November 15, 2010

Long weekends aren't what they used to be

I haven't been blogging as regularly as I'd like to. Truth be told, I also haven't been showering as much as I'd like to. The days have been challenging around here. Moe seems to have gone into sensory overload, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. The time change, and the recent 4 day weekend, has made it worse. He has been averaging 1-2 major meltdowns a day and there were some rought ones this weekend. But instead of dwelling on that today, I thought I'd share a couple of interesting things that happened this weekend, even amid the other chaos.

First, Moe picked up a harmonica and started playing it. This in itself is a big deal because he didn't used to be able to blow in a directed way like that. He played a little bit, clearly excited that he could make the sounds. Then, he handed the harmonica to me for me to play. I played a little, then handed it back, and he played it some more. This happened twice: an actual back and forth exchange with eye contact. And let me tell you, when Moe looks you in the eye, everything else disappears.

Later in the weekend, Moe was playing in his room. He came to the living room, grabbed me by the hand and brought me to his room. He then held my hands up toward his light switch. It was very clear that he wanted me to turn off the light. (He has been wanting to be in his crib, door closed, lights off. Sensory overload, anyone?) He didn't get frustrated and scream. He came to me for help. I held him up and said "off." I waited until he said kind of an "o" sound and then I turned off the light. In the future, I'd like to have some more eye contact or better words, but it was a good interaction.

If you don't have a child with autism, these may seem like such normal, run of the mill interactions, hardly worthy of a mention to a friend let alone a blog post. In fact, I remember being told during an assessment that typical children will interact with their parents in this way hundreds of times a day. Until I had a typical child myself, I didn't believe it. But now that Jelly is bringing me things all day long, with shrieks of "open!" "help!" and "thank you!" I know clearly what they meant.

Many people have commented on this blog in the past that periods of poor sleep or sensory regulation have been precursors to some developmental leaps. I hope that is the case here. Perhaps Moe is becoming more aware of things around him, including his own wants. He needs to learn to process all this new information without becoming overwhelmed. I feel the same way. With every new challenge we face, I also need to learn to adapt and resist the temptation to turn off the lights and hide under the covers.

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