Utter Autism

August 30, 2007

A visit from Adrian’s great grandparents was a perfect occasion for him to engage in a little friendly conversation. 

I asked him to tell Grandma about our Disney trip.  Adrian responded by ‘telling’ her about some of his favorite rides.  I then asked Adrian, “How do we get to Disney World?”  Without missing a beat he told us, “On Airplane, go to Disney World.”

It’s always fun to watch Adrian communicate with folks outside our immediate family.  We can ask him questions and he’ll answer for us, but it’s all rather contrived.  More often than not, we already know the answers to the questions and he knows we know.  With those outside our immediate family the communication is genuine, purposeful.

With our trip fast approaching, I just added another trip related page for Adrian.  While in Florida we’ll be stopping to visit Adrian’s aunt, uncle and brand new cousin.  I made a page with their picture so we can talk about the visit.  He looked at it today with an expression that said, “Hey, I know her!” 

August 18, 2007

The Airplane

The first time we travelled with Adrian on the plane we weren’t sure what to expect from him.  Like travelling with an infant, there’s a degree of unpredictablility.  Adrian was about 5 years old and we were headed to Disney World for our first family trip. 

Preparedness is my middle name (my husband sometimes thinks it’s Overpreparedness).   We purchased a portable DVD player for Adrian since he liked to watch movies.  We had a huge stock pile of candies, snacks and drinks.  We planned to sit Adrian and hubby behind the girls and I incase he kicked the seats.  I packed some of his favorite books, some small toys and activities.  We took a direct flight out of an airport a few hours away to cut down on travel time.  We taught Adrian signs related to our trip like airplane, ride, train and boat. We talked with him ahead of time about what would happen and showed him pictures and videos of Disney World.  In short, we did everything we could to make the trip go smoothly.

And it did, for the most part.  He was a bit loud occasionally but nothing terrible.  Each trip since has been just as good.  Adrian now knows the airplane takes him to a place he loves so he happily boards.  There’s been incidents along the way – one bathroom incident my husband still can’t talk about other than to say that years later he still hasn’t recovered fully from it.  We’ve dealt with brief tantrums occasionally.  We’ve replaced the DVD player with an MP3 player and cut down on the extra snacks, drinks and clothes we need to take.

Right now, ‘airplane’ is the most used word/button on his device.  He knows that’s the first step in getting to Disney.

August 11, 2007

Camp Pages

Yesterday was the last day of camp 😦

I fully expect Adrian to be up Monday morning making the sign for camp… when I’ll have to remind him camp is finished.  I know he loved going to camp all summer.  He’ll miss the swings (and all the folks who pushed and pushed and pushed him) and especially the swimming! 

Putting camp vocabulary has been on my list of things to do for a while but I didn’t get to it till now.  Adrian’s frustration level is much lower when he’s certain he’s communicating clearly what he wants, even if he can’t have it.  I’m hoping the camp pages will help him in this area.

I’m also hoping that when he goes back to school, he’ll be able to talk about his experiences with his teachers and classmates.   This will be an opportunity to talk about something in the past, a nice change from the majority of his pages which focus on what he wants now.

August 8, 2007

Why didn’t we do it sooner?!

Filed under: Autism, Family Life With Autism, Parenting Autistic Children — Carol @ 10:35 pm

In thinking about ways to help Adrian get the maximum enjoyment out of our upcoming Disney trip we considered his use of noise dampening headphones at school.  Could those help him handle the overwhelming noises at Disney World?

After speaking with his teacher about them, he suggested we simply pick up a pair in the ear protection section of our local hardware store.  I went to purchase them fully expecting to pay a fortune for a product we weren’t even sure he’d use.  I was shocked to find an adjustable, fold-able, perfect pair for less than $20!  It was definitely worth a try!

Now, of course, two weeks later I’m kicking myself for not having thought of this sooner!  Adrian LOVES his new ear phones!  He wears them almost constantly in the car, drowning out the chatter of his little brother that he so often finds annoying.  We have to force them off him when we arrive at camp.  He’d just keep them on if we let him. He even wears them in the house sometimes.

We’ve known forever that Adrian has a hard time with sound.  We know that it’s a source of frustration for him but for some reason we’d never thought to pursue this solution before.  Why?  I don’t know.  I’m just glad we’ve got them now! 🙂

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