Stim-dar (#168)


We had (or thought we had) made it clear to the bus company that Charlie would start riding the bus to school after the aide received training. Seeing the minivan in the driveway with three generations of an Indian family (son–trainer, mother–actual driver, grandmother–aide), Jim and I decided, “let’s go for it” and rounded up Charlie, hat, gloves, backpack, vest, shoes, socks, “puff-ee coat,” waffle and off he went to a fine Monday. Charlie’s teacher has started him on a token system instead of giving him “primary reinforcement” (he has to get five tokens and exchange those for a cracker, instead of just getting the cracker). He is working on basic math skills, like number correpondence. He imitated every word said to him.

Heaterandball After 4 1/2 hours of ABA and one hour for lunch and circle time, who wouldn’t want to sit on a nice toasty heater vent with one’s feet atop a giant hacky sack? (And mom serving up chips and frozen peas.)

After a home ABA session, we went to ShopRite where Charlie put a crate of oranges into the cart as per my request (and a tray of sushi, as per his liking). I walked in front of him pushing the cart. When I said “turn left here,” he turned it left and almost avoided crashing into another shopper’s cart. When I said “stop, let’s get juice,” he stopped. For four minutes, I was Mom Shopping with Eight-Year-Old Boy, without need to worry that he might run off and open a pack of sugar cookies. At home, sushi finished, Charlie ran upstairs and pulled out the new toys he’s been learning how to play with in his ABA sessions. He opened Pop Up Pirate and reached for the primary-colored plastic swords.

Up went my stim-dar.

But he’s smiling. Don’t bother him, said the indigo child voice. Just let him be.

STOP HIM! yelled the voice of every ABA therapist and the inestimable Miss Kathy. Think of all the hard work Patrice and Alexis have done to teach him how to use that toy, you have to do YOUR part now, MS. AUTISM MOM.

“Hey Charlie,” I said, all sweet and low voice, “how ’bout we put the swords in like you did with Patrice? This pirate is just like Captain Feathersword!”

“Kappen Feddersarr,” said Charlie and inserted the little plastic swords into the plastic barrel slots. (He still did so, even after the Pirate had Popped Up.) Then (since playing a toy “the right/Mom way” isn’t as much fun as clanking little plastic pieces on each other while making weird machine-like noises) he was soon engrossed in a set of clay-dough tools and packets of Model Magic.

Stim-dar went down. Then right back up.

Ten minutes later, Charlie was trying to drag two desk chairs (one heavy) down the stairs. “Leave the chairs in the room,” I said, remembering the elaborate video script Charlie has for two chairs in the middle of the living room (it involves something about the car and/or doing a therapy session, and more scripted noises, mumlbed phrases, and screeches). There was a bit of a scene which ended when I got Charlie to stand up (from a prone position); a long hot shower washed away his stim-mode and Charlie treated me to a rich load of language:

“PoPo Jersey, PoPo go back home. Wook at me, PoPo wook at me! Mike Lucy! [Charlie’s godparents] See ya next time !”

Charlie fell asleep before 10pm, within 5 minutes of lying down on the futon that is our guest bed, and I immediately started charging up my stim-dar for our next adventure in Autismland.

2 Responses to “Stim-dar (#168)”
  1. Eileen says:

    That sounds so much like a conversation that this “Ms. Autism Mom” has had with her self many times. “He’s happy flicking that paper in front of him running around the house dancing” “No, take it away from him…get him involved in a meaningful activity”. My Stim-Dar goes up every evening and a warm bath has been helping to wash away my little one’s stim mode.

  2. kcsmommy says:

    Hi Kristina,
    Charlie is an inspiration to our family and he is growing up so much Kristina. From reading your posts (all of them) he sure has reached a turning point and is growing up into a big boy. Yeah Charlie! Keep up the great work! What great parents Charlie has indeed!

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