Wowsers this week’s been a whopper.
We as a family had some good news last week that there may be some progress with finding a bigger home for us.
“That’s great” we thought
“Maybe, just maybe, we could move by Christmas time!?”
Fast forward only two days (thats right two days!!) and we’re standing outside a beautiful 4 bed house with the papers signed and the keys in our hands!!
Yes it’s been positive, yes it’s been quick and yes Dylan doesn’t know what’s going on! With very little time: we need to have completed the move by early March- and absolutely no preparation for moving made, a lot of the physical graft and preparation has fallen on Dad. Fine usually but when you’re home educating that means Dylan too!
So after a few days of hanging around hardware stores and sitting in a cold dirty house for hours we took Dylan out for a bit of Dylan time.
Hoovers. It’s not the sucking motion, it’s not the appearance and it’s certainly not the noise they make but Dylan loves a good Hoover. Its the manufacturing stickers on the back that Dylan is interested in. He moves each appliance so he can see the sticker on the back. I followed him around for about 15 minutes doing this. Afterwards much calmer. Oh and hungry, we skipped dinner; off to McDonalds we went 🙂
Grace’s 10th birthday party was this week and she opted for a climbing theme. We arranged for seven giggling 9-10 year old girls with Josh and Dylan to all have 90 minutes on a climbing wall with an instructor.
Dylan appeared keen from the get go. He quickly grabbed himself a helmet when instructed but then the whole concept got a bit real and from that point on Dylan was a bit more apprehensive.
When Dylan starts to get anxious he will whine and winge and usually sit out. He get frustrated and bored and will then require direct attention from a parent to ensure he is kept focused and behaviours don’t spiral for him. This isn’t bad behaviour but Dylan’s anxiety coupled with frustration at himself for being unable to complete the task. To most people they see “Dylan can’t do it; he needs to sit out.”
The party leader was relatively new so she was being supported by a more experienced instructor, lets call him Bill. On the registration form it requested any medical details for the children and for Dylan I added ‘autism -non verbal’.
Bill instinctively saw Dylans anxiety but also his wish to be involved. He showed Dylan the equipment and let him hold it before asking if he would like to wear it. He spoke directly to Dylan and copied the way I gave Dylan simple language and clear choices so Dylan could repeat his option back to me.
Dylan will link onto my arm when we’re out and gradually through the party when he was ready to try a bit more equipment or to feel the wall a bit more, Dylan started to unlink my arm and go and link arms with Bill.
Well. He only got on the flipping wall!! And more than once!!
Bill was so supportive and reassuring for Dylan. Once off the floor Dylan would panic, it looked like his correctly fitting groin harness was sending him into sensory overload and he wanted to get down now. Dylan would grab onto Bill’s hands and hold them tight but Bill took it fine. Some people recoil when Dylan tries to touch them. I suppose being an adolescent boy Dylan has some tactile needs that are closer to a boy younger in age; like the arm linking or hand holding and not everyone understands why Dylan does this. Bill didn’t care.
Bill was cool.
Just out of interest I asked Josh and Grace;
‘Dylan always has a blanket on his head or his hood up or his head covered; do you know why?
Josh felt it was because the light might hurt Dylan’s eyes or maybe he wore it as he was worried about loud noises which might make him jump.
Grace felt that Dylan might be cold and so used it to keep warm.
I explained the insight that Dad and I got from a recent talk about Proprioceptive Dysfunction. For those not aware of the Proprioceptive sense it basically means to have an awareness of our own bodies in space and time.
– We know where our hands are without touching them.
– We know we are upright when standing and for example can easily gauge when there is a slope of step when we are walking. For this we can plan for the motion of adjusting to our environment as we are aware of where our bodies are in space.
Dylan has a dysfunction with this system. He will often appear to be “limp” and lethargic all the time despite being very active. He will frequently bump into objects and people accidentally and will trip and fall often, this is all due to him not being aware of his limbs or feeling able to maintain awareness of where he is in relation to himself or anywhere else. All elements of this affect his confidence and ability to integrate with others.
To explain this to Josh and Grace I used the example of our faces and heads.
‘How do we know we have a nose or a head on our neck without reaching up sand feeling it? – We just do, because we have this ability to sense it. Dylan doesn’t have this so much so maybe having a blanket over it helps him feel grounded and safe, so he knows where his head is.’
Both Josh and Grace looked at me thoughtfully, smiled and accepted it as a little nugget of Dylan wisdom.
Another little step of understanding.