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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Visuals

This post is about Caleb. I'm really starting to regret not putting him into summer school. I just had to make the decision right after he started and I didn't know how it was going to go. We're going to be alright but the whole family is happier when he goes, especially Caleb. I'm going to try and make things structured for him as much as possible but it's been difficult, to say the least. Potty training is not helping.

There are a few things that I've been thinking about with Caleb's autism. I think I've dealt with the fact that he has it. It was actually a relief to know that there is a reason behind his rage and it's not just my poor parenting skills or an inherent violent trait. I'm still struggling with how to deal with this in the public. It's funny to think about this because I thought my biggest problem would be dealing with the fact that he is black and we are white. I don't even really think about that anymore.

I'm starting to wonder whether it would be "easier" if Caleb had some sort of physical manifestation of autism. It's just that he looks so "normal". It breaks my heart when people try to talk with him and he won't answer. Caleb knows how to count past 100 now and he recognizes all of the letters in the alphabet. He can even draw most of them now. He knows all of his shapes. He can't pass a stop sign now without saying "OCTAGON!". He knows the words to every single song he has ever heard (no exaggeration). He can even sing "Spoonful of Sugar" with Carl in harmony. The kid has some skills. But, if you ask him what his name is...he won't answer. Sure, if you catch him at the right moment he might say the right word but most of the time he'll say something like "triangle". He knows you asked him a question and he knows he's supposed to answer. He just doesn't know what the answer is so he just says something familiar to him. I'm at the stage where I don't want to have to explain why he won't answer those simple questions but I feel like I should. I don't know how to handle this yet. I don't want to announce to the world that he has autism. But, then again...I do. I don't want them to treat him differently or pity him or anything like that...but I do want them to recognize that he clearly does have some special needs and needs some help with things. My struggle of the day.

We have been finding some success with using pictures to communicate. This is especially helpful with transitions. Here are some samples of the pictures we use with him.


I have a little poster that I can put these pictures on (they have velcro on the back) and make him a schedule for the day. He's not quite to the level where this works all of the time. But, I can use certain pictures to help him when he doesn't know what's going on. I can show him the car and the stroller and he knows we're going somewhere and he'll get to ride in the stroller. They say that eventually this will cut down on his meltdowns. I sure hope so. I'm sick of getting hit all day. He hits me. He goes to time out. He hits me. More time out. His therapist said to keep doing it, but after months of no results I'm thinking that it's not really working. I have no other options at the moment so I plug on.

Caleb's preschool teacher is the one doing the home visits this summer. She comes once a week and is doing an assessment with Caleb. We're going to work on getting him to have more communication skills and she even got him to sit on the potty...TWICE! He's got some sensory issues with sitting on the toilet (when he does go, he stands up--which doesn't quite work for the poo poo situation). She said that you could really tell he didn't like sitting on the potty and she sympathized with my struggle. That made me feel a little better but I'm still picking poop up off the floor everyday. At least Caleb is more fun than a dog.

5 comments:

  1. Hang in there. Summer will (hopefully) go faster than you think. Do you guys have an vacations planned??

    Is it bad that my heart started racing a little when I saw the Target cart?

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  2. We have no vacations planned. Zero. Zip. Zilch. We're going to Philly in Sept. and we might drive down to Oklahoma sometime. My friend from Oklahoma is coming up here with her family...that'll rock.

    About the Target cart...I thought it only appropriate that if I'm going to have to look at a shopping cart picture, it might as well be from Target!

    Don't forget about Gourmet Goddesses tonight! It's at Holmes Lake park 6:30pm--Frozen Desserts.

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  3. All kids have their quirks and I would not tell every stray person on the street that he has autism. Autism is part of Caleb, but it does not define him. (True, it can help explain some of his behaviors). However, some kids are just shy and don't answer questions. Or be really coy and say he doesn't talk to strangers. Or just tell him what you want him to say. N just throws in words like poop, toilet, etc in randomly in conversation in an attempt to be funny.

    Potty training is evil. B was a nightmare and he didn't even have a good excuse. My complete sympathy!

    I saw Diane (forgot her last name, red-head) at the library on Monday. I didn't get to talk to her. She is a "teacher" at Trinity Lutheran's summer program. They were here for a program and she got "picked" to help the clown. It was hilarious.

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  4. I don't even know Diane's last name now. I can't remember. She married a guy from Guatemala. I also wouldn't expect you to remember her maiden name...it's Farquharson. If I go down to OK this summer I should try and look her up. I know where her parents are so that should be easy peasy.

    I like the idea of saying that he doesn't talk to strangers! :)

    Thanks for the pics, Tiff.

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  5. Connie4:53 PM

    Christy,

    I must admit that I don't keep up with your blog regularly, but Eric always tells me about your postings.

    I read through it last night and I'm pretty caught up with it now. I must say that you're a great writer! You should seriously consider writing short stories or something so you can get paid for your efforts (like as if you have time...).

    I have the book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time," and I've moved it up to the top of my "to read" list. Right now I'm in the middle of "Saving Fish from Drowning," by Amy Tan. If you're an Amy Tan fan, it's a good read.

    Anyhow, you've probably already heard of this, but there's a potty chair called "Tinkle Toonz." It plays a song, but only when it senses moisture. Just a thought. I'm no expert on potty training. Maybe one day I too can experience pooh patrol.

    Take care.

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