We have officially moved the blog to http://aspergerteen.com/. We have not yet been able to move the comments but those will follow soon. We also need to work on the template but that will come. Now that the blog is moved, we can begin posting again.postid:116265885508336634
Ride 'em cowboy!
Two Wednesday's ago I dropped Tommy of at STAR and ran off to do an errand. Upon my return I am stunned, and unfortunately cameraless, seeing Tommy riding off lead! For the past 5 years (maybe 6) that Tommy has participated in the STAR program he has ridden on lead. That means one, sometimes two, people walk beside the horse holding a tether and they have equal, if not more, control of the horse as the rider. On that Wednesday, Tommy's sidewalker was near by Tommy was in complete control of the horse.
Last Wednesday I stayed the whole class. Tommy mounted his horse and rode into the ring before anyone else. I mean before anyone else! He took his horse into the ring and brought it to a complete stop. The next student came out with two volunteers helping him. One of the volunteers asked Tommy to start around the ring and he confidently made his horse walk. He rode the entire class without a volunteer or staff member anywhere near! It was incredible. I had goosebumps!
This past Saturday, Tommy rode at the annual Star horse show at Roane State Community College in Rockwood, TN (Harmond). In the Intermediate Futures he rode against 2 other rides and took first place. See his performance below.
Tommy was thrilled. This was the first time he had ever ridden in a show without an assistant. The horse he rode, Dandy, was skiddish and would have reacted badly to applause. Tommy rode with confidence and poise.
He tied for first place against 4 other riders in the Intermediate Obstacle English/Western. See his performance below.
Tommy also rode Intermediate Western Equitation against 2 other riders and received first place!
The folks at Shangri-la Therapuetic Academy of Riding have seen Tommy grow from an out of control child, who spoke harshly with insults to the volunteers and who was almost removed from the program when his actions and increasing weight threatened harm to the animals, grow into a calm, controlled young adult with a sense of humor and the ability to chat correctly and politely with the staff and volunteers. He has gained their confidence enough to earn the privilege of solo riding. Lynn Petr, founder of STAR, prior to the show, but in ring, gave Tommy a pep talk and asked him if he was up to this. She reminded him that not only was he in charge of his safety and the safety of the horse but for all others that were in the ring. Tommy responded non-chalantly, "No problem." After the show multiple staff members, volunteers, and parents remarked at Tommy's achievement! Thank you Star! Tommy did great!postid:115487653129605642
Dad Mom reports:
At 9:30am I roused Tommy to be social with his friend who was being monopolized by the 10 year old and the 4 year old. He actually rose with little argument and lacking the normal grogginess.postid:115037945205244759
All any Aspie caregiver wants is for their child to have a friend
We are stunned. Blown away! Tommy has a friend! This friend has spent time at Tommy's house and Tommy has spent unsupervised time at his house. Yesterday this friend came and spent several hours at Tommy's house then we dropped off a nervous, giggly Tommy at his friend's church youth group for 3 hours. Yes, we dropped Tommy off in a building full of unfamiliar teenagers with food, foosball, and what looked like band equipment and gave no warning to any adult! We dropped Tommy off in a potentially chaotic and possibly noisy environment where his comfort level was sure to be challenged. And we were relaxed about it! We didn't really give it another thought.
Everything went well! And the best part, Tommy's acting appropriately and very much like a normal 15.5 year old boy.
How Aspies view the world
So on the way to the church we ask his friend, "What kind of church do you go to?" And his friend, also Aspie, responds, "Christian I think." Ok. Rethink question. "What's the name of your church?" He responds, "Two Rivers." I take a guess, "Baptist." Then I joke, "Baptists meet at rivers. Catholics meet in bars." The boys laugh and then Tommy's friend chuckles, "I don't understand the joke but it sounds funny." Mom and I agree that pretty much sums up an Asperger life. I don't understand ____ but I can deal with it in my own way.
There's something exciting about sleeping over at someone's house. The children beg to either be somewhere else or have a horde of friends spend the night. Tommy, with no friends, never had such pleasures. Last night his friend stayed the night!
Tonight, Tommy is having a friend sleep over. At 15 and a half, this is his very first sleepover. It may be about 10 years later than most children, but it’s just as important and special now as it would have been back then.
We ignored them and this morning at 5:30am I find Tommy wide-eyed playing the video game and his friend crashed out on the bed. I should have let Tommy keep going but instead told him to turn it off and get some shuteye.
I am very impressed with Tommy's progress in everything!postid:115037332910977507
Some things they have to work out
Tonight instead of intervening I chose to video tape. Tommy brings two identical chairs to the kitchen table for dinner. One comes from his room, the other from his brother's. His has a pillow case on the back (I don't know why). The four year old promptly plops herself in his seat and declares that is where she will eat tonight. Tommy spends the next 10 minutes arguing with her trying to convince this 4 year old, that is taking pleasure in pushing his buttons, to move to another seat. In the end, he gives up and broods through dinner in a different chair.postid:115007891908903902
The shoe is on the other foot
Our Aspergers children have their quirks but sometimes aren't satisfied with them and seek new ones. Tommy has been doing so well. His Tourette syndrome behaviors have been almost non-existent. Aspie's often show some tic or twitch and it is exasperated by the ADHD medicines.
Tommy has picked a new gig. A few weeks ago he started wearing one sock and having other shoe barefoot; or perhaps one boths socks but only one shoe. He will walk all over the house like this for hours. We paid no mind and only once has he tried to suck us into his game with an exaggerated limp routine through the living room. He does this at his grandparents also.
This is a good example of an Aspergers behavior that can easily be ignored. If it gives Tommy some bizarre pleasure or comfort, so be it. The one shoe on/one off just looks like he started to remove both his shoes and got distracted. This far different than constantly drawing circles in the air.postid:114900834532119083
Tommy really does have a great sense of humor.postid:114864756018405494
Just doesn't know how to study
It's the evening before the last day of school and we have bawling tears, screams, moans, yelling and flat out defiance. Nope. This is not about adjusting to change. We made the glorified mistake of asking Tommy to study. He has 3 pages front and back of fill in the blank questions to put in a couple of words each as his study for his final exam. He claims one took him 30 minutes because I asked him to write down the page where he found his answer. He wrote down that he found the answer in the glossary. After being unable to show me where the answer was in the glossary I volunteered to find the answer for him. So, using one hand while holding a baby, and using a book I've never opened, I found the answer in 30 seconds.
I ask, is this a battle worth fighting? What would Alan Shore do? So far Tommy has spent time with the mosquitoes on the porch and I've threatened to take his computer away. He has put severely more time into fighting this than it would take to have finished the work but I also feel he really has no clue how to use a reference book. I feel like I should help him learn but who wants to endure this?!postid:114842210246104862