Utter Autism

June 5, 2007

Swingin’ in the Rain

The car is at the shop and they hope to have it done by Friday. 

I don’t really miss driving Adrian back and forth to school.  It takes 20-25 minutes to get there, a few minutes to drop him off or pick him up and 20-25 minutes to drive home again.  That means I spend about 2 hours of each day driving and picking him up.  It wears on you after a while.

I don’t think Adrian minds having a couple of days off either.  He’s been playing on the computer and playing with figures and cars with Zee.  It’s rained most of the past three days, but that hasn’t deterred him from using his new device to tell us he’d rather be swinging.  Of course, he knows it’s raining and we can’t, so giggles usually accompany the request.  I showed him where to locate the weather vocabulary and he quickly noted it was “rainy, rainy, rainy.”

The rain stopped briefly today, he noticed and asked to swing again.  So we waded through the wet grass and mud so he could get a little swinging in before the rain came back.  Hopefully sunny days are ahead.

I used some of the built-in ‘visual scenes’ to program things he might want to say about various rooms in the house.  These scenes show a picture of the room rather than a grid of buttons.  By clicking on various parts of the picture he can talk about those objects or activities. 

One new thing I’ve been showing him is the microwave.  Adrian sometimes leaves his food till it’s cold, then puts it in the microwave for us to reheat.  Problem is, sometimes we don’t realize he’s put it in there!  So I’ve programmed the ‘microwave’ to offer him phrases like, “It’s in there” and “Turn it on” and “Make it hot”.  

Adrian obsesses about the kitchen sink.  When the dishwasher is on, the sink will gurgle.  It drives him nuts.  To drown out the sound and stop the gurgle he turns the faucet on.  He also obsesses about the temperature of the tap.  The water has to be running cold – always.  If we turn the water to hot, he’ll run the cold water till the faucet is cold to the touch before turning it off.  To give him ways of talking about these things I’ve programmed the sink to say things like “sink noises” and “cold water, please”. 

Adrian has been exploring some of the newer pages here and there, trying out various buttons to see what they do.  Part of the reason a device like this is such a good choice for Adrian is because he’s so comfortable in the computer environment.  He seems to have an intuition about where to click to get him where he wants to go.  He mastered the icons at the top of the screen faster than I did!

Things are going pretty well here at home, I just can’t wait to get things swinging at school too 🙂

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