We have been having a few extremely rough days in the Stronglove house, which would normally cause me to only focus on the negative side of life. Through the grace of my Al-Anon program I can see this tendency in myself and have even managed to catch myself before a few downward spirals. For those I was not able to catch, I will be better prepared next time those occasions come around. Another blessing of my program, and new perception of life, is that I can manage to see the positive side of life, even when it seems like the day is destined to be a disaster. The day started out looking quite gloomy, and I accepted that was probably going to be another trying day. Although, it has not been an easy day by far, it has been filled with some Au-Some and amazing progress that I want to share. Actually I want to sing it from the mountain tops!
1) When Beth got home from school, she came strolling down the aisle of the bus barefoot! Her driver told her to get her backpack to which I added “and shoes would be nice too.” When she came back she handed me her pack and shoes with a HUGE smile and giggle. I asked why her shoes were not on, to which she responded: “I want a shoes off.” In case you missed that… She answered a question, with an appropriate answer, which was also in the form of a sentence!
2) Beth has some serious issues with Anne invading her space, which she does A LOT. She also has an extremely hard time sharing. Today she showed marked progress in both areas, which again was HUGE. Beth said: “Mommy water?” meaning she wanted a drink from my bottle, which has not happened in quite some time, so of course I obliged. Any chance I get to help her tackle the sensory issue with tilting her head back I will take, especially when she initiates it. Anne loves to drink from my bottle too, so it was a good time to work on our sharing. It only took one time to prompt the sharing of the water bottle, and then something amazing happened. Beth pushed the bottle toward Anne and said “Sisters turn.” After her drink Anne pushed the bottle toward Beth and made her usual grunt of offering. At one point Beth even said “Mommies turn” and I was placed in the mix of sharing. This went on for almost 10 minutes and by the end she was holding the bottle herself, tipping it up, leaning her head back ever-so-slightly and drinking the water. When she was done she would hand the bottle back to me and say either: “Sisters turn or Anne drink Mommy water” with nothing but smiles and giggles. I cried because this was beyond Au-Some… She was using proper verbiage, social skills and was actually tipping her head back to drink!
3) Beth took a package of hot dogs out of the fridge and told me: “Hot dogs.” I asked did she want them for dinner. She replied by pointing at the stove and saying: “Hot dogs cookin.” So of course we had hotdogs and mashed potatoes for dinner. When I made her plate and gave it to her, she ate her potatoes and some cheese. I asked her to try the hotdog, and she said: “No, no hot dog, want more of this one” and pointed at the potatoes. I told her what they were and asked her what she wanted again, she smiled and said: “I want more potatoes please.” You guessed it, I cried again… She was actually expressing her wants and needs in age-appropriate communication!
She has made such amazing progress in so many areas, that perhaps her behaviors and meltdowns are just her body’s way of letting off steam. Her OT has told me more than once that she thinks there is a trade-off in the areas of progress and behavior. After talking to her and others, I have a theory… It appears as though when they are at their calmest and most well-behaved, that seems to be when their nervous system is regrouping and resting. Then when their brain and nervous system start running at full-speed and progressing, that is when the behaviors and meltdowns seem to hit a new high, because their body has too much energy and information to process, which causes a sensory overload and a myriad of chaos. I could be completely off-base, but this is just my theory, because it seems to hold true with my Au-Some girl. This is why I must always remember that inside every cloud there is a silver lining, and after each storm there is rainbow. Regardless of the negatives we have been experiencing lately, we are making PROGRESS and our positives outweigh those negatives everyday of the week and twice on Sunday!
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.