Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Behavior breakthroughs

When your spectrum child has a breakthrough with anywhere in their behaviors, do you praise them? You should. Let me tell you about a breakthrough in my son's behaviors. Panic in unsecured situations is fairly normal for any child. On the spectrum, it takes more to get used to odd situations than for a typical child.

When we left for a Christmas vacation in Louisiana, to spend time with my girlfriend's family, we took off early in the morning. Snow blew heavily and we dealt with treacherous roads to get out of town. We didn't make it out of town for that matter. Ten minutes into our drive we slid into a ditch between and exit road and the highway. We had to be towed out. My son felt panic, naturally and had to be constantly reassured that we would be pulled out by the towtruck we called. We were safely pulled out and on our way with no further incident. The trip was a great success and lots of fun.

A couple weeks ago, we were driving my beat up little Geo Tracker from Oshkosh to Sheboygan. The engine rattled and got quite noisy. Smoke billowed from the rear. We were in trouble and it was dark out. I knew the engine was going, but I had to push it as far as I could. We couldn't be stranded in the cold and the dark. I was sure that Denver would panic and be afraid of trips or something.

Instead, he looked up from his DS he played and said in a matter of fact tone: "Uh oh, we might need a towtruck, Dad." No panic at all.

As luck, fate or Guardian Angel might have it, we managed to get just into the parking lot of a convenience store before we rolled to a stop. We had even coasted with no engine power at all for the last eighty yards or so. My son was able to sit indoors in safety, at a table to play his DS while we waited for the towtruck and my girlfriend to rescue us. I commended my son for his fine handling of himself because he really did do a good job with the situation. Often, situations that are out of our control are our greatest challenges. He did a great job, and I'm very proud of him.

Our high functioning kids (especially them), do have the capability to learn and grow. Watching for those milestones can be uplifting and should be commended.

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