Today is my sweet Adam’s birthday. Many would find our use of “sweet” an anomoly, since he frightens most people with his intense personality (because of how autism affects him). But, when you get to know him by loving him and learning with him, you fall in love. (A young lady from our church just discovered that this summer as she worked with him while on university break. She adores him now.) Anyway, he’s 14. My unique son had a unique birthday.
It started off as a normal day. We were able to go two days in a row now with “working”, as we call it . . . where he will do some activities with me, some academic, some language, some pleasure, etc. For instance, the agenda today was clean room, math (one of his favorite subjects), switching attention (mixing between asking what’s an opposite, what’s another word for, and what rhymes with with one word . . . so, a language activity), spelling (another favorite subject), read aloud (a short story Sleeping Beauty today . . . Disney being a huge favorite of his as well), scriptures (he has learned to “mark” them simply by underlining them with various colored pencils), piano (still at 5 finger playing, but he loves music), and riding his bike (which he just learned to do . . . he went down to the stop sign today).
Afterward, we drove to Wal-mart so he could pick out a birthday present. He wanted a video game. He chose “The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King” . . . that latter part seems to be important to include . . . for Game Boy Advance. While there, as a spur of the moment decision since we were passing through the birthday party aisle, I asked Adam if he wanted some birthday blowers and balloons. He excitedly pointed to the mylar balloons and asked for one of those . . . an Elmo one. I happily agreed, and grabbed some of the blowers and blow up balloons as well.
Upon arriving home, Abbey helped set him up with GBA and his new game, while Eric was finishing up baking Adam’s birthday cake: chocolate/chocolate. Alex then announced he wanted to spend his earned money on Papa John’s cheese sticks . . . his favorite food, as is Adam’s, and wanted to buy a whole one just for Adam for his birthday. Usually, when it’s pizza night, I get a cheese stick and the two of them split it. Alex kept it a secret and upon returning from picking it up with his sister, went upstairs to “surprise Adam” with his birthday present for him. Adam was indeed surprised, especially to be getting a whole one to himself. You could tell from his face and eyes that he was appreciative of his brother’s generosity.
Within a short time, we called Adam down to sing happy birthday and have him blow out his candles. This is an important event, as Adam wouldn’t understand that he was a different age without being able to count the candles on the cake, and have the birthday song sung to him. It’s his prompt that he has to change the age in which he responds to the question, “How old are you?” He grins from ear to ear when he gets sung the happy birthday song and is privileged to blow out the candles of his own cake. He eagerly took a slice of cake up to his hideaway (his bedroom, along with the cheese sticks and GBA).
This was a good birthday, indeed, Adam-style.
Anna helping Adam learn to wash his own face and hands, then brush his teeth, but Adam periodically having fun spraying the water everywhere instead: