Thursday, December 21, 2017

All I Want For Christmas





All I want for Christmas is to live in the body of my child with autism.

I want to feel what he feels. I want to experience his challenges.
I want to know what it is like to not be able to express myself. I don't want the ability to speak for one day. However, I want the ability to know what I want so I know what my son feels like when he can't tell me what he wants.
I want to know what it feels like to hear things at a different level and to experience all sensory input at an unimaginable level.
I want to know what it feels like to gag and throw up at other people's food because my sense of smell is hypersensitive.
I want to know what it is like to eat the same thing 24/7.

I want to have meltdowns from frustrations. I want to know what it is like to have such high anxiety that it controls every aspect of my life.
I want to know what it feels like to depend on someone 24/7.
I want to know what it feels like to not have a childhood and to live in therapy every single day.
I want to know what it feels like to love someone and not be able to show them or tell them.
I want to have OCD so bad that it controls and takes over my life.

I want to feel what it feels like to have people ignore me because they don't think I am paying attention to them....yet I am.
I want to know what it feels like to hear people talk about me right in front of my face as if I don't understand....yet I do.

I want to know what it feels like to stim and have people stare at me?
I want to know what it feels like to constantly be moving because my body needs it.
I want to experience the inability to sleep constantly.
I want to experience what it feels like to go out in the community and the anxiety and frustrations that it brings to me.

I want to know what it is like to depend on picture schedules, first/then charts, and all the other things that make my day manageable.
I want to know what it feels like to live in my own world yet forced to live in the world that exist today.

What does it feel like to not get invited to parties and playdates? I want to know that.
What does it feel like to have autism? I WANT TO KNOW

If I knew, I would be able to help my son and all the other individuals with autism.
Therefore, all I want for Christmas is live in the body of my son for at least one day to experience his life.  I want to know what my son feels.



Friday, December 1, 2017

More Visual Supports

Visual supports help individuals with autism to better understand  and to transition better from task to task. I wanted to share a few more visuals supports with you.
In the first picture, I made a few personalized visual cards for him. Since August he has regressed in his ability to go to the store and to eat inside a restaurant. Today, I made two new supports for him using pictures of himself. The top picture is of him in a store and the bottom one is him eating at a table in a restaurant. I am going to show him these before we try them next time to see if it helps him to see himself doing it first. 


When I pick him up from school we do our normal routine four days a week. After I pick him up, we go through the drive through to get him McDonalds (its the only thing he will eat) and then we got to Harsha Autism Center. On some days he is great waiting in the long line at McDonalds and other days he isn't. On the not so good days, he kicks and makes his upset noises if the line is too long. Therefore, I made a personalized picture of him sitting in his car seat. I hope he will see it and sit good:) Of course, I have a Harsha Autism card so he can see where he is going next.

First & Then charts are great. The past few months I have been using First/Next/Then chart. Sometimes these charts are used for  behavior support, such as when we think (or know) that an individual doesn’t want to do something we want them to do.  In that case, we present the thing we want them to do in the “first” and the thing they want to do in the “then.”  The idea is to show them a preferred activity or a possible reinforcer to motivate them to complete the thing they don’t want to do.  Sometimes I use it for just a small schedule such as the one below.


This is an example of Trenton's morning schedule before he heads out the door to school.