KAM and I watched Adam last night a movie about a man with I think moderate functioning Asperger’s Syndrome (it could be high functioning Asperger’s but I don’t think so) . It was really interesting to see how life kind of hit him in full on the face after his father passed away and he was left alone in the world at 29 years old to figure things out. The movie is fiction and actually both lead actors were British masquerading as Americans much to my chagrin but had true measures of reality in it for our kids with autism that I felt were critical for parenting the older child on the spectrum.
My attempt with Bird is always to think about how his behavior will look in five years and then spend the next several years attempting to get him as close to where he should be as possible. An example of this would be Bird wanting to wear pants or a long sleeve shirt on a 90 degree day instead of shorts and a short sleeve top. Some parents might aqueous and believe that the child will be more comfortable in those clothes and in truth they might BUT it really does not matter! What really matters in life is that from 50 feet away you do not look like the easy pickings for someone who is looking to take advantage of a person who might be less capable of knowing that you are taking advantage of them as society has plenty of people looking for prey! It also matters that you fit in to some degree if you would like to be employed and or in some circumstances date! So a great deal of my time is spend identifying behaviors that will within the next five years make Bird look “weird” for lack of better words and slowly helping him gain insight as to what is more appropriate; like NOT standing in front of the TV while other people are watching or playing video games. A side note is that for YEARS Bird’s brother and sister screaming at him and occasionally my screaming at him had no affect at all! but pausing whatever was on the screen worked in 2 weeks! Using a verbal prompt (this is using verbal language) is using a prompt you can’t fade or get rid of so if you need to decrease a behavior then find a visual prompt and slowly fading it will work.
Back to Adam! The film was about everything from being a responsible adult, holding a job and making the job about what the employer wants not the employee, and also dating! So great to have all of this body of later life to work on with Bird. He has so much to learn just like all other 10 year olds but his rate of acquisition is not as fast unless it’s math, engineering or history which he really loves. He gets everything it just takes longer than for his typical counterparts.
So my plan after the first week of school which is so hard for both him and me is to start working on first clearly defining expectations and than more loosely defining expectations and getting him to produce what is requested because of his control issues he is sneaky and sometimes skirts what is desired. This process will take years but everything with him does and that is fine as I have about 8 more years to get him ready for life!