Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Good and the...Not So Good

I keep being told that things will get easier as my son gets older. So I wanted to reflect back and list some of the things that truly have gotten easier, and maybe some of the things that have gotten harder, over the last few months. The good list: 1. My son has actually started using his imagination! It took a long time, but at 4 1/2, I can say that he is finally playing with his little brother. It is usually the same story or game...spiderman, "cooking", hide-and-seek...but, nevertheless, it is play. 2. He seems to be easier to reason with. Or maybe bribe? If you don't stop "x", then you can't have "y". He does not remember consequences for the most part, and sometimes (or most of the time?) rules go in one ear and out the other, but we can get through to him with a little less chaos. Which brings me to my next point... 3. Tantrums and meltdowns are shorter. Oh, yes, we still have them...loud, kicking, screaming, hitting, crazy meltdowns...but they are, for the most part, getting shorter. Maybe it's because of the bribing??? (See number 2) :) 4. He is able to communicate better. No, a stranger could probably still not understand most of what he says. But he has learned to use the words or signs that we understand to ask for what he wants. I know that we are extremely lucky in the fact that he is not totally non-verbal. And his baby brother understands him completely! Seriously, I think they just have that connection! 5. He is easier to take out of the house into public, as long as we remember that the trip has to stay short and simple. And, even then, it's sometimes not predictable what will happen. We've learned that it's okay to make a quick get-away. Along with the good comes...the not so good: 1. His screams have gotten more ear-piercing, if that is even possible. The older he gets, the louder his voice can go. And he really loves to scream. It's his way of saying, "Hey, I am frustrated!!!" 2. He is strong. Not that being strong has to be a bad thing, but when he gets mad...well, it's hard for me at times to control him so that he doesn't hurt himself without getting hurt myself. Again, the older he gets, the stronger he gets. That's just reality. 3. He is licking everything! I knew that this was a very common trait of children with autism, but we had not seen a lot of it up to this point. He mouthed things in the past (still does), but the licking is fairly new. Anything and everything gets licked, including us...yuck! There's my list for now. I should probably revisit it every few months, just to see the progress (and maybe some of the regression) that we have made. Let's hope the progress wins out!

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