Oh, a little better and a little worse…

In a week we have gone from senseless SIB to a more moderate approach.  We actually had one full SIB-less day.  It was short, but it was also truly lovely.

This is all, we suppose, anxiety over some unnamed event, incident, feeling, concern, fear, perception that J cannot express clearly.  That’s what the amount of band-aids J has been using tells us.  He made over 20 packets (half of them the green with the seven strips, two of which go to his forehead, and half of them the red that only has five for thumb and fingers…) and he’s down to about three.  This is since Sunday…that is a lot of bandaids.  On Monday I ordered a ridiculous amount of bandages from an online medical supply outlet, and they were delivered yesterday.  The logic behind this (aside from making people wonder what the heck goes on in our household) is that if we have more than we need, we will need less.  The same logic that applies when one keeps the ER-ready bag with extra blankets, clothes, etc….if you’re packed, you won’t go.  If you don’t pack, the kid will be so sick that you will have to reupholster your car.  J opened the box of boxes of bandages and his reaction was similar to the happiest child on Christmas morning.  Go figure!

In the middle of all this head-hitting I’ve noticed that J shakes his head as if to stimulate himself.  It’s not a strong shake, nor is it consistently there…it just, once in a while, happens when he’s done hitting himself.  I was telling Dada that, as a child, I used to do that if I felt a bit of a headache.  I wanted to see if it REALLY hurt.  (Hey, no judging…I was a weird child, and this has been firmly established over the time I’ve been writing this blog!)  It’s almost as if he wants to make sure he has hit himself hard enough.  He doesn’t say it hurts, but when I’ve offered him liquid acetaminophen, he’s accepted the dose.

It could be, maybe, that his wisdom teeth are coming in.  It could be that he is just overindulging in the self-stimulation that is all too common in people with ASD.  It could be that he is upset.  We just can’t seem to figure out EXACTLY what the root of this is.

Right now, as I type this, I can hear him giggling as he listens to music and looks at the cute little spider that is frozen on his TV screen.  Last night we finally got his helper to stay with him for a while.  We had hoped to do this on Saturday, but he was too over-stimulated for us to feel comfortable leaving her alone with him.  Instead we stayed home and focused on him, and he slowly leveled off nicely.  Yesterday he was happy to see her, eager to see us leave, and was deemed only “slightly obstinate” in a text message response to my query about how he was doing.  He was happy to see us come home, and there were no demands for extra pay, and she didn’t run to her car as if in fear of being followed.  Of course, she might have been playing cool.

So…definite semi-progress.  We are trying our best.  And we have acquired what we refer to as Def-Con J boards from the lovely people at Amazon.com.  Of course, these are really Autism Supplies And Developments PECS Feelings Boards, but it’s more apropos of the absurdity that is our day-to-day life if we alter them to have mustaches, goatees, and full (ok…somewhat sparse) heads of hair to help him recognize himself, and we call them Def-Con J boards.  What can be more effective, when out on errands, to get a text from the helper saying DF5?  You will leave your cart in the middle of the store and run out while yelling beat to quarters, and you might be black-listed at that particular store, but you will know what to expect as you pull up to your driveway.

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Now, of course, I’m working on getting J to understand that he doesn’t ALWAYS have to be HAPPY.  SAD, FRUSTRATED, MAD are totally acceptable feelings if they are expressed and we are allowed to help him work through them.  I know, I know…too abstract a concept?  Maybe?  Well…it has to be taught.  J shouldn’t feel pressured to ALWAYS be happy.  J should know that we love him no matter what, and we want to help him through whatever is bothering him, and being upset is totally fine.

There you go…

Thursday…

We plod on…

with the occasional bounce inserted for good measure…

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