Posts Tagged autism and humor

Dilemma in a Vacuum

Vacuum Cleaner Antique

A few months back our trusty Dyson vacuum finally gave out after many years of faithful service. We’ve had it fixed before, but this time the main handle cracked in half. No repairing that.

We replaced it quickly with a new Hoover. When you have two dogs and what you might describe as a “highly active” son, vacuum cleaners are a survival tool.

And thus rose a dilemma. A dilemma only a parent of a son with autism would face. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Lollipop Kid

Clay’s Mom continues to provide us updates on the little guy’s progress in occupational therapy. Here’s her latest: 

LollipopWho would have thought that a swirled candy confection would prompt an eye-opening discussion about Clay’s vision?

A few Fridays back Mother Nature gifted us with a half foot of snow and an instant three-day weekend. This meant Clay had no chance to stretch his legs outside, so I was happy we had an occupational therapy appointment scheduled in the afternoon with Marjorie Cases.

Marjorie and her staff allowed us into the therapy room early to use the swing, which has a calming effect on Clay. When Marjorie came in, he was ready at the gate for his hour-long session. Read the rest of this entry »

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Polar Express

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It was the second day this week we wound up snowbound, so Clay shot toward the door Tuesday afternoon when I asked if he wanted to take a walk.

For me, it was a survival tactic. Boredom leads to compulsive behaviors. We already had barred entry to the upstairs bathroom and moved every paperback in the house out of reach. Preventive measures.

For the little guy, walking is what he was born to do.  He puts endless miles on his shoes every day. But trudging through the snow has its challenges. The great walker doesn’t like things on or near his head (hence the monthly haircut wars), so a hat to keep his ears warm is out of the question. He’s not a big fan of gloves, either. Boots he’ll tolerate. He’s used to wearing them for horseback riding. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Lessons Learned

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Clay turned 18 this summer, a pretty big milestone for any kid – and any parent. This one got me thinking about life with Clay over those years – the gradual road to a diagnosis, an emergency trip to Children’s Hospital in the middle of the night for a scary infection, surgery for swollen adenoids, the continuing search for therapists, the search for the right school situation, his connection with horses and other animals, the discovery of his inner world through typing. It has been quite a journey.

To celebrate the little guy’s birthday, I collected three lessons he has taught me in an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which appears this weekend. Click here to see it along with a couple of pictures of the wise one around town. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blog Interrupted

Dishwashingliquid

My apologies. I won’t be able to write a blog update this week because we are breaking in a new type of dishwashing soap.

I’m sure you understand.

New bottles of dishwashing soap – with their intriguing shapes, alluring colors, inherent squeezability – draw Clay’s attention. We try hard to stick with the same brand to avoid these issues -we really do. But sometimes circumstances dictate a change. We are in the midst of such a change, and it is all consuming.

There is no point in hiding the new bottle. We could put it inside a paper bag, inside of a box, inside of a safe, inside of a darkened corner of the locked basement. Clay will know it is there. He will find it. My worries about his eyesight (How do you give a nonverbal kid who can’t sit still an eye test?) are generally alleviated when something new enters the house. We could place a magnet the size of an ant’s kneecap on the back of the refrigerator. Old eagle eye will spot it, as he shoots through the kitchen at nearly 100 miles per hour, and carry it off to some far distant corner of the house. Where one of the dogs will sniff it out and chew it up. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ruby Slippers

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Getting a new pair of shoes was a butterflies-in-the-stomach experience for me as a kid. Nearly in the same category as a visit to the dentist.

Once a year my mother would take my brother and I to a corner store in a decaying neighborhood near where she grew up.  Inside, an old man, stooped with age, arthritic fingers smelling of foot sweat, breath reeking of feta cheese and death, carefully measured our feet – poking and prodding – while we sat in tiny chairs. Next, he would retreat to the back room, which I imagined contained all sorts of horrors – a wreath made of pinky toes, jars of pickled children’s feet, the mummified carcass of Dr. Scholl. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where’s the Cheese?

Clay has been banned from our bedroom.

Well, not completely. Just during those times when we can’t be there to keep an eye on him. I’ve mentioned before that one of his favorite pastimes is to slam his body onto our bed. He already has broken the frame. (I’ve got it rigged with duct tape and basset hound saliva to hold together for now.) I may not have mentioned that he also strips off the bed covers, pulls clothes and shoes out of our closets, scatters night-stand books, yanks the not-so-precious gems out of my wife’s jewelry box and generally makes quite a mess.

There are times—a lot of times—when the room looks like a burglar came through the window followed maybe an hour later by a tornado. Then a swarm of rabid, underwear chewing wolverines stopped by. So, we said, “Enough. Wreak your havoc elsewhere, oh Lord of Chaos, oh King of Collateral Damage. The Dark Knight of the Achy Lower Back Shall Abide Thou Foul Knavery No More.”

Here’s the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sweet Mysteries

About two weeks ago, my wife began leaving the paper towel roll on the window sill in our kitchen, in clear view of Mr. Busy Hands. I have no idea what prompted this obviously insane action by a normally sane human being. But, through some miracle beyond explanation, the paper towel roll has remained there—untouched by the little fellow—ever since.

For many, this may seem like a minor occurrence. Trivial, even. A topic unworthy of a blog of this stature. For these two veteran autism parents, however, it represents a milestone comparable to men walking on the moon or the invention of gluten-free bagels that taste and feel like, well, bagels. Let me provide you with a short history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jumping Bean

With just a few minutes left in our recent visit to a nearby bounce emporium, Clay was showing no signs of slowing down and little interest in our warnings that we needed to leave soon.

A local group, the Autism Cares Foundation, has been funding a once-a-month session at a Bounce U, which is filled with huge sliding boards, mazes, moon walks, every kind of blow-up-bounce-on-me-type of equipment you can imagine. We joined them for the first time last week.

Clay was having the time of his life, jumping and flinging his body around on one piece after another. All 10 or 12 of the kids were doing the same. It’s amazing to watch kids with autism go at this sort of equipment. Clay is particularly insatiable, bouncing with abandon. Doesn’t matter whether you are supposed to be sliding or climbing, he finds a way to fit in some pinball action. A couple of times I had to shoo him out of the basketball area, where he was rolling around on the padded mats. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Day Without …

As usual, one of the first things my wife did when she got home from work the other day was ask Clay—on his keyboard—how his day went.

I thought I had a pretty good idea what he would type.

The afternoon sitter said he had been in a good mood since coming home from school.

The note from his teacher said he had “a good day.” She mentioned that he was “very chatty” and that he sat well while listening to stories in the library. He also worked on some Valentine’s Day cards for friends and family. Read the rest of this entry »

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