Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Morning Trials

My son, Denver, does not like being woke up in the morning. He likes to wake up at his own speed. You can tell the difference in the mornings that he gets himself out of bed, he's simply a happier kid. Heaven help me if I have to wake him up in the middle of the night, he can get really angry then. Just a year ago he could go into a violent fit at being awakened. He's better about that now, but still doens't like it.

Today he got out of bed at the sound of me walking around the apartment. So out bounces a happy rested Denver. I get him some clothes, sometimes he picks them, and we have a race to get dressed. It's a great way to get him motivated to move in the morning or at others times as well. He usually wins, but not this morning. Next it's time to pick what he wants for breakfast. He get's his choice out of what we have, depending on if I'm up to making it. I won't make pancakes every day, after all.

After he has his breakfast it's time for the morning trouble spot. He used to be much better about taking his meds. Now, when I tell him it's time for both of us to take our meds, I get a screaming fit. He knocked his toy castle of the table and started kicking everything near him. He's learned to pull his punches on objects because he knows it will hurt if he lays into things at full strength. That's how I know it's a fit he can control. I offer him time out until he's ready to take his medicine for the day. He immediately comes over to me stomping, huffing and swatting at things near him. He takes his medicine and I take mine. I remind him gently that he knows what his day will be like if he doesn't take his medicine or I don't take mine. Then I send him to the couch to have a time out anyway because of the fit.

That earns me a loud, "I hate you" that I ignore and sit down to check my emails. He goes through a noise making stage and inevitably wants to know when he can get up.

"When do you think you can get up?"
"When I've been quiet."
"Have you?"
Back to my emails. He remains silent for several minutes. Normally time out ranges at one minute for each year of age. I give him a touch of slack on that sometimes, when his meds haven't kicked in yet. I'll go for three or four minutes. He pulls that off and I let him get up. Apology is given and we're off on the rest of our morning.

At about 7:30 I check his homework and sign his school papers. There's some reading done. He loves to read and it's quickly becoming as strong point of his. The only other thing about mornings is getting him to slow down. I swear he's going to wake the neighborhood. One of his stimming behaviors is to shake his head and hands rapidly while jumping up and down emitting a high pitched EEEEEEEE sound. This causes my poor eardrums (with my own sensitivity to sound)to go into a panic. I have found myself yelling STOP, more than once with my hands over my ears. It's hard to not do that, like trying not to let your leg kick when the dr hits that nerve in your knee. Most times, he does stop and he knows what sounds bug me. Sometimes he uses them on purpose, so I put him in time out on purpose.

As far as I'm concerned, using someones sensitivities to harass or harm is just like walking up and punching them. I won't allow it. If he does it to me, he'll do it to some kid at school. I won't allow that if I can help it.

Once the meds kick in he slows down and has much better control over his impulses that are very hyperactive up until then.

I give him time warnings before we are going to leave or I'm going to have him do his homework. That helps to keep from interrupting him from what he's doing. When I suddenly interrupt him from an activity he's absorbed in, I can get a stomping fit that just gets him into trouble and causes us a delays. So I give him a fifteen minute and maybe a five minute warning. If he gives me grief over those, it's time out. If he goes along with it all and does what he's supposed to, he gets a blue poker chip in the "go" jar for a reward later on.

At 8:00 it's time to put on shoes and make sure backpack is ready to go. Then, by 8:10 we are headed out the door. I'm very particular about when I get out the door to go somewhere. I hate being late or slow to get going. If we run late it means parking hassles and stress, I hate that. Yes, I do work with it and try to keep my stress down, but like most autistics I have my routines and I can be obsessive about them.

I wait with Denver at school until he's ready to go to class. Goodbye's are given with promise that I will be back when school lets out and the morning business is done.

As for non-school days, those are very relaxed and everyone gets to sleep in. Summer may bring some other changes in schedule, but we'll see when we get there.


Unknown said...

Wow, I can see you guys have some very busy days, but it looks like you're doing great with routines =)

David Wilde said...

Thank you very much, we do our best :)