Originally Posted Sunday, August 11, 2013
“#Autism: with their “exuberant” natures they are anomalies in society”
Anomaly: someone or something that is abnormal or incongruous, or does not fit in; an anomalous person or thing: Synonyms: abnormality, exception, peculiarity.
Questions to consider while reading this:
What do you as a parent, caregiver, or professional do when faced with an Autism Anomaly?
How do you handle it?
What “exactly” happens during your “breaking points?”
I must admit that my first few encounters with Jr’s anomalies were “extremely embarrassing and unacceptable.” I couldn’t believe that my child was behaving “that way.”
I remained livid as long as I was “embarrassed” by Jr. Once I realized that the “noise making, feet tapping, or slight touches to my arms” were “self soothing” behaviors that he “has to do” in order to appear “normal or calm;” I became content and confident “in what he could do” versus what he could not do.
I thought to myself “who cares” what others think? Do you care what people think about you or knowing that you have Bipolar? No! Okay then, Tiffany, so continue to raise Jr with that same level of confidence and he’ll be fine.
Honestly, there are still times where I’m uncompromising regarding his self soothing behavior, that’s because “to my core” I desire to “conform him” at least enough where he appears normal.
I don’t like the idea or action of people “staring at or singling out” Jr. So parts of me is trying, despite the fact that I’ve accepted some things about Jr will never cease to exist (just like me having Bipolar), they may improve or even change; but they won’t go away entirely.
Now to answer the questions I posed earlier. Usually, Jr’s anomalies comes in the forms of “the superhero sounds or impulsive laughter that’s borderline hysterical and his hyperactivity.” Now when he makes the sounds if he’s at home in his room, I always ask him “are you talking to someone in your head, that’s invisible or just talking out loud about what you’re doing or watching?” As long as he replies: “Mommy I’m just talking out loud!” I don’t worry myself about “his fantasies” because I know that’s a self soothing behavior and despite the fact that “technically” talking out loud (aloud) in a room where you’re alone, is “talking to yourself/the voices in your head.”
I don’t know a person that hasn’t “talked to themselves” especially when sorting out a problem. It doesn’t become an issue in my opinion until you’ve reached a state of “delusion.” Where your “inner voice” becomes your outward attitude and demeanor (like schizophrenics).
For myself, now that my husband is working I have “quiet time or me time” daily. However due to my family household makeup I have to still be on alert, for the forseeable future. I take naps each day, I take baths as often as I need to just so I can de-stress. I haven’t gone out for a drink, manicure/pedicure in quite some time, however that’s another great past time for me. I listen to music when irritated. I turn the TV off in my room and Jr’s so we can nap or have “quiet time” to read or brainstorm to increase our “strength and brain power ((intellect))” as I tell Jr. I sometimes will “imagine” that I’m on vacation, I set the mood in my room by lighting my candles, tart wax melts, drinking some wine, playing my music, while looking at homes online or on TV. Usually I journal while I’m imagining as well.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- WHILE AT SCHOOL: If your child is experiencing hyperactivity while at school, you must have a list of things the teacher can do to assist in calming your child. Things can be “allowing them to put their head down in a quiet area (most times located outside the classroom) or allow them to go into an area and read or play independently. Sometimes they have to go outside and “release” excess energy.
- YOU MAY HAVE TO HOME SCHOOL now some children on the Autism Spectrum CAN NOT endure the chaos the school environment establishes and maintains. Some schools, even those that have state of the art equipment, highly trained professionals “can’t” deal with or quarantine a child’s episode. They have no idea what to do and some of them will basically “harass” you as the parent bombarding you with questions “as to what to do” when their “trained professionals.” I ponder the thought periodically of home schooling Jr. It hasn’t gotten to my “breaking point” where I need to home school him; however I will know by middle school if that’s needed for him to maintain some consistency. So far he’s done well in a regular classroom setting. There are days where he’s too overwhelmed to go to school so he stays home and I send a note that he needed a “mental health day.” Don’t be afraid to keep your child home, especially if you can afford to stay home with them. They need to de-stress also.
- DRINKING TEA is great not only for calming, but it helps if they have a cold or sinusitis; be careful though, because tea can also cause hyperactivity in some children.
- QUIET TIME AND NAPS are also great. When your child is “hyperactive” or simply “irritating” to you, it’s okay to feel “bothered” you’re human! Put them down for a nap, I don’t care how old they are. If you have to time the nap for 30 minutes to 2 hours, use your cellphone, clock, etc.. and set the timer and “make them” take a nap. “Make them” speaks to demanding that they remained in the area where their nap is to take place. They don’t necessarily have to “go to sleep” but they need to be laying down (like daycare) quietly for the allocated time. **I take a nap daily, whether Jr does or not. The times so about 10% of the time I’ll use that time to brainstorm or catch up on housework, house affairs, or pertinent personal matters**
- EXERCISE AND DIET is extremely important! I find that when Jr goes outside and runs/plays he is “calmer” when he returns home. What we have to remember is that their “sensory and touch issues” causes stress therefore “enduring and overcoming” those challenges every moment of each day is “stressful” therefore stress relievers are mandatory. Diet is also important, beware of foods like “cheese, chicken hotdogs (hotdogs), bologna, eggs, and sugar” these are foods that can cause high cholesterol, diabetes and more. Also check with your Pediatrician regarding the amount of protein in your child’s urine after age 3. The protein levels are what you should monitor, to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy balanced diet.
