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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

With Autism, It's The Little Triumphs That Keep You Going

Three big things happened in the last few days. The first, and most welcome is that David went to school yesterday wearing jeans with a zipper and a button.

You parents of neurotypicals are probably thinking, "So?" But for the rest of us who have kids that don't like pinchy, itchy, scratchy or confining clothing, this is a certifiable big deal. David has worn nothing but elastic-waist pants his whole life, vigorously refusing and tantruming whenever we tried to put him in "big kid" jeans and pants. It was not a huge issue for a lot of his early life as they were easy enough to find, but once your kid is out of 6-6X, just about the only thing with an elastic waist is sweat pants in one form or another.

I finally put my foot down and decided to fight this battle. I bought David a pair of size 8 "husky" jeans at Wal-Mart, assuming that "husky" would give him some extra room in the seat and crotch, and also because they had an adjustable waist. I pulled it in tight enough that they wouldn't fall off him, and they fit him great. He balked at first, but we made a deal. If he wore them to school on Monday, I'd buy him Chick Fil-A for dinner.

And he wore them. Without complaint. All day. Which means he'll wear them again now. And maybe he'll wear other pants with zippers and buttons. Yeah!

The second big thing was last night, close to bedtime. I asked David to do something he was supposed to do, and he told me he did it. Later, I discovered that he hadn't done it at all. And his not doing it resulted in something getting damaged. Not a good scenario.

He was horribly remorseful (as he usually is when he's done something worthy of a reprimand or punishment) but this time, in addition to saying "I'm sorry" over and over, he specifically said what for. He said "I'm sorry I lied to you." He recognized that not doing the thing that I asked him to do was not good, but lying about doing it was worse. Three years ago, he couldn't even grasp the concept of a lie; it was too abstract. Now he understands what a lie is and how it compounds whatever bad act you did that you're trying to cover up. And that is awesome.

Finally, this one is a big deal about a small deal. Specifically, about a pill, or the swallowing thereof. David had a big allergy attack on Sunday while we were out and about. His morning dose of Claritan had worn off, and I had nothing with me, so I pulled into a drug store nearby, ran inside and grabbed what I thought were chewable Claritan. It turns out they were little pills, and I didn't discover this until I'd torn the box open and popped one through it's blister pack into my hand. Oh no! These things were $24 and I honestly couldn't afford to go buy more. I certainly couldn't return it now that I'd torn into it, either.

It was a really, tiny pill, but David had never swallowed a pill before. Anna is twelve and still can't swallow a pill. I was sure it wouldn't work, but I had to give it a try. I explained to him what we were going to do, and he said OK. I put the pill on his tongue, told him to take a big drink, and voila! It went right down - it was a piece of cake! He's taken his allergy pill every day since, too, with not one issue. I guess when you have to fight so hard about so many little details, you just expect you're going to have a battle over everything. It's just a breath of fresh air when something goes smoothly. You have no idea.

And each of these little triumphs are stepping stones that get us further up the hill to what will be. Today, from where I sit, where he'll be is looking mighty promising.

In the language of autism, it's all good.

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