Chef has done amazingly well recently. He's been kind and helpful and has used appropriate language and worked on communication skills. He's been reading voraciously, engaging in conversation when we watch documentaries or TEDTalks in the evening, AND he has washed his bedding recently!!
Today, however, is day three of Chef being "off" and he's now left for school without eating and without anything for a mid-morning snack.
Sunday was full of many more reminders than are usually needed, particularly for a relaxing Sunday. He seemed to be on the verge of whining most of the day (but didn't go there:-) ), seemed to have trouble focussing on what he was doing/how to do it every single time he'd go into the kitchen to get himself a snack/tea, and otherwise spent the bulk of his day sleeping. I considered waking him at one point, but was my brain was glad for the break and I'd hoped the sleeping would reboot his system from whatever was going on. At one point the kitchen timer went off and he came to the living room and asked if he could turn off the timer. I asked him why he was asking permission for something like that. He said he knew he shouldn't turn off a timer that someone else had set unless he knew they'd heard it. That's great! I was pleased that he knew that. The concerning part was that I hadn't set the timer. Chef appeared confused and angry when I pointed that out (facial expression! and no meltdown!). At that point, I started trying to figure out what on earth had happened to cause all of this. Change in season? That's definitely had an effect over the years. Having a glass of soda pop a couple nights prior? Chef's behaviours have often been linked to what he's ingested, though once in awhile I figure "maybe it's ok by now" and offer something bizarrely different for him, though I did so in the evening with the idea that he'd sleep it off - it seems odd that it wouldn't effect him til a couple days later though.
I'd initially dismissed anything from Saturday since we'd spent the day at a CPR recertification class and Chef had spent the day in the back of the room reading and playing a computer game - though I did remember thinking it was odd that he said he couldn't wait to go home and nap because he was so tired out from the day. And then I realized it! The few times I turned to look behind me to check in with Chef, he was on the laptop. And when we broke for lunch, he proudly showed me how many buildings he'd created in his game. And when we'd finished our lunch, he went back to the laptop. Aha!! I'm guessing he played that computer game for around 4 hours!!
When Chef is left to just his own ideas on how to fill his time without any suggestion/guidance, eating and sleeping are his default with the recent addition of reading. If he runs out of books that are in his immediate area of interest, he will typically again default back to wanting to nap or eat rather than exploring other books or coming up with other activities. He is pretty easygoing now about activities that are suggested to him (as opposed to when he was younger and didn't want to leave his room/our house), but he still struggles to independently think of things to do. We've tried creating lists for him, and I had pictures for him when he was younger, but as many of you know, Chef is not fond (uncomfortable at some level) of accessing visual helps/prompts/information.
Yesterday was better than Sunday, and this morning I couldn't tell if there was still residual stuff going on or whether it was just his average, typical morning struggles. I'm hoping that by the time Chef comes home from school today things will have levelled out for him.
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.