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Oh you sneaky one!

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier today, I heard my husband exclaiming loudly in the living room. He was sorting out the music CDs and discovered that many of them had the CDs missing. The missing CDs were all tucked away in Lucas‘ room amid his other children’s DVDs.

Lucas loves music of any kind.

He’d get into the car, buckle up, and ask for the radio to be turned on (if it wasn’t already).

Home from school, straight to room and the music player comes on.

When he watches TV, it’s perpetually tuned to MTV.

When Adam Lambert performed on American Idol (S8) and now James Durbin on Season 9, he’d run out from his room, clap and dance.

He can identify the song he wants to listen to (or not) by the first few notes, and he taught himself to play the first two bars of “Happy Birthday” on the keyboard by ear.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that he would help himself to our music CDs. It’s how he does it.

Our CDs are kept in a drawer in the cabinet where the TV and other multimedia devices sit. There’s a portable fan that’s positioned in front of it. To open the drawer, you need to move the fan.

I first realised that Lucas was taking the CDs out when in the early mornings when he wakes up before we do, I could hear a slight squeak which is emitted when the fan is moved. Once I got out of bed to check, and Lucas was standing guiltily by the fan and pretending to turn on the TV! At first glance into the drawer, nothing appears missing. But I could tell when he has removed CDs by the different music he plays in his room, and also by the tell-tale signs of haphazard stacking of the covers. This doesn’t bother me; in fact I am rather pleased.

So, as my husband shook his head in resignation as he opened empty CD cover after empty CD cover (total of about 50), I couldn’t stop laughing!

Being sneaky is a high level functioning behaviour, I told him.

Anyway, we agreed to turn it into a learning task by having Lucas match CDs with their covers and returning them to the drawer. And he can do this every couple of months.

Categories: Autism, Family

My son’s upset with me & I’m happy about it!

April 10, 2011 Leave a comment

No, I’m not a mean person. I don’t relish in other people’s unhappiness.

But when you live with someone with autism, anything that deviates from the person’s ‘normal’ behaviour is a cause for examination, hope, and even, celebration. For sometimes, it means that there’s a form of breakthrough, and perhaps this is the one that would tip the scales in your/their favour from now on.

In general, Lucas is a happy boy, and he loves to travel. We are blessed as he’s very well behaved and it’s very easy for us to bring him overseas on vacation. He doesn’t complain about long plane rides or the waiting or the long queues (Mom is usually the one grumbling). He loves beach holidays and is happiest in the pool or walking on the sand along the beach.

He has come to associate certain things with holidays – luggages being the most obvious ‘clue’ to him. He would also watch us when we pack, to see what goes into the luggage. When I used to travel for work previously, Lucas would stay with his grandparents which he doesn’t mind.

Last week, my husband had to go on a short work trip, and I decided to accompany him. As Lucas had school, I decided not to bring him with us. So I explained to him earlier in the day that he would have to stay at his grandparents’ place for a couple of nights.

We took a cab to the departure centre, and enroute, dropped Lucas off at the grandparents’. Throughout the cab ride, Lucas sat staring out of the backseat window moodily. I knew he was upset as he was disinterested in the music playing in the background, and when I prodded him in the ribs (which usually cause him to chuckle), he merely ignored me. Not a smile could be seen.

When we reached my parents’ place, he reluctantly waved goodbye and walked off. I learned when I returned that he took a long time to settle down that evening for bed. Instead he kept pointing to pictures of me at home.

Fortunately, his moodiness didn’t last long and his teacher reported that he was his usual happy self the next day. And just as thankfully, when we returned two days later, he was thrilled to have us home and to be back in his own home.

Most parents out there would say that it’s usual for children to miss their parents when they are apart and that this is normal. And that is precisely why I’m pleased about it – because it is a normal. Previously, it would never have bothered Lucas when we travel without him. If he was bothered, he had never shown it.

Now I hope that one day soon, I’d have to actually call him each day that I’m away to tell him that ‘Mom is coming home soon’.

Categories: Autism