Friday, May 26, 2006

Persistant Speech

One of the joys of Joey is he has "persistant speech"- this is a form of echolalia where he repeats phrases over and over and over and over and over and over... and it takes some getting used to. In fact, it grates on nerves even when you know its coming. Its a greaqt reminder not to cuss in front of him- because you'll likely hear it coming back at you again... and again... and again... and again...

The phrase of the hour right as I am writing this is "oops! derailed!" He heard this watching the DVD we made of the beach trip. Its actually not as annoying as phrases he repeats when he's upset. Sometimes you just wish he wouldn't scream "Joey, NO!" over and over again after trying something dangerous. I feel bad enough about having to raise my voice, having it echoed ad nauseum certainly doesn't help my nerves. Then there's "take it easy, Joey!" At least that one I feel like he's trying to calm himself down.

There must be some way to break him out of the downward spiral of persistant speech, but I haven't found it. Anything I do just makes it worse, and increases the volume. Yeeks!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Normal problems

When your life is whirlwind, sometimes its nice to realize that a little breeze is a normal thing. Sometimes I'm thankful for wierd things, I guess. I often think how lucky I am to have my Joey and my Andy. They are both little sweethearts, with big blue eyes and hugs to share. Sometimes I think how lucky we are with Joey. For all the problems and storms we are living through, Joey is really not too bad off. He's got a real shot at living a normal life in the long run (provided I do the needful now). So many of the other kids in Joey's school won't have that chance. But most often, I am hit with the realization that a problem I am having with Joey is a normal problem- a problem any parent would have, and I find myself grateful for it- for the problem. A normal problem means a normal kid. The more normal problems I have, the better.

So many of Joey's problems are automatically attributed to his disability. Granted, his disability often exacerbates an otherwise normal problem. He melts down faster, he had some sensory issues, but by and large, I feel like many of Joey's specialists and teachers either forget he is disabled, or the over-atrribute to disability. Joey is four years old. Normal four year olds don't like bedtime. They dislike broccoli. They don't want to leave Chuck E. Cheese's. They want the same story read over and over. They want to watch TV all afternoon. These are normal problems. Hallelujah, my child is four! Most four year olds need transition cues. Joey may need more than other kids, but needing cues is normal. Most four-year-olds have foods they dislike, Joey just has more than usual- but wanting to eat M&C every night for a week is a normal toddler/preschooler behavior.

So I often try to keep in mind what Joey's teacher told me last year: it really doesn't matter what's normal and what's the autism, as long as we teach Joey was is appropriate and what is not. Inappropriate behaviors need to go away, even if they are normal for his age; appropriate behaviors need to be encouraged, no matter his disability.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Things that make life good (Part One)

Joey's face just above mine, saying "Good Morning, Momma!"
Boy trains
Trying to find something under the sofa, and suddenly having a boy on your back.
Two little guys in a kissy mood.
Click, clack, moo...
The soft squeak of a floorboard around 6:30 am, and you know it isn't the cat coming to see if you are awake yet.
Whaaaaa... Da!
Two giggles from the top of the stairs.
Placing a bowl of Carl's ice cream into expectant fingers.
Boy hog
Waltzing Mathilda... Wheels on the Bus... One, Two, Buckle My Shoe... Garden, Garden, G-G-G...
Get the Kitty!
Little fingers trying to tickle me
Little head against my knees, lounging on the couch to the sights and sounds of the beach
Counting to 29.
Two boys leaping from the couch to the floor pillows
Sometimes it looked like a... but it wasn't a...
It's an owl
Two boys bouncing to the door when Daddy comes home