Sunday, November 7, 2010

A "Wait and See" Approach

Sounds much more simple than it actually is. But I'll tell you, it seems to be working. When he was smaller, I felt myself getting the creeps, every time I discussed Tallen with the "expert" from our local school system. I never liked the idea of subjecting him to things that bothered him over and over, so he would develop tolerance for them. I sent him to preschool for one day and discovered that he was given "quiet time" because he preferred to read the signs around the gym, instead of joining in play with the others. For the record, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. He was practically born with a compulsion to read absolutely any word that crosses his path and I had explained this to them ahead of time.

Anyway, I kept him home and turned him loose with a computer. I have subscriptions to a couple of the paid online home schools and many of the free resources. Honestly, I have just tried my best to feed his need for knowledge in every way possible.He often gets obsessed with certain subjects and is able to research each of them, until he is satisfied that he's exhausted all avenues. He is an amazing reader that can tell you just about anything you would like to know about Space, trees, the human anatomy, China, Africa, and on and on. He just turned 7 years old!

Without ever once bombarding him with things that he had severe aversions to, I have still found myself with a child that no longer screams when the vacuum is on. A child that actually wears clothes all the time now. A child that I can now have a one on one conversation with, while he looks me in the eye. He does still have some issues with social cues and walks on his toes, but that is it. Otherwise, he is just an amazing little boy that wows people with conversations about things that are way beyond their understanding. It just goes to show, the "experts" do not know everything. Sometimes, a parent just needs to follow their gut instinct.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I've come to the conclusion that...

"Asperger's is merely Angel speak for "blessing".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review ~ SmartKnitKIDS® Seamless Sensitivity Socks,

If you have a child with sensitivity issues, I think you may find this review, posted on one of my other blogs, to be helpful.

Tallen, More Than Meets The Eye!

Tallen is such a beautifully confusing puzzle. As he tends to keep to himself and doesn't even understand the concept of bragging, we have barely tapped into all the wonderful knowledge that is inside his mind.

Just last week, he walked by me, quietly singing a song that I have never heard. When I stopped him and asked him to sing louder, I realized that it was a song composed of the names of countries. I have no idea whether he made up this song himself, or if he heard it somewhere. It wouldn't be unusual for him to hear it only once and be able to memorize it instantly.

The other day, he was playing a computer game that required him to fill in the missing letters from words. Each word had a picture of the item above it on the screen. We weren't surprised that he was getting all of them right. Then came the word "satchel". We were certain that he probably wouldn't get that one as, even though he has probably seen bags that were like satchels, he has never heard them called that. Imagine our surprise when he filled in the missing letter and said, "satchel". His sister asked him, "Tallen, how do you know what a satchel is." He shrugged and smiled, "That's easy! It's just something you carry stuff in." Typical of his disorder, he did not understand that she actually wanted to know where he had learned the word and not what the bag was used for. lol

For a couple of months now, he has spent a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos of guys showing how to transform different Transformers toys into robots. We found this especially perplexing, since he does not and never has owned a Transformer. He has become a fixture, sitting in front of the computer, listening to these guys mumble instructions in barely audible voices, as they work their magic. He was thrilled when, on Thanksgiving Day, a relative gave him a Transformer. He positively beamed! "This is mine? You got me a Transformers airplane?" Once he was certain that it was for sure his, he asked for the instructions and set to work. It was so funny! He mumbled as he worked, telling step by step what he was doing, just like those guys on YouTube. Then I heard him say, "Soon, I will have my video ready to upload to YouTube!" We had to laugh at that one...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lord, Grant Me The Serenity...

I just feel so inadequate sometimes. Never really sure if I am handling Tallen the right way. The way that will mold him into a person that will have a good life as an adult.

I have always been a firm believer that I should never, ever, feel or act ashamed of Tallen. His little quirks are what make him so unique. His siblings are the same way when it comes to him. If he burst into song in the middle of the grocery store, we do as well. If he feels compelled to read the nutritional information on seven different brands of pickles, we wait until he is satisfied with what he has read and is ready to move on. This isn't always the most convenient way to handle his impulses, but I have always thought that it was best, as these truly seem to be things that he simply cannot control.

