Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Raising Denver Part 7: The Present

It's taken trial and error and lot's of work, but now we have a routine. Denver is on medications to help him slow down and concentrate easier. They work for him. When making choices about meds, check out my blog on to med or not to med. We keep his routine as predictable as possible and even then he can get picky about some of the strangest things.

He used to be very picky about who read him a bedtime story or helped him get his toothbrush ready. He's a bit more accepting now. He can still be very touchy about some things, often at random. He can have a meltdown once in a while and that requires letting him hide in his blankets until it passes. Most of his fits can be stopped now with some basic behavior techniques. Before his meds, that didn't happen and we arrived late to school because of it.

As with the beginning, Denver takes his challenges head on. Currently that is the challenge of living through the divorce of his parents. He doens't fully understand why Mom doesn't live with us anymore, but he's taking it in stride. He's doing great things with his school work and I believe we have him on the path to some success.

Being an autistic Dad has given me some insight to him as well. I can relate to much of what he goes through and why. I know why he behaves in certain ways when the behaviors happen. I also know he responds best to a calm response, even if it seems he doesn't want to listen.

There's no such thing as a perfect parent and I make my share of mistakes. I correct what I can and keep going forward. Denver can trigger my autism by flashing things close up to my face so I have to turn my head away. Or he'll make one of his blaring or high pitched sounds that make me cringe. I do my best to explain what he's causing and he now knows that high pitched squeaking hurts my ears. So he comes up to me from time to time and says "squeak squeak". That earns him an explaination in how it isn't funny to do things that hurt others, even as a joke. Poking at others for their reactions is a noted Asperger's trait. Maybe because we are trying to experience the things we don't always feel.

I'm sure I trigger him as well, that's just something we have to learn about and get around. For example, if I sing a silly song at him it angers him very much. I'm not sure why really. But he hates it. Maybe I'm a really bad singer? I will say that observers have told me that we operate together really smoothly. I do try my best and I appreciate hearing that. It's quite uplifting, even if it doesn't show on my face.

Recently I was thinking of an old comic strip storyline called Lone Wolf and Cub, set in Feudal Japan. The story of a wandering samurai who's wife died and left him a child. He keeps the child with him on adventures and goes about cutting down obstacles in the form of blade wielding enemies. Through it all, he protects and raises the child. I'm no sword toting warrior, but in our world these days there's a lot to protect yourself from. When you're a single parent, you have to watch out for your child while balancing life itself. It's a challenge, especially when you're both autistic. So there is room for comparison to that old comic strip and we'll face each day, together, like Lone Wolf and Cub.

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