Just a little nuts

Just a little nuts
A blog about single parenting & autism

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hide and Seek

I was reading an article about social skills games, and it was really a pretty stupid article (one of those "content" articles hidden on a page of ads) but it gave me a particular light bulb moment when talking about hide and seek as a social skills game involving taking turns and other perspectives. Then it hit me. That's why LS usually will hide in the same place over and over, because she doesn't consider the other perspective, that the other players will probably find her easily if she hides in the same place every time. This realization was particularly amusing when I remembered just yesterday during a playdate with another 7 year old PDD child, when they played half a dozen rounds of hide and seek, each hiding in the same spot under the stairs every time. At the time I didn't get it and was like, "You guys, you're just going to hide in the same place every time? Really???" I couldn't understand how that would be fun. But it sure was to them. If considering the other person's point of view doesn't factor in, then it WAS logically the best place to hide and they could play it over and over the same way with fresh suspense and intrigue on each round.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Growing into our autism

I met up with a friend who always says, "I don't know. She just seems so normal." She says this during the 1-2 hours we hang out, a couple of times per YEAR. Today she said the same stuff, on cue. She asked, "So does she still have that....you know? Has she grown out of it yet?" I wanted to say, "No, and I'm sure glad she hasn't because if it's not autism then we've got some other kind of serious mental illness going on here--and I'm much rather have autism!"

But I'm getting better at handling it, without feeling frustrated or defensive. This friend is also really hard to communicate with due to her adhd that makes her unable to hear more than one sentence at a time before interrupting or wandering away, literally. Hard to sum up the complexities of it all in one sentence! Today I discovered a new tactic to get her to listen longer: just use an example and tell it like a story. So I told her the story of last week when the substitute principal walked LS out to me after school holding her hand, and told me of the day's events that involved LS having a misunderstanding with another student then having a meltdown when the student told on her, then spending the rest of the afternoon in the principal's office. Then finding out that LS's teacher had gone home sick in the middle of the day, and the sub principal was helping out in LS's class. So when LS had the misunderstanding with the other student, there was no one there who knows her to help her problem solve. She relies on adults to help her problem solve troubles with her peers. So with no one there, she went into a full fit. That seemed to hold my friend's attention and satisfy her doubts, for this visit anyway.

But if we had visited longer, or if I could have kept her attention longer, I would have added that the meltdown that day was a rare event since we are going longer and longer in between meltdowns, and I credit this to LS learning coping tools and self control, as well as the staff learning how to help her. Another change is that I am now understanding more about the triggers and what LS needs--in this case her need was a trained adult to help her problem solve. And now I see how that important that is for her overall.

So I guess I'd say to my friend that, no, LS is not growing OUT of anything, but that WE are growing INTO it. Yes, we are growing into our autism.

Friday, January 9, 2015

That is soooo last year

The principal walked LS out after school yesterday. Not a good sign. Turned out to be not a huge deal. I was expecting something really serious. But it was just that LS got upset in class about a disagreement with another student, then laid down kicking and screaming. Meh. Been there, done that. I just thought we were done with that by now. That is soooo last year. So 1st grade. What it took to bring that on was understandable: teacher went home sick midday and there was a sub principal too. Both the classroom sub and sub principal were helping out in LS's class in the afternoon. LS needs adults to help her problem solve, especially adults she trusts on a daily basis. Sudden change is hard. And all hell can break loose. Which it did.

What really bugs me is no matter what LS does, my concerns are completely blown off and disregarded by anyone I tell. "Oh, she's just creative." "Oh, she's just so smart." "Oh, we just love her." "Oh, she's just asserting herself."

Oh, come on!

Because it's like that, until it's not and then I'm suddenly looked upon like, "You need to do something about your kid."

Monday, January 5, 2015

holiday recap

Night and day. On and off. Flip of a switch.

Saturday so mellow and "present" and reasonable. Going out of her way to be helpful and enjoying "being good." We had a calm and successful time building her Minecraft lego village together.

Then came Sunday with no self-control and outbursts and yelling and whining and crying and frantic behavior.

So unpredictable.

The triggers are pretty clear: other people. Specifically, other kids.

At Sunday School: Panicking, frantic reactions if she has to wait her turn to speak in a group. Goes berserk if anyone makes a comment that she claims was what she wanted to say. Flips out if another child wants to say something to the teacher when LS believes she has the floor (which is always). I was on desk duty near the kid's classes at church that day so I could hear LS's outbursts, averaging about every 2 minutes. Even with the reminders that we'd go to the library to play Minecraft if she was good, she just couldn't pull it off.

Minecraft is a trigger too because it's the current intense obsession. The peak of the intense interests seem to correspond with the worst behavior problems.

Lately she's frantic and consumed with her "Minecraft time" which she gets after school and after homework. She is also frantic and consumed by the red light on the tablet because it doesn't charge well and if it doesn't charge enough then that means her "night time" music on it won't play all night, which sends her into a full panic. Even though it's not a big deal because we can just plug it in by her bed....

Today there was no Minecraft time because she came at me after school crying and sobbing and wailing, claiming her friend was mean and spit at her. I saw this friend and asked what happened and the friend said that LS had said, "My dad will smack you" or something like that. LS had left out that part of course.

LS lies.

Just flat out lies.

So I never know what to believe.

At work all day I didn't feel stressed out at all, even though I was multitasking and busy. But the second I picked up LS my blood pressure was up and I was instantly so stressed and upset by her crying and sobbing and because I wanted to go inside to look for her lunch box she was demanding, "Will it waste my Minecraft time?!" repetitively and with increasing frenzy.

So the new rule is that if she comes out of school upset like that, then no Minecraft. And if she asks, "Will it waste my Minecraft time?", then no Minecraft time.

Winter break was long. So long. And we had to go to two different daycare sites due to low enrollment issues. That didn't help. The staff reported LS had a hard time with her emotions and with other kids.

She does okay at home when it's just us. But then she zones out playing Minecraft or watching it on youtube, and at least she's quiet, but I know it's not good for her to have so much screen time.

But if she's not playing Minecraft or watching it on youtube then she's following me around doing the monkey or squirrel perseveration that goes like (lately it's the monkey):

"The monkey wants a banana."
"The monkeys are staring at you."
"You are living with a monkey for the rest of your life."
"Look at this monkey." (demanding I look at her)
"Two little monkeys sitting in a tree, KISSING, first comes love..." (and the whole bit, over and over)

And during all of it she makes a monkey face and loud jungle sounds and pretends to climb the walls and I can't get through to her. She just goes into character and she's gone and I am sharing the house with a lunatic. That's what it's like in the mornings before school because there's no Minecraft weekday mornings.

So yeah, that's why I let her play Minecraft so much, for the quiet
and for my sanity.