Relationships are Everything!

(continued) No sooner than Mrs Spaulding called on my son, did the words shoot out of his mouth. “Mrs Spaulding, he said” “I think this is boring!” I knew in my heart that he was just being truthful, but ohhhh the glares I got from the other parents, and of course Mrs. Spaulding. “You know young man, she scolded, that was very disrespectful”. How could I explain his autism in this desperate situation to everyone that was there? I felt like grabbing his hand and leaving, but I hung in there.
After the moment cleared, and the air seemed to settle down, once again his hand flew in the air. Mrs Spaulding, “What kind of dinosaur is it?” he asked in regard to her book? Thank God! I was so relieved he could also ask something that was appropriate. After the class was dismissed and the library event had come to a close, I took Jonny by the hand to apologize to Mrs Spaulding, trying to explain to him that while he may have been bored, saying it out loud still probably hurt Mrs Spaulding’s feelings.

(To be Continued)

Relationships are Everything!

As a mom, wife daughter, sister, friend, aunt and colleague, I know that relationships are everything! Relationships are built upon communication, which is also one of the largest deficits that those with autism and special needs children face. Whether they are able to talk or not, they are still able to communicate. Yet they need us, as caregivers, instructors, parents, siblings and peers, to help them bridge the relationship between them and the world. Through the power of effective communication mixed with empathy and understanding, we can facilitate and enhance the quality of these relationships. Here is an endearing story of a librarian and my son Jonny, and how a relationship was strengthened one day in our community.

To paint a picture for you, my son Jonny was in the 4th grade when his class took a field trip to the library to hear a famous author, Andrea Spaulding talk to the class. She had all the kids sit on the floor while she read them tales from her latest book. When she was done it was time for questions and answers. The kids eagerly popped their excited hands up into the air to ask questions. After about three questions, there was Jonny’s hand frantically waving. I cringed, what could he possibly want to ask.

To be continued…

Spank you, spank you very much! (Continued)

Of course we were laughing harder than they were! Everything that could and would have gone wrong, did, but that was somehow okay. Jonny was accepted for who he was and is. A child with autism. When their song was over, his classmates filed off the stage as they had rehearsed, but not my Jonny. He was still doing his “thing” weaving in and out of the kids having a grand old time and the audience applause became very loud. Jonny all of the sudden became very aware of the audience, walked out to center stage and shouted at the top of his lungs. “Spank you, spank you very much!” and bowed. Afterwards, Caraly pointed out that maybe he had some sensory issues and the clothes were probably bothering him which is why he was acting out. From then on I dressed him in more comfortable clothes for him to wear, especially before going on stage! Sometimes as parents the obvious is oblivious to us and we miss it. Does anyone else ever have situations like these happen with their autistic children?

Certainly, these are stories to cherish, as we all grow in knowing what works for our children and what doesn’t!

Spank you, spank you very much! (Continued)

Well the night of the concert I decided to dress him up nicely in a little blue suit, white shirt and tie. He looked adorable, but he kept wiggling and fidgeting around and I thought he was just excited. We arrived at Millennium Place where the concert was taking place, dropped Jonny off with his aide, Caraly and took our seat amongst the other 500 parents. When it came time for Jonny’s class to go up on stage the class marched out in single file, except for Jonny who was darting in and out of the other kids throughout the line totally oblivious to the crowd of people. All of the children walked to their appropriate spots on the bleachers, except Jonny who kept jumping off the top bleacher, ran around the front of the bleachers, climbed back up to his spot pushing the kids out of the way and did this at least twenty times during their performance. Moms and dads were laughing hysterically and carefully glancing around to see if we minded because they didn’t want us to think they were laughing “at” him.

To be continued…

Spank you, spank you very much!

When my son, Jonathan was in kindergarten he was fascinated with Jim Carrey. In fact, he watched every single one of his movies, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, The Mask, Liar Liar and so on. He watched them day in and day out again and again memorizing it word for word. Parents, if you have kids with autism, you know exactly what I mean. Back in those days Jonny would perseverate which means do the same, repeatedly on whatever interested him the most and Jim Carrey was IT. I was a new mom of a kid with autism at the time and didn’t understand the disorder to say the least. He was all set to be in his first kindergarten Christmas play and had rehearsed his part over and over again with his aide, Caraly. He memorized his part completely. He was to stay in a single file line behind his classmate, Justin and in front of another, Cindy. Next, he was to follow the kids onto the stage, march up to the top row of the bleachers to his predetermined spot, sing their school song and then follow Justin in the line nicely off the stage.
To be continued…

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