Sunday, October 29, 2006

A world of our own

Even though it is reported that 1 in 166 children today have some form of an autism spectrum disorder, when we are out in public with Nick we are in a world of our own. To many outsiders, Nick can ALMOST blend in with normal 2yr old behavior. Although I do suspect that even outsiders can detect something "Off"; many will not say anything and just smile. Today we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for Michael's friend Rachel. I often have to employ Michael somewhat on these outings, out of necessity. Mostly it is to hold Nicks hand when either getting out of or into the car. Unlike most kids his age, Nick is oblivious to danger. I know most toddlers are, but we are talking about a kid who one day walked right into Carter Lake and walked himself under water. It was one of the worst moments in my life, and thankfully I was right there to pull him out immediately. Nick will not answer to his name, so it is imperative that he is kept close for his own safety. If he happened to get loose in a crowd, it could be disastrous. He has no way of communicating,and only understands certain phrases that we have used. So, I often have Michael help out in some instances where I just do not have enough hands. So, I decided that Michael should be able to go out and have fun despite his brother's issues; and that Nick should go along to also have "fun". I try to expose Nick to as many social outings as I can possibly tolerate with him. We had barely got into the door when he began to scream. Luckily, he was calmed by me holding him, and we found our party within seconds of entering--I was thankful not to have to look for them! I automatically asked for a highchair for Nick. The party was held in the upstairs portion of the place which was quieter and more Nicks pace. (I think the good Lord knew that was best!) To many of the guests, Nick was just a very quiet fellow who entertained himself with straws,and refused to eat any of the food. Until he unleashed his fury when I had to get Michael a drink. I came back to hear him screaming, and thrashing himself in the highchair. He had a crowd of people around him trying to prevent him from tipping over. Michael had a good time, and it was nice to see him smiling and playing with his friends. As we reached the 2 hour mark of the party, Nick entertained people with singing in a barely audible voice "Rain Rain Go Away" People outside our world think it is just the cutest thing--"Oh he is singing!" they say. However, we here from Nickland know it really means that he is about at his breaking point, and we had better get going SOON. But there are two problems here: 1. Michael is nowhere to be found and 2. Mommy has to pee! Judging from Nicks response to my absence earlier, leaving him for a few minutes was out of the question. I took him with me downstairs amidst all the chaos of kids having fun. Nick lasted about 2 minutes before he started to "shutdown". He clenched his hand to mine and every few seconds I would feel him stiffen up. When we got to the bathroom he lost it. He threw himself to the floor screaming, and I basically dragged him into the stall with me. I have become sorta immune to his screaming, but I realize that others are not, so I try in vain to calm him; but it never works. It does not help that he is pounding either his hands or his head on the back of the stall door while screaming. I know it is the noise that irritates him, maybe we should get him some ear phones to put on his head? It is during outings like this that make me feel we are an island to ourselves. We have Nick's very first IEP meeting this Tuesday to discuss his transition to developmental preschool. I also went to that EFMP class on Thursday, and got a ton of information regarding special trust funds, education laws, and all the things this military program provides. It was also nice to meet other parents with special needs kids. I ended up meeting a couple of other parents of autistic kids and just to have someone else say "I know...we too have had that problem" is so comforting. I have signed up to become a member of an ASD(Autism Spectrum Disorder) support group, and even hope to volunteer for some stuff.
Michael is doing good in school! I had a meeting with his teacher last week, and he said Michael is right on par with the other kids in class! YEAH!! He is going to lose that bottom tooth any day now! It is hanging by a thread! Well, I am going to go for now and get to bed. Thats all that has gone on in our little area of the world!

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