Musix (#325)

We have been wanting to get Charlie a new iPod to replace the one he threw on Sunday, perhaps as a belated birthday gift. But Charlie did break the little blue iPod my parents gave him two Christmases ago and it was not the first time–really mad or really silly–he had thrown it.
Charlie knows full well that he is not supposed to throw things–flashcards, hamburgers, silverware–which is not to say, when he is agitated but does not have the language to explain himself, that he has not sent those items and others flying through the air.

If we buy him a new iPod, are we sending the message “you broke it, we buy you a new one”? If Charlie were an “NT” child and deliberately broke one of his possessions, we would not replace it (“you broke it, that’s it”). Yes, Charlie is autistic but—as Jim and I most certainly believe in contradiction to the results of every psychological, IQ, and other test that Charlie has taken–he is one smart kid. One intelligent kid who knows exactly what is going on.

So I presume that it is not that Charlie “just doesn’t understand” that throwing delicate technological devices down the stairs might result in them breaking. I presume that Charlie knows this, but that, his impulses, his neurological wiring, make it super-hard for him to stop himself before throwing.

And Charlie needs his music. We need his music.

He has been on edge these past two days; had a difficult time going to sleep (so that his school speech therapist joked to me “You’ve got to stop this party-time till midnight”), had sudden “explosions” (as when he hit his head on the Lite Brite he had just asked to play with), murmured and whined and looked harried while doing his second speech therapy session (such that I found myself climbing over the table—it was very low–to hang onto him). The speech therapist ran to grab a bean bag and we got Charlie to lie down and cry out his worry; she suggested tossing and kicking some huge therapy balls once he had calmed and we left with a somewhat smiling boy.

After his usual dinner-shower routine, Charlie found a Wiggles “Yummy Yummy” CD and played it on his DVD player while wrapping himself tightly in his blue blanket and lying on his stomach on his blue pillow. I hunkered down beside him as Greg’s soothing voice sang “Hot Potato.” Charlie was grinning, kicking, shivering with a fulsome delight. He glanced at me and then pinched my cheeks, reminiscent of how the school speech therapist does when using PROMPT.

“Mommy!” (With “fruit salad, yummy yummy” playing in an endless loop in the background.)

I showed Charlie where to put the CD into his computer; I had copied a few CD’s onto the hard drive this morning and he had listened to “musix” for much of his “breaktime” during his ABA session, and now added the contents of the Wiggles “Yummy Yummy.”

“I want blue!” Charlie had settled himself in bed with his blanket, chew tube, photos, four (like the four Teletubbies and the four Wiggles) squishies–one of which briefly disappeared and was found, to our mutual relief—and the “Yummy Yummy” CD.

Maybe I don’t need to buy Charlie a new iPod, yet.

We can already hear the music.

4 Responses to “Musix (#325)”
  1. Joel s says:

    if/when you get the new ipod, be sure to get one of the ones with flash memory, it’s much more resistant to impacts than hard drives are. They may not come in quite so big of sizes, but what you save in replacing them whenever they take a spill will probably balance it out.

    Glad to hear that adjusting to the lack of ipods went well. 🙂

  2. zilari says:

    I’ve seen quite a few rubberized protective “sheaths” for Ipods…I’ve got a sort of silicone sleeve on mine.

    I agree that kids shouldn’t throw things, but also that you’re probably right regarding the impulse-control issue. I don’t think Charlie wanted to break the iPod or that he was taking it for granted when he threw it; he was probably just frustrated. And I’d guess he was annoyed at himself after doing it. I have a particular red pen I write with at work, and the tip is bent from when I nearly impaled an entire notebook with it a few months ago. Every time I use it (the pen) I’m reminded of losing self-control.

    But I haven’t done anything like that since getting my own iPod. I’m beginning to think that iPods could serve as sort of a “reverse hearing aid” for auties.

    Waiting a while to get him a new one seems appropriate. Especially since they’re not cheap!

  3. Mom-NOS also suggested the iPod shuffle as being more durable—-More than once, I have seen Charlie express his anger by damaging something that he likes a lot, or by throwing some food that he likes, and then he’s twice as upset. We had originally gotten him an iPod with a screen with the hope of it being another way to promote his reading by looking at the song titles on the screen. I’m not done with birthday shopping, so………..

  4. Lisa says:

    Sandisc makes flash based mp3 players that are more durable than the drive based players like the ipod. The only prob in switching formats is if you have a lot of itunes music–non-ipod devices won’t play the ipod formatted music.

    We bought our 10 yo the 2gig sandisc player and we’ve been really happy with it and it was around $100.

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