But then I wonder about where I should draw the line. I mean, what can he really control? When I explain to him a zillion times that if he removes the ball from his Track Ball mouse and loses it, he will just have to suffer and go without using his computer till he locates it, it never sinks in. He endures hours with no computer in complete misery, until we finally locate the ball and replace it. Yet, sure as the sun rises, a couple of day or so later, he'll take out that ball and lose it again. He does it so often that I have to wonder if maybe he just does not have the capacity to understand consequences. Which leads me to ponder that if he has no concept of consequences, what purpose would punishing him for things ever serve? I would never want to send him to his room and give him time out for something that he truly has no control over. But then, I don't want him to be twenty years old, thinking it is OK to remove all the keys from a laptop because one of them "looked crooked". Things like that could lead to huge problems in a work environment. The sad fact is that someday, he may be alone in this world, without the rest of us around to fix things for him and to explain his actions to others.

I also consider that a lot of this may just be due to the fact that he is still very young. Sometimes, my brain tricks me into forgetting just how young he really is. That isn't so hard to do with a boy that is able to have detailed discussions with you about the ingredients of rocket fuel and can tell you anything you ever wanted to know about Space and Africa and a zillion other things. It's easy to forget that he's just a little kid. Maybe some of the mischief he gets into would be typical of any 6 year old boy. My only other son is now 20, so I have a hard time recalling how he acted when he was this age.

I only know that I am just a regular mom that is using trial and error to help her child. I pray for as few errors as possible. I am sure of the fact that many of the things I have done, just by using my intuition, has helped Tallen immensely. But some days I hit a wall and am not sure of which direction to turn. I guess I just need to have a little faith in myself...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beautiful Christmas Cards For A Great Cause

Aren't these cards adorable?! Gateway-Longview's Christmas card campaign "Gateway Greetings" is in full swing and the cards above are available for purchase with all the proceeds to benefit the at-risk children in their programs.

Gateway-Longview, in Buffalo, NY, is one of the largest not-for-profit, child and family service agencies in Western New York that provides care, counseling and support to over 850 at-risk children, youth and their families in our community. The agency was founded in 1890 and provides community support through programs such as foster care, adoption, therapeutic education services, residential programs and therapeutic visitation.

Won't you consider buying one or more packs to help them out? Why spend the money at the big stores when you can buy these cards knowing the money will help kids in need? You can place an order by following THIS LINK.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross Post From My Other Blog, About Tallen's Birthday

Were it not for my sense of humor, I probably would have cried myself to sleep last night...

1. For months, whenever someone mentioned that Tallen would would be turning six soon, he would either go into an hour long crying session or turn really pale and look almost frightened and then walk away without a word. I held out hope that, once the big day actually arrived, he would get so engrossed in the festivities that he would forget his fears about turning six.

2.For the past week, he has been telling me that Tuesday would just be a normal day, no birthday. So I had scaled back any plans for a large party. I had reduced the guest list to just my husband and me, his sisters, and his favorite aunt. I still had plans to make him a cake that looked like a hamburger, as he Googles pictures of them all the time. I called and reminded everyone that that shouldn't make any references to him about a birthday or turning six. I also reminded them not to sing happy birthday at the "No Birthday" party, so they wouldn't set him off. He hates that song at anyone's birthday party and covers his ears and cries.

3. On Monday, I had Renni sneak over the Play-Doh Burger Factory that I had bought for Tallen. He had talked and talked about this thing for days. I decided to give it to him a day early and make no mention of it being a present. Hubs hid it under his jacket and called Tallen into the room. He gave him the bag and, when Tallen peeked inside, he was speechless. He took it straight to his room, read the instructions, and assembled it quickly. I had to giggle about the fact that he can actually read instructions.

He was so precious! When I walked into his room, he said, "Welcome to my burger restaurant!" Then he pointed to the empty box, that had been tossed to the floor in his haste, and asked, "Who got this for me?" I said, " Daddy and I did." He said, "But it not a birthday present, right? It's just an everyday present." I nodded and said, "Exactly."

He played and played and played with the burger factory. Each of us pretending to be his customers. He had to order Ross out of his restaurant, as she insisted on trying to eat the burgers! LOL I have to tell you, it was 3 A.M. before he actually stopped playing with it. I thought I would die, when I walked into his room. It looked like Walt Disney had barfed in there! Little colorful pieces of Play-Doh were scattered about. He sat staring at the mess, exhausted. I nearly peed my pants laughing, when he turned his tired little face to me and said, " Mama, I was just kidding about wanting the Play-Doh burger factory. I really wanted the Play-Doh Spaghetti Factory! You need to box this back up and give it back to Wal-mart."

