Mum: C, since you are starting P1 next year, you probably don’t need so many toys. How about we pack some and donate them?
(looks up stunned)
Mummy, but we can’t do that.
Mum: Why not?
Because my toys are furniture.
(Mummy is amused)
Mum: Your toys are furniture?
Mum: Oohh…hmm…then what can we donate?
You can donate your dress, mummy. My toys stay in the house.
(Mummy laughs. I love that brain of his. It’s interesting how he has gotten the concept that we don’t throw away furniture. Perhaps it’s due to the time when we moved house, and we told him we have to pack up all the furniture and bring to the new place, and during that move, I donated a pile of my clothes away. Don’t you just love their memory? Have a great week ahead, readers!)
We just had our dinner and decided to head to the ATM machine to draw out cash. My son spoke out and said that he wanted to help me to insert the ATM card and take out the cash. There was a long queue and both of us were getting restless when it was our turn.
I had forgotten about the initial agreement I had with him and I inserted the card when it was our turn. “Mummy, what are you doing?” “Sorry I forgot, I’ll let you take the cash when it is dispensed?” He started to raise his voice, mumbled, and gave me an angry look. He kept repeating,”How can you forget?” Arrrgghhhh…You promised!” His body is shaking by now, and no matter what I say, nothing gets in.
While this is not a full-blown meltdown, it was enough to get both of us exhausted.
What is a meltdown?
A meltdown to me:
involves my child exhibiting uncontrollable emotions and or behaviors.
They may come in the form of:
kicking, screaming, not being able to listen to anything I say, physical aggression at me or others, shaking of his body excessively, sobbing uncontrollably.
Recently, I attended a lecture and the speaker spoke about the circles curriculum and how it may be useful to use this method to teach our children with ASD on social boundaries and relationships.
If you want to read up more about this concept, check out Jenna’s blog which provides clear explanation on how we can use this with our child. The basic concept is that we will use different circles of colours to teach our child on the kind of conversations, touch and behaviour we can have with the people within the circles.
I drew a copy of this visual representation of the circles in my notebook as well. In it, I have also written down social stories that I use to teach my son on the circles of colours. Things were going well for about a week until…
Now in my mid-forties, memories of my childhood are increasingly fleeting, lack detail, and nuance. I will say that my parents were strongly committed to family and sought to have a home full of love, respect, and discipline. Of course, no family is perfect. Mine was no different – Asperger’s saw to that.
I have always struggled to relate to my parents, siblings, or anyone else, to have any solid or strong emotional connection. This is not to claim that I do not have filial love, or that I am incapable of regard for others. It just seems that it is harder to develop and not as deep and abiding as I desire. And, it has pained me that I am unable to experience the full joy, satisfaction, and connection that others without Asperger’s Syndrome experience in their social relationships. I now know why.
It’s been a year since I wrote about our ‘homeroom’ (classroom) settings. Freeman (1996), wrote in her manual, ‘Teach Me Language – a language manual for children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and related developmental disorders’, that most techniques to get children to be table ready are based on behavioral principles.
The following tips have come in handy for me when playing with my child. To me, play is an important tool for us to impart useful skills to our kids. I hope it will be useful for you and your kids too!
Thank you for being concerned; it means you care about me and my family. But I notice you don’t understand what is happening, so I wanted to let you know why I am doing these things that got you concerned.