I play Family Feud on my iPad. I play with other folks and it’s a fun way to connect. However, the company that created or manages the app sent out an invite to play their new app, Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Well apparently I am since the stupid app invites you by sending this note: Here is two coins to play Are you smarter than a fifth grader. Really? I can tell the app creator isn’t, so why bother? It’s making me reconsider my Family Feud game too.

Amazingly enough there is very little that has to do with Bryan or autism that is at issue right now. The biggest behavioral challenge that Bryan is presenting is nonstop inappropriate laughter. It’s sort of wacky and creepy at the same time. If Jason gets upset, hurt, angry, basically anything but happy, Bryan will laugh right in his face nonstop. Of course that makes Jason angrier, more upset, etc. and Bryan laughs more. Then Jason hits Bryan or lashes out and blah blah blah….Last night I decided to take them for a walk: 2 kids, one scooter and the dog. We literally got about 20 feet from the front door and Jason’s scooter hit a bump, he fell and got scraped up. Nothing major but Jason cried a little and Bryan was laughing and laughing. Jason went home and Bryan and Riggs and I walked on. More laughing but I wasn’t the one who fell off the scooter so I handled it. Apparently this is happening at school too.

Jason’s ultimate quest for fairness serves as a reality check for us. At times we do “let Bryan get away with things” that we don’t let Jason. Jason understands the difference and sometimes when we gently say to him that Bryan has autism and can’t help it, he says “I don’t care”. How do you level the playing field on that one?I have heard that lots of typical kids are resentful of their special needs siblings for the attention they get and the “special privileges”. We try to even it up where we can. We ask Bryan to feed the dog. We showed him how to do it and he does it. Our steps accumulate dog hair and need to be vacuumed/dust busted every other day. We taught Bryan how to do it. Now when Jason complains about feeding the dog, etc. we can say “well Bryan did it last time”. If we ask Bryan to do either thing he just does it. Gotta love that!! Rules!!!!!! It seems as if we are getting to the point where Bryan will become the easier child in many ways. I took Jason to the dermatologist last week to treat a lovely wart he has on the bottom of his foot. They touched it and he screamed and cried like he was being tortured. He also had to go back to the orthodontist to get his palate expander put back in. (it had been removed due to infection from popcorn lodged in it and rubbing against his gums). He did a pretty good job at this but after each of these appts he wanted to go to buy Legos. Apparently Legos have some secret healing power I was not aware of. Just so you know, I’m not that easy, no Legos were purchased as a reward for doing what you are supposed to do anyway. Bryan went to get a tooth pulled today and there was nothing. He just went, they numbed him up, took it out and he went to school. Not a peep!

The disparity kind of makes me wonder how people come up with the labels they do for autism. Is your son high functioning? I get this question all of the time. Do you ask someone who has a typical kid, hey is your kid smart? Does your kid function well? You wouldn’t and so why do we do this for autism? What scale is this on? What the hell does this mean? I don’t think people are honest either. Most people say their kid is high functioning, so how do you know? Bryan is high functioning in that he can shower, get ready, pick out clothes, brush his teeth, make his bed, take something for breakfast like a bowl of cereal and milk. Can you have an age appropriate conversation with him? No. Does he know his name, address, parents names and phone numbers? Yes. Who decides? He goes to sleepaway camp and must take care of himself. To me that is one form of high functioning. Verbal communication, well that’s another whole story. Who gives a crap anyway. He is on the spectrum and you can meet him and decide for yourself. All we know is that somewhere between the silly and crazy laughing is an emerging boy. He understands all and is so loving and eager to learn.


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