3 weeks ’til Christmas

We’re off to Sensational Kids again this afternoon, hopefully for another successful session. Beth has been really good communication wise the last few days so I’m hoping that Rod will see some changes. Of course when I wish for these things she generally ends up being a right bugger!

3 Weeks to go until Christmas! I’ve done hardly any shopping yet. One reason is that we’ve spent so much on doing the house up to sell that I don’t have any money! The other is that I’m loath to buy presents and then have to store them somewhere, all our storage areas are filled with the crap that we have to put away for house inspections! The tree is up and the decorations are around the house. The problem is that Beth just can’t help touching everything, whether it be the ornaments on the tree to the paper mache reindeer that she keeps grabbing by the antlers. When she was little I would put the tree inside a wooden playpen so she’d have to reach through the bars. Usually we’d have to try to tie the tree to something too so that she couldn’t pull it over. Of course she’s now far too big for me to do that so the constant call from me is to “put that down, leave the tree alone” or, the one that I shouldn’t bother with as I wont follow through “do I have to take all the decorations down!” Sometimes she just can’t help it. It feels like she’s being naughty all the time but really, she’s a very tactile child and likes to touch things.

It’s like when she’s on the computer. We have the computer chair that Bev and John threw out because it had a rip in it. It had masking tape on it but that didn’t last and Beth keeps picking the stuffing out of it and putting it in her mouth. Or she picks up a pen that I was using on the computer or an earring that I have taken out and puts these in her mouth. That’s the frustrating thing about it is that if I just put these things away then she wouldn’t do it! She has a T shaped chew toy, I’ll have to get some elastic and put it around her neck. When I remember, I do give her this and she just chews on it, problem solved. (Maybe I just prefer to yell!)

Because in some ways Beth’s easy going I think that she doesn’t need some of the things that other kids with autism need. But, as I have to keep reminding myself, there are different levels of different issues in autism. Just because Beth can communicate well and can read and write doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need a chew toy. They are two different things. I guess because I associate the chew toys with the younger children I figure that she should have grown out of it, a bit like a dummy. But really, whatever gets you through the night. It it stops her chewing up other things then why not.

I saw a documentary on a man who had aspergers. He was a brilliant mathematician and was talking about how he had been called a genius. He said that he found this amazing as he thought that people who could drive a car were geniuses. It all depends on your perception of what a genius is. My point is that when our kids are able to do things the same or better than their peers, there are generally other things that are well below these same kids. Socially and emotionally in some ways Beth can be like a 4 or 5 year old, she doesn’t get the ‘cues’ that other kids her age do and is as excitable as a toddler (something that I find incredibly endearing by the way.) In other areas though her insight is amazing and her memory really is like the proverbial elephant. I am constantly amazed by Beth’s ‘take’ on things and, in the rare moments that we have one on one time, I love to ‘pick her brains’ on why she says certain things or why she thinks in certain ways.

Something I’d just like to add to this is that I just heard that there is now a new 24 hour Australia wide hotline available for parents of autistic kids, run by parents. How wonderful, Australia is really starting to recognise this ‘epidemic’ of autistic kids that we have now. The number is 1300 222 777. Please pass on to anybody you think would benefit from this. Good on these parents for trying to make life easier for those who need a bit of extra help.

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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3 Responses to 3 weeks ’til Christmas

  1. Bronwyn G says:

    Tom McKean uses chew toys as well (and teethers especially).

    It provides oral stimulation. And it helps defend against oral defensiveness.

    Liked the story about the mathematician. Depends on what you think of genius.

    Good to know about the helpline.

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Bronwyn, I haven’t heard of Tom McKean? Thanks for reading

  3. Bronwyn G says:

    Tom McKean:

    American self-advocate and musician. Author of Soon will come the light (1992) and Light on the horizon (1994).

    Also has good articles and social stories.


    Hope you and Beth and the rest of the family have a nice Christmas. It was interesting to read about your Christmas tree.

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