4. Yesterday morning, Tallen awoke and made his way into the kitchen, where I was busy making last minute preparations. Like removing crayon marks from the picture window, fingerprints from the microwave, and mopping the floor. "Would you like some sausage, eggs, and gravy?" I asked. I had made his favorite breakfast earlier and had it waiting for him. "Yes!", he said, eyes sparkling. As he sat there eating, looking so happy, my hopes were lifted. I took a deep breath, "Happy Birthday! You're six years old today!"

His face went pale and he dropped his fork to his plate. "No!" He jumped up, placed his hands over his ears, and started running back and forth across the kitchen. He acted like I had played some evil trick on him. "Why are you cleaning the floor?!" Because it is filthy, Tallen." He realized that all this hurried cleaning probably meant a party. "I like the floor dirty!" He knocked his plate to the floor. Percy was thrilled by this and happily ran over to eat Tallen's breakfast.

"I want everything back like it was! This day is over! I am not six years old! I am five years old!" He was sobbing real tears. it was heartbreaking to see him so upset and almost frightened. "Tallen, why don't you want to turn six. Lot's of kids are perfectly happy being six years old. Now you are old enough to ride a bigger bike and go hunting with Daddy." I had bent down on one knee, so I could look him in the eyes. I had my hand on his arm, trying to soothe him. "They are not happy! Now, no more questions!" He pulled away from me and stomped out of the room.

5. The "new" plan was that I would just make a simple sheet cake with no writing or candles. Renni would bring over pizzas and ice cream. She would give him the bike that she had bought him. Later, Tallen would go "hunting" with his dad. Hubs had arranged to have a friend go with him, to help wrangle Tallen. They would take the dogs in the woods and let Tallen see a coon up in a tree.

6. Tallen had calmed down a bit, when Cina and Selly came in from school. Before I could warn her, Cina shouted out, "Happy Birthday, Tallen! I brought you a present!" She held up a honey bun that she had gotten from the snack machine at school. Even though he loves these, he ran away, crying that he did not want it and telling her to eat it herself. She followed him and convinced him that she had been mistaken, that it wasn't a birthday honey bun, but just the regular kind. He gladly ate it then.

7. His dad came home and called him over to him. "Tonight's the big night! You are finally big enough to go hunting with Daddy!" A look of horror washed over his face, "No I'm not! Take Ross with you!" I could see that Hub's feelings were hurt, as Tallen had begged to go with him for so long and this was not the expected reaction.

8. Renni arrived with the pizzas and we laid out the table with all the food. Everyone sat down, except for Tallen. Ross, in her booster seat, started cramming in pizza, oblivious to the tension in the air. She happily chowed down, without saying another word, for the next hour. We were amazed at how much pizza that tiny girl could hold. She finally stopped and ate an ice cream cone. then went right back to eating pizza! Tallen refused to sit down, but did take some pizza and bread sticks to his room.The whole time we were eating, Tallen kept slowly pacing by the dining room door. He stopped a few times to say, "I hate you. I hate you all." He didn't shout this, he said it in a very monotone voice.

9. Renni took Tallen outside to present him with his new bike. The minute he saw it in the back of the blazer, he started walking back toward the house. " Oh No! Take that right back where you got it!" She took it out of the Blazer anyway and I saw a little smile come over his lips for a brief second. I thought maybe we had finally won him over. But just a quickly, he remembered that he was getting the bike because he was turning six and said he did not want it. I told him that he was being very rude and demanded that he walk back over to us. He let Renni put him on the bike and push him around the driveway a few times. As soon as our tenant pulled in and Renni was busy talking to him, Tallen hurried back into the house.

10. I am so confused at this point. I am just absolutely at a loss as to why he is reacting this way. He is completely willing to pass up gifts that he would normally adore, in order to avoid turning six. It creeps me out to a point that I have to ask myself if maybe he knows something that we don't. Maybe there is some merit behind his impending sense of doom. Then I snap back to reality and just chalk it up to the unpredictability of Asperger's I am praying that when he gets out of bed today, he will be back to normal and want to play with his new bike and go hunting with his daddy.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.