Here I go trying to get my blogging habit going . . . again. Only time will tell when my efforts will stick 🙂 I thought it would be fun to target various children in my focus for my posts if I don’t have a personal inspired thought for the day. Today, I thought I would start with Adam because he did something we all dropped our jaws over the other day. In fact, I had to laugh because my instinct was to tiptoe around the situation, pretending that if I didn’t put a spotlight on it, it would stick around a while longer . . . LOL! So, what am I talking about.
Adam, who is 15 years old, and struggles with autism on a minutely basis, has taken to withdrawing from the family for the most part over the past several or more years. He is very comfortable around his father and I so will hang out between his own bedroom (one of the few with their own) and our bedroom, connecting on a consistent basis. As for most of the other children, he avoids them . . . the younger ones because they agitate him because he can’t predict their behaviors, and the older ones, because they are usually around where the little ones are . . . LOL! So, to come out into the main family area during peak hours is rare. Instead, he peeks his head out his door to request food every so often . . . thus, why his nickname became “His Majesty” . . . LOL! . . . or to request a parent or older sibling to do something with him.
It would take a lot to explain the ins and outs about how and why things happen, but just suffice it to say that Adam and Alex (13 years old and living with autism) are autistically at odds right now. It happened when they were about 2 and 4 years old, and started again around 12 and 14 years old. Probably another year and they could be through it, with a little help from me. And, that’s what I started the other day. Alex has come a long way in understanding his own and others’ behaviors, including Adam’s, with a LOT of talking and explaining from me to him, and a lot of talking through relaxation techniques in order that he doesn’t go into a meltdown himself over their behavioral differences.
So, Adam doesn’t want Alex to be outside when he is, and lately, Adam has taken to wanting to be outside more since moving to the country, and so has Alex. Naturally, Alex doesn’t want to be dictated whether he can be outside just because his brother does, so I decided to implement a plan that entered my mind. I explained to Alex that although he is the younger brother, he has more abilities than his older brother, and in order to create a different relationship, he would need to be the one to initiate a rebuilding of their interactions as he proved to Adam that he could be trusted through maintaining his composure no matter what Adam says. Alex seemed game, so we rehearsed what he could say, and what Adam might do in reaction behaviorally, and how Alex could respond.
So, Alex approached Adam who was waiting on the trampoline for his sister, and sure enough, Adam closed his eyes and started insisting that Alex leave. Alex courageously and calmly stood his ground and waited for a silence and initiated, “Adam, I want to be your best friend.” Hhhmm, he added “best” in the suggested sentence . . . interesting 🙂 Alex had to repeat this a couple times for Adam to really hear him since he will often shut down all his senses when he feels like he might become overwhelmed in someone’s presence. I helped Alex keep his composure through Adam’s ignoring and other behaviors and Adam dared to peek and see that Alex was being calm still. Then, I leaned over and suggested that Alex ask Adam a question about what he was wanting . . . “Do you want to bounce with Abbey?” Adam replied calmly, “Yes.” And then Alex stated he would go inside now so Adam could bounce with Abbey.
Alright, I figured that was a good start, and if we do something like that every day, maybe their interactions would become less suspicious of one another and maybe they could start being in the same room together again. So, what to my wondering eyes did I see a few hours later? Adam came downstairs (after returning to the house and to his room, as usual) and sat down in a chair and watched his oldest brother, Eric, play video games in the main room of the house . . . during prime time peak hours! Happily! With Eric (who has a similar history with Adam, who couldn’t tolerate Eric’s voice for several years before he left for a year, which seems to have broken that pattern to a large degree, thanks to some things Eric did when he returned to help lessen the previous effects, bless his soul). Adam stayed there for about a half hour! And Alex walked in, and he was fine! I was shocked. Everyone was shocked. We walked around like you would when you see a deer in the woods and don’t want to frighten it away . . . LOL!
My hubby arrived home from work and I met him on his walk in and prepared him for a surprise, but warned him not to be too shocked or “scare him away”. He walked in, saw, and his jaw dropped. I even went and got a picture. I know! Sounds silly, but unless someone lives with autism to the degree we do, you have no idea 🙂 Here’s the captured moment!