Saturday, 27 August 2011

All About Ryan

About 12 months ago my eldest "Aspie", Ryan, started to become very aware that he was different to most of his peers. This was having a negative effect as he assumed the problems he was having at school both in the classroom and in the playground were because he was "stupid". Not matter how much I assured him this was not the case he was confused and angry and his already low self esteem was taking a beating. Thankfully at the time I had both boys enrolled in ASPECTS (Autism Spectrum Australia) Building Blocks program and had one of their teachers, Sylvia, available to ask advice.

Sylvia had been working with us for almost 6 months at this time and had quickly become my BFF! She was amazing. Within a month of our first meeting our house was totally set up with Visual Schedules, Calendars, Emotion and Noise- Thermometers and they were working. For the first time ever I felt like I had a way of helping my children cope with their anxiety.

Sylvia decided that it was time for us to tell Ryan he had Autism. I was terrified this would make him feel even worse about himself but she assured me that if it was done properly it would give him the answers he was looking for.

We spent our next two appointments discussing Ryan and his interests as well as his strengths and weaknesses.
She then made both an electronic and hardcopy of Ryans very own "All About Me" book


Then we all sat down for a chat. Ryan, Sylvia, Pete(my Husband) and I. We gave him his book and went through it in great detail. We then let him ask any questions he had about Autism. He had a few...How did I get it? Can I die from Autism? Does anyone else have it? Will I always have it?
We tried to answer his questions as positively as possible. Then the best part. Ryan got to finish his electronic book by choosing colours and pictures and also adding people who could help him.

I have to say this was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and it took a huge effort to not let Ryan see how emotional I was. I don't know if was fear of his reaction or that it made it just a bit more real, more permanent?

Telling Ryan about his diagnosis turned out to be the best thing. He already knew he was different and once he found out what was making him that way,and that there were other people just like him, he started to accept himself a little bit more.

He even got up in front of his class with his All About Me book we had laminated for him and had his teacher read it to his classmates. This was his idea. Ryan asked me if he could tell people and I told him it was his decision who he wanted to tell. He said he wanted everyone to know because no one understood him. Ryans teacher still talks about that day and I  had many parents come up to me to say their child came home and told them about it and how wonderful they thought Ryan was and also that it helped their child become more excepting of Ryans unusual and often distracting behaviours.In fact instead of laughing at Ryan and talking about what he's doing his classmates have taken it upon themselves to help Ryan stay regulated. They do lovely things like rub his back or get his weighted lab bag for him when they see him getting "jiggly".  Their response to Ryans diagnosis has given me hope for the future and encouraged me to be open and honest about my boys with everyone.

So Ryan carried his All About Me book with him EVERYWHERE for about 2 months, and very proudly told anyone who would listen "Do you know I have Autism?" Turns out this is an excellent conversation starter, great for a child who has immense trouble initiating conversation.
Ryan still sometimes says he's stupid and struggles with his self esteem, he probably always will but I hope we've helped him understand himself a little bit more and we will continue to work on teaching him the skills he needs to make his way in this world. I only wish I could follow him always and tell everyone he meets what an amazing and special person he is and how lucky they are to know him.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Very Bad Day

 I went out last night. I gave myself a night off and spent it helping my Mum celebrate her Birthday. Seemed like a great idea at the time, but now? Not so much.

Aspies don't like changes to their routine and me not being home with them is a big change. Heck I am their routine! So today I am facing the consequences of my actions..

We've had meltdowns. Alot of meltdowns. Now, my meltdown warning system has been on high alert for a couple of years now...I can usually spot one coming and diffuse it's power with one of my many meltdown busting tools. But not today. 

I made this

So Ryan could do this

 But then this happened

So the thing I did to avoid a meltdown actually ended up causing one.

Then I cut Pierces toast into triangles when I know he only eats it cut in squares and forgot to turn the power point on when I plugged Ryans iPod into charge and a heap of other things that shouldn't really matter but on a day like today were massive, huge, big deal type things.

I have surrendered. I have given Ryan string, sticky tape and chocolate. Pierce has unlimited screen time.
I have survived, weary but wiser. Some times "time off"... isn't!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Party Pooper!

My 6 year old Pierce is a Party Pooper. He HATES parties...and theme parks and swimming pools and school excursions. In fact anything that  most kids love, Pierce hates!
I was reminded of Pierces loathing while discussing Ryan's upcoming  8th Birthday party on the way to school this morning.(these details I will save for another time because I have a feeling Ryans Birthday is going to be totally deserving it's very own Blog)
The instant the words Birthday-Party left my lips I was greeted with the familiar sound of Pierce in Grouch mode..."Great, another party! I'M NOT COMING!!
Now I am quite ok that two of my children have Aspergers, but I have been known to completely ignore this fact. One such occasion was Pierces 6th birthday.
In my defence I will  add that it was Pierces first year at school and it had been a HUGE effort getting him ready for this transition, two and a half years to be precise,but we did it, and I was still feeling a little smug.
So, I decided Pierce would be having his VERY first Birthday Party, that we would invite A LOT of children and that he WOULD HAVE FUN.
Pierce did agree to the party and even decided on the venue- Hungry Jacks,because" that's where you have your party when you're in Kindergarten" (His two big brothers had theirs there so it must be so).
Next came the guest list, our first hiccup.
Me-"who do you want at your party Pierce?"
Pierce- "No one."
Me-"You must want someone?"
Pierce-"ok you can invite Shaun."
I decided to compromise and only invited 27 of his new class mates.
How did it go?
Pierce was in one of his full blown Aspergic (not a word but it should be) moods...
There were meltdowns , rude comments about presents that weren't to his liking and why would anyone buy me THAT? Fixating on presents that he did like(Lego men), very little socialising (he spent an hour of the party  inside sitting at a table with my dad ignoring everyone), more meltdowns because he was hungry and the party plan involved games BEFORE food (Pierce hates party games too) and lastly an unfortunate incident involving ice-cream cake, Pierce hiding under the table with hands over ears while everyone sang happy Birthday and my 7 year old Aspie Ryan, having a sudden sugar rush from the soft drink I didn't know he had been drinking, leaping on to the table and grabbing at his crotch while wildly pelvic thrusting like a rock star in the middle of a sell out performance!
Yes we Morgans sure know how to party...
Will we do it all again next year?Probably not, though when I asked Pierce if he thought he would like another Birthday party he said...
"Yes, but no ones coming!"

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Rules According To...

So I'm bloggging ....finally, at last and about time! The most interesting thing about this so far is that my computers spell check does not recognise blogging  but instead gives me options such as - bogging, logging, boggling and slogging...
 Aspergers rules???  took along time to decide on a name and this one appeared almost like a vision...or maybe  it is just the day I've had?
Two of my four children have Aspergers. I am sure you will get to know them all as we go but anyone who knows anyone with Aspergers knows there are ALOT of rules!? Theirs and mine...
Todays rules are -
NEVER EVER go grocery shopping with more then one child and especially never with more then one Aspie. This is a recipe for disaster. Also do not think that by listing non acceptable Aspie behaviours before you go shopping means they will not  indulge in said" noone is allowed to slide down the aisles because it feels nice OR tell me I am a liar because I said grocery shopping wouldn't take long and it did"
Don't take Aspies to a friends house they have never been to with lots of people they don't know and expect them to act "normal"...They can't and they won't!
And my favourite rule and the one I live by- Do love your Aspies unconditionally and appreciate them for their honesty, intelligence and ability to keep you true to your word and most importantly(in my home anyway) on time.
 Aspies Rule OK?