Topic: The Kids
Ok! I know! It's a catchy title to get you to read my funny story. However, recently, my "First Mate" (group leader) on the TOS Homeschool Crew sent us all a link to a blog post that she had written a couple of years ago. Penny, also has a child on the autism spectrum and she used a funny, but great illustration to talk about the challenges of autism. It seems that a neighbor had put up a lovely light display on his home. Unfortunately, the trees between Penny and the neighbor turned his light display into something completely different than what it was intended to be. I won't tell you anything else, except that it has to do with the word "poop". You'll have to read Penny's blog to find out what I'm talking about! Here's the link - http://notnewtoautism.blogspot.com/2008/12/view-from-my-kitchen-window.html.
Anyway, her story inspired me to write my own post about Joshua, our asperger's child, and the word "poop". Some of you have kept track over the past year of our quest to find ways to help Joshua. It was almost exactly a year ago that Joshua was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome, which is also on the autism spectrum. Some folks classify asperger's as high functioning autism, while others put it in a totally separate category. Whatever the case may be, "aspies" are very challenging to raise. No two aspies are the same, they each have their own peculiarities, but one frequent tendency of aspies is phobias. Although he still has a few, thankfully, Joshua has outgrown many of the fears that he had when he was younger. Some fears that he had were common, like being afraid of bugs - we had to create names for them like "Oh that's just Martha Moth. She would never hurt you. And look! There's more of her family!" or "Look at Betty Beetle. Isn't she cute?". To this day, whenever Joshua sees something flying out of the corner of his eye he'll say "Oh, there's Martha's brother. He won't hurt you."
But, some phobias were completely odd. Like his phobia of bird poop on the car. We used to attend, as a family, a Bible study that had a homeschool group for the boys to attend while the adults were in their own class. One day we were running late so we chose the closest parking space. A parking space that was right under...you guessed it...a tree with beautiful red berries on it. Joshua must have been 4 or 5 years old at the time and when he came out of the Bible study, he would NOT set foot in the car with all of the bird droppings on it. There was nothing we could do! He screamed, cried, ran...he was terrified! Thankfully, we had a good friend that went to the same study. She finally offered to take Joshua in her car and follow us to the local car wash so that Joshua would be able to ride in a clean van while we continued to run errands around town.
As I said, Joshua is doing much better, now, but he still has his moments. We have learned how to spot things that might cause a "meltdown" and stop the situation before it gets out of hand. Now we have Jacob, our youngest. He is beginning to display some of the same tendencies that Joshua did at this age. Thankfully, however, we now know the signs and caught it early and we are in the process of getting him tested now. As I've said before, there is never a dull moment in the Tinkel household. Ah well, at least we don't have to worry about poop on the car anymore but, tomorrow is another day.
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