Issue 54: Ways to Survive ASD Parenting and Stay Thankful
Issue 58: Winning Ways to Share the Love with All of Your Children
Issue 81: When Special Education Fails to Be Special
Ok, so I promised an update on Jerry and his behaviors since being weaned off all but two of his medications. It has taken us a while to figure out what is different and then figure out how to put that into words, but I am going to try. So here goes.
His vocabulary seems better, slightly more advanced. He is using words and phrases that I know he has heard before (because he mimics), but we never heard him say until now. And he seems to use them appropriately, which is humorous at times. "Apparently," "for the life of me," "going to be the death of me yet". Those are just a few of the ones we have heard. They always catch us off guard and crack us up.
He has more energy. While he is growing into a typical teenager who doesn't like to get up in the morning, he is definitely less lethargic throughout the day, which has equated to him doing more work in his class at school.
He wants to socialize a little more, and this is not always a good thing because it doesn't matter if it's in the form of asking a complete stranger why they have blue hair or who the naked lady is that's represented by their tattoo on their arm. And occasionally, he will tell someone their breath stinks or berate them for liking the Bucs. Sorry Tampa fans.
That brings us to the sensory issues. He is suddenly super sensitive to smells. My coffee stinks when I make it. Everyone's breath stinks, whether or not he is actually close enough to smell it. The car smells funny. You name it, it smells.
He is more emotional too. He also seems to have more empathy towards others. Instead of laughing at them when they get hurt or something bad happens to them, he sympathizes with them a little. He is crying a lot more now too...real tears. In addition, he is more sorry and upset with himself when he has done something he knows he shouldn't have done. He may seem to not care or laugh about it in the moment, but as time passes, he feels bad. He even says he feels bad because he knows he sinned and Jesus is mad at him. That's new.
Changes in his routine cause cataclysmic meltdowns of epic proportions now. Before, he just rolled with it for the most part. He maybe didn't like it, but he got over it and any tantrum about it was short-lived. The world is now ending when we change his routine. A few weeks ago he had his occupational therapy evaluation at All Children's before school. I took him to school late. I probably should have just called the school day a wash because he had a bad remainder of his day and they said he just could not get into the routine after having arrived late.
He is irrational beyond belief. The cartoon at the top of this post is a perfect example of what I mean. This is probably the hardest trait to deal with quite honestly. One week he likes the shaped macaroni and cheese (Dory, Star Wars, etc...). The next week, it is gross and only the regular noodles taste good. Leftover honey chicken can be cooked in the oven, but not the toaster oven while leftover pizza needs to be cooked in the toaster oven and not the oven.
I am the only one allowed to make his frozen pot pie dinners or his oatmeal for breakfast because it tastes better when mom makes it. If I pack his lunch for school, I cannot put it in his lunchbox because things go stale in there. Even if it needs to be in a cooler, he will not let me use the lunchbox. And all food in containers in the fridge is bad. Leftovers are a no-no. It has to be brand new out of the package for him to eat it. He is usually thirsty after school and so I took him a thermos of his favorite orange juice the other day when I picked him up. I ruined it because I put it in the thermos.
At Subway, even if he is getting the same sandwich as someone else, it has to be on his own paper and no touching the other person's sandwich. John tried to split a meatball sub with him the other day and you would have thought he was asking Jerry to fast for 72 hours. My Lord, those poor Subway employees. He was screaming and kicking the soda cooler and shaking his fist all red-faced at us. He wanted a meatball sub (a 6-inch) and so did John, but they could not prepare the 12-inch sub and then cut it in half. That's just wrong according to Jerry.
This irrationality has us walking on egg shells sometimes because you never know what will set him off. But if you do know, you choose to humor him, no matter how insane the request may seem. It's worth it to avoid the storm.
We still struggle with OCD tendencies...repeating movements and phrases, obsessing over dates of upcoming events and counting down the days until they arrive. This one is an endless battle for him.
Basically, Jerry in the raw (unmedicated) is autistic. Yep. Whereas the medications masked a lot of those tendencies before, we are having to learn how to cope with them for the first time now. All in all, he is no worse than he was on the medications and maybe even a little more tolerable behavior- wise. While we do still have some aggression and cursing, they are nowhere near the level of uncontrollable rage that had him screaming he wanted to chop our heads off before and kill us with a knife. Now he just hates us from time to time and wishes he had new parents. That's not autism. That's teenager.
And we saw Dr. Foradada for the first time today since weaning Jerry and had to confess to him that we did so without his knowledge or supervision. He was totally fine with it.
I am a Christian. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am an author. In that order.