It takes a certain amount of skill and creativity to communicate successfully with this kid. We incorporate multiple strategies to explain things to him – simplified language, repetition, verbal cues, written cues, social stories…the list goes on.
But there’s someone who works even harder than us to make that connection. Someone who lives under the daily pressure of being unheard or misunderstood. That’s my kid.
This past Sunday, he gave us a new demonstration of just how tenacious he can be when he wants us to understand him.
He was relentless. This boy was on a mission to explain his needs and persuade us to respond positively.
Unfortunately, this was a case where we already understood exactly what he wanted. The outcome was just out of our control.
It all started when we had to say “no” to an expected part of his weekend.
There were so many times when it could’ve gone bad.
Ten days on the road, hundreds of miles, five different hotels. A myriad of changes to routine.
I was braced for complications. My boy has had a rough time lately – stressed at school, agitated at home, anxiety placing him (and us) on a hair-trigger. We weren’t sure if our planned fall break road trip would relieve his stress or add to it. I was cautiously pessimistic. I knew we could have some problems if my kid’s current volatile mood didn’t lighten, especially being away from the safety of home. We wouldn’t know until we hit the road.
The first day, after a late start and a five hour drive, we got to our hotel after sundown. All day, we’d promised the kid – drive first, then swimming. As we checked in, we learned that the pool closed early. Crap.Read More
Do you want to test your tolerance for being inadvertently touched, jostled, and crowded by random strangers?
Go to Disneyland in mid-July.
On the “aversion-to-touch” scale, my kid is in the middle. He’ll allow himself to be touched, many times even requests it—a tickle, a squeeze, a wrestle—but it’s got to be on his terms. He has to know it’s coming.
But when you’re winding your way through a massive sea of people—many carrying oversize backpacks and multiple bags bulging with unwieldy souvenirs; others pushing strollers while wrangling toddlers who insist on managing their own larger-than-toddler balloons or stuffed Pixar characters; not to mention the few patrons walking in zig-zag obliviousness while gnawing on large turkey legs or cotton candy—it’s just impossible to keep from being touched.
“There’s nothing more toxic, more deadly than a human child. A single touch could kill you!” – Mr. Waternoose, Monsters Inc.
There is no “fast pass” around the summer swarms at Disney theme parks. As a family, we are not early risers—at least not the talk-to-others-in-public-and-ride-roller-coasters type of early risers—so getting into the parks before the biggest crowds was not a realistic goal. We went in the afternoons and evenings. Along with half the universe.Read More