Thursday, January 9, 2014

Turn Taking Games Are A Challenge

Autism.  Therapy.  They go hand in hand.  Usually as soon as you get the diagnosis you seek therapy.  Whether it is speech, OT, physical, social, DIR, ABA, BSC and TSS services or countless others.  One of them or all of them you go for it and submerge your ASD kiddo into therapies.  It seems like our children 'work' all the time right?  At least it is like that in my home.  We combine therapies and playtime so it may seem like playing to others but it takes work to play.  You get that, right.

After years of trying to get him to take turns to play a game, like SCRABBLE, it happened voluntarily last didn't need to set the timer to get him to sit for 1 minute, didn't have to give him a reward for taking 1 turn and another reward for taking another turn.

I picked up this game called Bugs in the Kitchen.  We have so many games that we tried but none of them kept his attention with the exception of the Pizza game, introduced to us by his former TSS turned BSC but even with that the directions were tweaked a bit.  In other words, our game collection was huge but no games were preferred.

Anyway, this game grabbed his attention and kept him at the table for not only 1 game but 2 whole turn taking games!  A simple concept.  A simple design.  An easy direction game.  Plus, bonus, nano HEX bugs.  The game comes with one and I purchased 2 more in different colors so he has a choice.  Roll the dice and either a fork, spoon, knife or ? come up.  Then you turn that utensil to eventually make a path into your trap.  The nano is running the entire time so it is bouncing, turning, making noise (totally sensory) and it made him extremely attentive to the game.

Wanted to share because it is rare to keep his attention let alone play a turn taking game with his sister or anyone for that matter.

Playing Bugs in the Kitchen...genius game! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Birthday To You. Happy....Migraine?

It was a big day...his 10th birthday!  The day was planned.  Celebrate with cupcakes at school, celebrate with his buddies in the after school program then head off to Red Robin for a cheeseburger and fries then come home to cake and presents....sounds exhausting right?  But things don't always go according to plans.

First, school was cancelled due to the wind chill factor being at -20 which meant not only was there no school but no after school program.  Bummer but totally understand.  So that left me at planning a super fun filled birthday day!!

We bundled up and went to Perkins for breakfast.  Not only did he eat his entire breakfast but half of mine also.  That is what growing boys do, finish their food then scan your plate for more.  Then we went to Toys R Us to spend some gift cards they kids received at Christmas.  They love doing that and are really good at knowing how much is on the card and how much they can spend.  Then a local craft store, which they love and back home.

Late afternoon he started to lay down, which is almost never done.  Told everyone to 'leave me alone.  I'm watching Animal Planet' so we did.  After all it was his birthday. 

Dad came home early and we were getting ready to go to Red Robin.  Everyone's coats and hats were on and then he said, "No hot dogs.  Hot dogs make me throw up."  Now why did he say that out of the blue?  The guessing game started.

Does your belly hurt?  No.
Does your head hurt?  No.
Is your throat laughing?  No.  (We learned 3 weeks ago that when his throat laughs, it means he is about to get sick.)
What hurts?  Leave me alone.
Do you want to go to Red Robin?  Shakes his head yes but starts crying and reviews with us that "no hot dogs.  they make me throw up."
Are you still full from breakfast?  No.

A few more questions then we asked if he wanted to go back to the couch and he did.  "no food.  no food tonight." 

OK so his stomach was upset.  "Does your belly hurt?"  No.  I need my PJs.  OK.  See how this can be confusing?

Now parents, you know when your kid's belly hurts you get the towels and blankets ready along with the bucket just in case.  Hubby and I were monitoring him and watching him trying to figure out what was wrong.  So many different scenarios to choose from with no information from him.  I don't blame him.  Maybe he doesn't know.  He talks to us but WH questions still are a challenge. 

My NT daughter would be able to tell you the exact place she hurt with details to spare but I find with him, it is a guessing game.  About a month ago he demanded we take him to the emergency room but the only thing he could tell us was 'this hurts' and pointed to his back.  Now, here is the frustrating part.  I call his pediatrician and they ask what are his symptoms.  We go over the list and nothing.  He doesn't complain about anything but points to his back.  The doctor said to take him so we did and they prescribed Miralax.  Then when he got home he told us 'all better'.  There is still a communication gap but it is getting better. 

Finally he asked for the lights out.  OK, now we're getting somewhere.  Migraine?  He has had a few before but doesn't complain about his head hurting....ever. 

Giant Eagle from Angry Birds.
 He has been asking for it for over a year now. 
Feeling bad about his birthday, as moms usually always feel guilty somehow, we at least got him to open his gifts.  He wasn't thrilled and wanted to just lay down but when he saw the size of the last one, he got excited, opened it, then laid back down. 

We'll celebrate another day but if I may make a birthday wish?  I wish he would be able to tell me when something hurts or when something is wrong or when he just feels down.  We only want to help him but the guessing game makes it so much harder.