I am reading tons of articles about how to prepare your ASD (autism spectrum disorder) child for the holidays. Some are incredibly helpful in that they let you know it’s ok to be super stressed about it. The key, really, is preparation, Good thing I ate a lot of girl scout cookies (samoas rule). You have to always know your child’s limits and when to call it a day. You need to provide for your child the things they need to feel comfortable wherever you go. It’s almost like when you take an infant out, you need to have extra clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. For the asd child, you need to have with you things or strategies that will soothe them in a new or short term environment. I always worry about Bryan’s behavior. Sometimes he is good and sometimes he is seriously NOT good. One year at Yom Kippur break-fast he went into my cousin’s pool with his clothes on. It would’ve been funny if everyone didn’t give us the pity stare. NOT good. I am, however, always very hopeful. He loves to be with the family and will hug and kiss everyone. We don’t have a lot of trouble about food, or what to do, he will watch tv or a dvd or play with my iphone if he’s bored. He will just repeat about 50,000 times, “I can go home”. He has anxiety about having to stay overnight somewhere he doesn’t want to, even though he knows in his heart and in his head he is going home after dinner. I have gotten a little sleep, I can hack it.
It’s so cliche to write a blog about what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving. Why would I want to do this? I have to admit, I just love the holiday time of year. I love hearing people say “have a nice holiday” and I love shopping, online mostly, for something cute or surprising for the boys. I was telling Jason that I was able to find a 4 DVD set of Fat Albert for Bryan on ebay for $8. He wanted to know if I got him anything, too funny. I told him, “no, i’m only buying gifts for Bry this year”. He laughed, but then got worried!!
I am definitely thankful for the obvious or high ticket items: a great family, good health, a good job, great friends, etc. Some of the less obvious items I think about are: hearing Bryan ask a question, watching Bryan and Jason hug each other when they haven’t seen each other in just a few hours, watching Earl kiss the boys goodnight, listening to Bryan tell us what ingredients are needed to make a cake, laughing with Jason at The Regular Show. I am thankful for autism. No, I’m not cookoo for cocoa puffs, because mostly it totally sucks, but to be completely honest about it, autism has done some good and has changed me for the better. Do I wish at every chance, birthday candle, etc that Bryan was a typical boy, mostly yes so his life would be easier, but then he wouldn’t be him, would he? I am thankful for autism because it has forced me to shed a judgmental nature, it has forced me to live in the moment, to be open with people, and has gotten me to smile and laugh at some of the most unlikely times and at some of the most outrageous things. Earl and I have bonded through our autism journey and have learned to share the burden and joys of autism as a team. We have an unspoken ability to pick each other up just when the other one is at the edge of the cliff. While we switch off playing coach/quarterback, defensive and offensive line, we are always on Team Kaufman.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.