An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

Yay David! :D

To be honest, I was struggling with what I was going to write about today in the blog.  There isn’t a lot that changes over here from day to day.  It’s pretty much just a bunch of variations of the same old scene and behaviors most of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining nor am I by any means claiming that our life can be boring (one hour of babysitting for me will convince you of that last one if you even dare to try 😉 ).  David stims, climbs, bolts, wanders off, pulls off stunts worthy of Houdini, makes messes (sometimes the size of Texas lol), etc. and he does it all (or at least most of it) just about every day.  In fact, I think it may be safe to say the only days he doesn’t do any of these things is when he’s too sick to move around. lol  I feel bad for the little guy on those days but at the same time I quietly enjoy the “break” from the chaos and I definitely enjoy all the extra cuddling.

I was debating whether to write about his extra wild and over intense hyperness today that led to some more BIG messes and some interesting, to say the least, encounters but then something really cool happened right before sitting down to start tonight’s writing.  As I was fixing the dishwasher rack and retrieving various cars from underneath it, David and Joshua were standing near by watching.  Having just been scolded again for being in the kitchen without mommy they were trying extra hard to be still and good.  When I went to go shut the door though to the dishwasher after fixing everything and clearing out all the cars, Joshua started shouting “stop” at me so I put the door back down and asked what was wrong.  All he said was “broken” but he then proceeded to shut the soap door for me.  When I saw this I tried to explain it wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be shut but then Joshua kept saying “clean! clean!” (there were dirty dishes in there that I had loaded earlier).

Intrigued by this new interaction, and seeing that David was gaining more and more interest with each passing second, I decided to get down the little soap packets my mom bought me and show them how to load them.  This is when something wonderful happened.  David started squeeling in delight when he saw the soap and started jumping up and down in excitement while flapping his hands (a new development from him that came from the “infamous” overload night (see the post “A Look At Yesterday”).  When I asked him if he knew what it was, he started squeeling again and started saying something very jumbled/garbled (his speech has been suffering again lately, especially when he’s extra excited or overwhelmed) and then started smacking one of the soap slots/dispensers on the dishwasher!  When I said “soap?” he started squeeling in delight again and clapped his hands saying’ “yes! yes! yes! and that garbled up word again.  I hadn’t even known he had seen me loading the dishwasher or starting it before so this came as quite the shock for me but it was a good one.  An encouraging one too if you take in the fact he’s been struggling with re-calling and/or showing a lot of what he was once fluent in before he started breaking down again due to a bad regression a few weeks back.

Not one to back down from a possible teaching moment with such an eager student (especially now that I’m homeschooling them both) I decided to go ahead and let them help me with the dishwasher.  I held the bag out to David and asked him if he knew what to do and as he squeeled and bounced he grabbed a small packet from the pouch that I was holding and proceeded to try to put it in the place he was smacking earlier.  This happened to be the wrong slot but Joshua took care of that correction quickly and a bit loudly. lol

As David struggled to put it in the right place he started doing “quick steps” in place (I don’t really know what else to call it… it’s like running in place but with a lot smaller steps and it happens to be one of his many stims) and repeated the garbled word now known to be his version of “soap” over and over with a big grin on his face.  Once he got it in, Joshua shut the trap door over the top of it and they both helped shut the door to the dishwasher.  At this point Joshua lost interest and wandered off, sastisfied in a job well done lol but David stuck around and started trying to lock the door for me.  I made him wait of course though until I could get the setting in place (the machine instantly starts if that door is locked even if you’re not on the right setting yet) before letting him proceed.

I wish you all could have seen the smile of pride and blissfull happiness on his face as he heard the lock click into place and the water start to rush in.  In his mind, he just did the dishes and he’s really proud of himself.  My opinion?  He has every right to be. 🙂  This is a HUGE thing for David.  Especially lately as this means things are “connecting” again for him. : )  It reminded me of some very wise advice I got from a trusted friend a few days ago too when I was asking about his repeated regressions and how to handle his homeschooling in the midst of them:

“They’re [Autistic kids] so different. Do they really lose it all? I don’t think so. It’s there…some days, weeks, months it won’t necessarily show. I think that sometimes there is a pivotal piece that one kid might need that others might not, in order to put all the pieces into actual use.  …  See if this makes sense: visual/holistic learning is not often sequential. Most of us went to schools that taught based on the addition of skills to already understood and usable skills, and then add one or two at a time and so on. But not all people learn that way.  …  Often, by adding new information you add the piece or pieces that complete the whole. … “

Based off of David’s night with the dishwasher, the slow but sure progress I’ve seen in his awareness skills “returning”, and this advice from my friend I think it’s time to try letting David and Joshua in on the fun a little more often.  To start, we are going to be baking a cake tomorrow. 🙂  I’ve been wanting to do another one for awhile now so I could try out a new icing recipie I found and there are a lot of “lessons” that can be shared in the process of baking a cake from scratch (well… almost scratch.  We use box mixes around here 😉 ).  Things like team work, patience, fine and gross motor, following directions, measuring, and even a bit of math and art. : )   They’ve helped me before with the stirring and occasionally with the dumping of ingredients into the mixing bowl before all the regressions so it won’t be completely new to them either so I don’t even have to worry about the new = meltdowns and shutdowns mess.

I will try to have a picture of our creation (and maybe even our creation prosses lol) to share with you all tomorrow. : )


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