions.  My aspie will cry at the drop of a hat.  My aspie remembers things from years ago that will trigger sobbing and shaking.  For instance, tonight he recalled a bad dream he had several years ago.  As he was telling me about the dream, he began crying and shaking.  It took several minutes for him to calm down enough to even speak.  I tried reasoning with him, but that seemed to just make it worse.  So finally I said, "Write down your bad dreams on a piece of paper.  Then wad it up in a ball and throw it in the trash."  He loved the idea.  That is what he did. 

Of course, this is not practical when he wakes up during the middle of the night crying from a nightmare.  During these times, I escort him to the bathroom and tell him to pee the bad dream into the toilet.  Then he flushes it away.  This has seemed to work well too.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these will continue to be effective strategies.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Don't pee on my couch

I have been reading other mom's blogs about their daily lives of learning to raise a healthy and happy aspie child(ren).  One mom said she wanted to figure out how to get her aspie son to use the toilet.  That comment brought back memories of me trying everything in the book to get my aspie son toilet trained.  Mind you this was before I even knew he had aspergers.

I was at wits end.  I'd tried every trick in the book and then some.  I had spent late nights searching the internet for that one secret to reveal itself.  But alas, it never did.  My child was going to be entering preschool soon, but the preschools won't take a child unless he is potty trained.  Plus, my child is unusually large for his age--not fat, just a big kid.  He was at the point that if he didn't learn to use the toilet I was going to have to buy him adult diapers!  So you can imagine the urgency and distress I felt.

So what did I do?  I had one last option.  It was a do or die option.  An option that would either cause an unimaginable mess or save the day--go without diapers or underwear or pants of any type.  Just run around the house naked!!!  I took off his pull-ups and said, "Go free, young man.  Go free!"  He looked at me like I had lost my mind.  Perhaps I had.  But he turned and went on his merry little way with his cute little bum for all the house to see.  30 minutes later he cried out, "Mommy!!!!  I need to pee pee!!!"  He's holding himself and pointing to his pull-ups.  "Nope," I say, feeling anxious and wondering if I should run for the carpet cleaner and towels.  He says, "But mommy!!!!  I have to pee!!!!  Please!!!!".  I replied, "Your only choice is to either hold it or go sit on the toilet."  "Hold it", he said.  Uh-oh, I thought.  A few minutes later I heard him peeing in the toilet.  You can imagine my relief and surprise.  I praised him and showered him with hugs and kisses.  After that he always used the toilet.  Of course, I made him run around the house naked for at least a week to be on the safe side.

The only downside seems to be that to this day he still feels the need to run around the house naked.  So we are constantly telling him this isn't a nudist zone, and please put on your underwear.  Could be worse though. He could be peeing on our couch.  ;)