Home Sweet Autismland (the sequel) (#354)

“He only eats rice?” my father-in-law’s live-in nurse asked me this morning as I was cooking a pot of “whiterice” for Charlie’s lunch.

“Uh, well, it’s his school lunch so I like to make sure he’ll have something he really likes or he doesn’t eat it and then h’s still hungry and then he doesn’t do so well…..” I said, all the while saying to myself, yes, the nutritional quotient of white rice most certainly does not meet the dietary requirements of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Charlie’s transition to his new school continued to be smooth on the second day. I exchanged more emails with his teacher about what kinds of reinforcers to use and dropped these off before the school day was over. I got a list of all the instructors’ and students’ names so Charlie can learn who his new friends are. Recess—unstructured time in the afternoon—had more than once been a difficult time for Charlie and it was decided that he should stay inside the classroom, as he had been outside for gym class and was tired.

Our transition to living with my father-in-law—-my mother-in-law remains in the hospital—-has led me to reflect on what our Autismland life looks like to someone on the outside. Jim and I don’t sit down for breakfast but run off to the train or the car, and to work, soon as Charlie’s bus turns the corner. Precisely at 3.10pm I am out on the street waiting for Charlie to return on the bus. The better part of the afternoon is taken up by a therapy session—ABA today—and our small family of three eats dinner in shifts, Charlie first, Jim after walking him from the train, me inbetween. While renovations are completed on my father-in-law’s house, Jim, Charlie, and I have all been sharing one large room and Charlie has been very good about not being noisy to accommodate for Grandpa’s bedtime. Jim has cancelled meetings to take his father to the doctor and I have been sitting and talking with him, and cheering on Ghana—where the nurse is from—in the World Cup.

“Your home is like your country,” the nurse had said to me yesterday.

I have been thinking a lot on her words as we begin another stage of our Autismland journey in a new town, new house, new school for Charlie.
Who said a first tonight. I had gotten him sushi—could not resist a small celebration—after eating it, Charlie has often been asking for more food (rice in particular). “Dad’s home for a bike ride,” I said. Charlie did not budge from his seat at the table. I had a feeling what he was going to ask for.

“No why rise,” mumbled Charlie.

I turned my head, having heard mostly the long i‘s in Charlie’s words. “No bike ride?”

“No white rice,” said Charlie, big eyes aimed at me. “Bike ride.”

And he got up and, with Jim beside him, rode off—-if not into the sunset, under its warming glow.

It may be a new country, but it’s still Home Sweet Autismland.

One Response to “Home Sweet Autismland (the sequel) (#354)”
  1. KC'sMommy says:

    Wow what great communicating Charlie is doing! Wow the eye contact and the words together must have felt incredible! Excellent Job Big Guy!

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