- ARTISTIC EXPRESSION: WRITING OR DRAWING for those who can, and especially those who aren’t verbal or are unintelligibly verbal at this point. Writing/drawing has “afforded me an inside look” into the heart and mind of Jr. He’s quite “extroverted” when writing or drawing. For a long time, his drawings were all about “Ironman, Spiderman, Astroboy, etc..” that I became embarrassed and irritated. However, I must say “it’s all in time.” Jr had to “see the purpose and benefit” to him drawing things outside of his “fantasies.” Placing him in school alongside other children that he could learn from assisting in “making the connection.”
- ELECTRONICS (Again this is individualized) some children may greatly benefit from the use of electronics, while others may increase their introversion and fantasies as a result. Again it’s all in time and moderation. Too much of anything can be bad. I suggest “opening your minds” and sacrificing your time and “observing” them on the computer, start out with 15 mins, then 30 mins, 60 mins and I don’t allow Jr to play with any electronics for more than “2 hour” intervals. It’s increased to 2 hour intervals because he’s “highly advanced” in the use of computers. Plus he needs that time to disengage, from watching tv, because unfortunately we don’t go outside very often; especially during the summer months. It’s either too hot and Jr hates to sweat (he always says he can feel it on his skin — the sweat); the firetrucks irritate him where he still tenses up when they ride past; we have sinusitis so allergies are an issue that makes us miserable; the list goes on…. **Again during this time I use the down time to catch up on housework, house affairs, or personal pertinent matters, it’s rare that I’m sleeping while he’s on the computer. It’s rare because I like to take notes (brainstorm for my blog/book/philanthropy) about what he’s learning and doing.
- FAMILY OUTINGS/SOCIALIZING this is “essential” in their development and progress. They need to “feel and witness” acts of love and kindness consistently. At one time Jr didn’t like for me to kiss on him, he didn’t say I love you back, he kept his fist balled up and his face frowned. Now my son tells me when I look pretty, he kisses me all the time, especially when he’s being manipulative, he hugs me, he wrestles with his father, he tickles his father and I and much more… Jr loves spending time with his father and I, because his 1/2 siblings are technically “non-factors” in his life. They exist (in his heart and mind) but they aren’t active in that existence; because of their age difference, upbringings, false sense of entitlement and envy regarding Jr. When Jr is bored in his room and we haven’t planned to visit with a friend, family member, or have an outing; he’ll join us in our room for movie time, he’ll help his father cook, he’ll help me with housework and more. I encourage socializing, especially with girls, because I don’t want Jr to become dependent on his father and I for a social life. I need him to understand he “has to relate” to people in the world, even if he doesn’t “allow them into his little piece of the world.” MAKE THIS HAPPEN, TAKE A DAY OFF, QUIT YOUR JOB AND START YOUR OWN BUSINESS SO YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE, DEACTIVATE ALL YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS, I DON’T CARE HOW, WHEN, WHERE OR WITH WHO YOU DO IT; BUT DO THIS CONSISTENTLY!!!!!
- EMPOWER DON’T ENABLE: THE PATH TO INDEPENDENCE I don’t believe in “disabling” those that have already been labeled disabled. Meaning I’m not enabling Jr or anyone else’s child diagnosed with any condition to be disabled. I’m all about “the power of empowerment!” WE MUST empower our children! It is our duty to empower them and assist them in establishing and maintaining some level if not complete independence. I’m fully aware that “some” children may become adults that require assistance. Well let’s NOT focus on the “maybe” and let’s deal with the “now!” I believe that with hard work dedication and sacrifice, our children WILL supersede even our dreams for them! Jr’s only 7yrs old and while he still can’t tie his own shoe; he can dress himself completely, bathe himself, he can clean himself after having a bowel movement but I still have to assist him in wiping; because he says it’s stinky and nasty.. LOL Duh! He can feed himself (he has since he was 6 months old), he can take 2 -4 step directions with little to no assistance needed to complete them; he can initiate conversation, he can make a joke. He assists me with the house work and earns an allowance that he can spend on his treats like McDonalds, the movies, toys, etc… I had chores and an allowance at 7yrs old myself; I used to earn $20 a week. Once we received recycle bins, I earned $30 a week. That was big money! That carried on until I was 12yrs old; at 16yrs old I obtained my first job and I haven’t looked back since. Jr sets his own timers on his TV for shows that he’d like to watch, he writes on the calendar or has me to set an appt in my Blackberry calendar for movies that he’d like to see at the movie theatre or from Redbox. Jr understands that his education is top priority to his father and I. If he does that “to the best of his abilities” then we will continue to provide his needs; his wants must be earned via “responsibilities.” I explained to Jr that children have “chores” which is equal to a grown up carrying out “job duties” because technically when you think about it, job duties are chores that you carry out “for the greater good” you do a lot of work for a little bit of nothing and in most cases no recognition or reward is given to you, outside of the earned income.
I encourage you to “pay close attention” to YOUR child or the children in your care. Learn “what sets them off.” Learn what “intrigues and entertains them.” Learn most importantly what “soothes” them.
I hope this helps. Take care.