June 9, 2011
Chef took his lunch to school! And an entire lunch at that - stew, a mango, a grapefruit. He also picked up a loaf of bread and had intended to take that as well then put it down when he was reminded to take only some of the loaf and to wrap it or put it in a container.
I asked Chef why he hadn't changed his shirt yet this week. "Because I didn't have a bath last night." The schoolbus was already waiting, so I didn't continue the conversation at that point but I'll be exploring that statement with Chef tonight to find out what he meant. Maybe Chef's understanding of putting on a clean shirt after having a bath means the ONLY time you put on a clean shirt is after having a bath. Hmmm.
Partway through the morning I received a text from Chef's EA asking about Chef's glasses because Chef had told his EA that I wouldn't let him have them. I have two thoughts on this - either he's doing his usual and blaming me for his actions and/or choices OR he's confusing the conversations regarding his old glasses, which are to now stay home (though he knows his new glasses are to be at school and he's had numerous reminders to take them there).
This weekend a friend has offered to take us along for a tour of various artists' studios. As often happens regarding such events, I'm torn. As Chef's Mom, I know this would be a beneficial opportunity for him and would create some positive memories in his life. But also as Chef's Mom, it sure would be nice to have some time alone with friends and just focus on myself for a change during an event...shockingly, even with the way Chef has behaved her lately, my neighbour has offered to take Chef for the day so I could have the day to myself. The catch is, that as relaxing as that sounds, I have a sense that I'd be waiting all day for the phonecall saying Chef had run off from her place or was causing problems for her, and that I'd be dealing with his anger all the next day. On the other hand, there is never a guarantee that Chef will go along somewhere. The only thing for certain right now is that I won't be telling Chef anything until Friday evening or possibly Saturday morning because there's always a strong risk that Chef will "act out" if he knows in advance that we're going somewhere new or there's a change in his general routine. Right now, though, I'm definitely leaning towards bringing him along on the studio tour and hoping that the memories from that day will make it all worthwhile.
I've been looking for volunteers for this summer; folks who would be willing to commit to spending at least one hour a week with Chef to take him to the park or swimming, etc. I've put a request on Facebook and have sent emails to the local colleges. My hope is that having different people doing different activities with him throughout the summer would help Chef continue to grow in his social skills and accept a broader variety of people in his life, as well as provide a bit of respite time. It would definitely be of benefit to students who are studying in certain fields, and volunteer opportunities are always good for community-building. We sure haven't had much success in finding individuals to work with Chef otherwise, but I'm hoping that an hour a week will be do-able for some folks who are community-minded.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.