Our journey in the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘scripting’

Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Please?

As our family journeys in this spectrum of Autism, a big part of my son’s make-up is that he talks out loud to himself. Almost incessantly. Trust me that I am not exaggerating this! He has several characters for which he also speaks out loud. As he has gotten older these conversations have gotten more sophisticated, less gibberish and jargoning and more recognizable speech. I hear them as delayed echolalia and some scripting. Henry calls them his stories.

He has an incredible imagination and his stories are mostly filled with adventures involving time-travel, space, and battling fantastic creatures with swords and lasers. Henry is a visual thinker. He does truly see in pictures. I want to encourage his storytelling as I’m certain what he is seeing in his brain is nothing short of brilliant. And I admit, there is a part of me that is envisioning him as the next Joss Whedon.

But there are days when his ramblings get on my last nerve and it just drives me plain nuts! The fast-paced jumble of words, partial conversations,  and special effects noises, loudly droning on and on and on and…

Shamefully, I admit that on those days, inside my head, I am screaming, “Just shut up for a while!”

What actually comes out is me pleading, “Henry! Shhhhhh! Please. A softer voice.” I hear myself say this several times a day.

Many days his voice is constant noise when I am longing for some quiet. I know this sounds harsh. Please don’t misunderstand me here. We are a busy and loud family of five.  Generally Henry’s talking is not to anyone. At least anyone we can see. He is only talking out his stories to himself. He is not engaging in conversations with the rest of the family. I often crave quiet; to read or write or even to just watch a movie or show without interruption. Watching TV with Henry is usually filled with his side notes of factoids about the topic you are watching or  about something completely different which is just as frustrating. And if it is a show or movie that he knows…well then most likely you will also get some live action acting, much like that of going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a theater.

I have met some other moms with kids on the autism spectrum that have very limited speech or are completely nonverbal and I know they long to hear their child speak. Anything. When I remember this I feel guilty for letting Henry’s incessant talking get to me.

I do want to encourage him! How amazing would it be for him to learn to write or draw what he sees?!  A wonderful gift that he could share with others! Yes, some days I wish for a bit more quiet. But mostly  I wish I could experience this wonderful paracosm that Henry has created that only he can see.

Now if only he could create a bit more quietly. Shhhhhhhh…just for a little bit? Please?

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Sometimes I Yell…

…and then proceed to feel like a complete shtunk. This morning was one of those “sometimes”. I yelled at my son this morning. I mean really yelled. We were running behind schedule. I had slept in and was moving slow. Now I was frustrated that he wasn’t moving faster. And really Henry was doing quite well with the unexpected pace this morning. He took his meds before eating breakfast without a fuss, ate his breakfast in a timely manner and then went off to brush his teeth without being asked! This was awesome! And then it came time to get dressed for school.

“No TV after breakfast this morning, Henry. You need to get dressed. Bus will be here in about 15 minutes.”

A small cry of protest but he started to get out of his p.j.s, all the while reminding me that he did not want to go to school, he hated school, and it was stupid. And then with 10 minutes until the bus, he began pacing around in his underwear, talking to himself, scripting stories with his “friends”.

“Henry, no time for making up stories and playing. Focus on getting dressed please.”

More pacing, more scripting and noise making. He’s getting faster and louder. Still in his underwear, holding his jeans. These particular behaviors of his can drive me bonkers on a good day and after a several minutes of this I was getting irritated.

“Henry!”  I said firmly getting down in front of him trying to get him to look at me. “Bus is going to be here any minute! You have GOT to get dressed! Let’s GO!”

Whining and fussing from Henry as he tries to pull on his jeans, still moving about and running whatever story continues to stream through his brain. He’s stuck on it.

“HENRY! LET’S GO! GET DRESSED!”

He looks up at me finally and starts complaining that his pants are too long and he can’t get them on and he doesn’t want to go to school and it’s stupid….

“HENRY, you can get your pants on! They’re the same ones you wore last week, for cryin’ out loud! NOW MOVE!” I am YELLING now.

Henry is still jumping around but instead of scripting he’s crying. He’s crying about not being able to get dressed, about how he wants to watch TV and school is stupid.

I start to feel bad about yelling at him. My first thought is, Oh great! Meltdown just before getting on the bus…this is going to be a mess and it’s all my fault! And yet I kept yelling…

“No  TV Henry! If you hadn’t been goofing around and playing out your stories you would have had time for TV! You need to focus on getting dressed and ready for school!” I was still yelling as I pulled on his jeans, put his shirt on him, socks and then shoes. Once dressed he stops crying but he’s still teary.

“I’m not playing, Mom. It’s stuck in my ears, Mom. In my brain. I can’t make it stop.”

I am calming down. “Yes, you can Hen. You are very smart and you have a very strong brain. YOU can control what you think about.”

“But it’s hard sometimes, Mom.”

Finally I am no longer yelling, “I know, Dude. I know, but you have to keep trying okay? Sometimes it’s okay but sometimes you need to work on pulling it together. Okay?”

I can’t believe I am saying this to my 6-year-old on the Autism Spectrum…really? Mom-of-the-year!?!? Oy!

“Okay, Mom. I’m trying. Really trying!”

“Okay, I know. I know. It’s okay.” Feeling pretty awful now.

“Can I watch TV now?” he asks.

“Sure, but you only have about a minute.” I say.

“Okay, but one more thing, Mom, I have to tell you just one more thing.”

“Alright. What?”

Cue the kick in the gut…

“I’m sorry Mom. I’m really sorry.”

“Oh, dude. Thank you for saying that. You know what? I’m sorry! Mommy should not have yelled at you! That was wrong for me to do. Do you understand when I say I’m sorry? You know that I love you, right?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, good. I AM sorry! Are you okay? I want you to have a good day at school.”

“It’s okay, Mom. Now I want to watch Mickey.”

So after about 45 seconds of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we headed outside to wait for the bus. He seemed back to his normal self. I hope he is having a good day at school…if not, I know it will truly be all my fault.

I will feel bad about this all day…all week…Over the years I have really tried to curb my yelling. Since getting Henry’s diagnosis of PDD-NOS, I’ve gotten much better. ABA Parent Training was a big turning point for me. But this week…well, I’ve yelled a lot this week.

This morning was my fault. I know Henry needs time to transition between the activities of getting ready for school. I could see that he really was adapting to the faster pace. He was trying and succeeding! But when that pace kept up, especially for moving toward something that is not a “preferred activity”, he was reverting to his way of coping.   I KNOW this…but sometimes I still yell. And I hate that.

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