Preparing Charlie for the dentist. Keeping track of how many multiple-word phrases and sentences Charlie says each day. Assuring Charlie that his grandparents–who are now doing rehab after the knee-replacement surgery–will be all right and that he will see them again. Preparing Charlie for an impending weekend visit from my parents–the thought of which makes him both happy as well as nervous with anticipation. Wondering what the long-term effects of the medications Charlie takes are. Varying what I pack for Charlie’s school lunch so he does not get bored with the same old same old, and so he gets something he likes.
Just another host of problems that wind themselves into my thinking as I responded to Charlie “want eat dee apple” by requesting “get one out of the fridge, bottom left drawer!”
Just another beehive of questions flitting in and out of my mind as Charlie and I drove 45 minutes through snow flurries to his verbal behavior session. He had already had an ABA session in the morning which, after a sleepy start, moved him through matching words to pictures, using his Nouns & Sounds software, doing Edmark homework. He got frustrated in the very last ten minutes but this therapist has ten-plus years of experience and, in talking to me afterwards, concluded that she should have had the “break” card out to remind Charlie to tell her that he needed one.
Problem detected, problem quickly dissolving as a solution was found.
The solution to every autism dilemma should be so simple!
This afternoon, as the flurries were becoming the beginning of a blizzard, I sat in a community college library reading and typing while Charlie worked on sharpening his imitation skills (block designs, sequence of actions, on-going actions) and his spontaneous requesting, and on expanding his repertoire of personal questions (address, phone number, hair and eye color…..). Jim had gone to visit his parents and called me and before you know it, we were rehashing last year’s problem: Charlie’s school placement.
We should have–shouldn’t we have sooner—but he always had something going on—-we were trying for mainstreaming—–we had that therapist—-so long as there was that aide—-and then he had a regression—–but I wish we had started the Lovaas again earlier—–but then he did that——
Charlie does not like to hear these types of conversations about him in the third person , and about his educational situation and progress, or his being stuck, so Jim and I do our best to talk about them when he is not around. This might seem obvious—–but many a “professional” has been truly surprised when we have told them, “Charlie understand everything we say and especially your tone of voice, or if you’re agitated.” Time and again in the past, Jim and I have deferred talking about the latest problems until Charlie was asleep. By then, it has been so far past midnight that we were too exhausted to talk.
Charlie kept his eyes on the steadily increasing snowfall as I drove and threw himself face up on the floor soon as we walked into the house. “Hey, you gotta put your shoes in the kitchen and I’ll make dinner!” I said. By coming home, it had become very clear to Charlie that there would be no visit to his grandparents, no Chinese food take-out as we have done for many months. Charlie got off the floor, did as requested, watched me cook fish, pasta and peas with great interest.
What a tangled autism web gets woven every day!
The Latin root word of “solution,” solvo–to loosen, unbind, unfetter, release–echoes the classical Greek word luo–to loosen, unbind, dissolve, break up–especially if you keep in mind that the Romans used the same letter for u and for v. Solvo, the root word of “solution,” can also be written as soluo.
But the Greek luo is the lu root in analuo, to “unloose, dissolve,” as Penelope unwinds the weaving she has done to trick the suitors who seek to marry her in Homer’s Odyssey; as in “analysis” the second A in ABA, applied behavior analysis. As in the analyses of teaching programs, schools, therapy methodologies, bioemdical options, that we parents have constantly to research and think about, and come to our own judgment of.
It might be a tangled autism web, but what new patterns I’ve discovered in unwinding the complex mess Charlie sometimes leaves me up to my elbows in. And we will always attest, our life is rich and shot through with rainbow radiance thanks to every colorful moment with our lovely boy.
Who, since he went to bed at 8.30pm, several hours before us, gave us plenty of time to talk our way through any problems.