April Fool’s No Joke

Our youngest, Nathan, was a little disappointed yesterday that no one tried to play an April Fool’s joke on his while he was at school.

I was surprised at his disappointment because I never thought of it as that big of a deal. When people would try to pull a joke on me, I usually either got the joke quickly or got irritated because I thought the joke was dangerous.

Not Nathan, he was genuinely disappointed. I’ll have to make it up to him next year somehow. I’ll have to look up April Fool’s pranks and see what I can come up with.

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“Why” is not easy to answer

Children with autism have a hard time answering “why” questions. “Why” something happens is an abstract concept and they struggle with it.

Today, we had a small group of special needs children in the gym at church. They were playing ball and of course, because it’s a gym, sound is amplified. It was very noisy. Peter left and made his way to the foyer and I followed.

Me: Peter, what’s wrong?

Peter: I’m going to stay out here.

Me: Why?

Peter: I’m going to stay out here.

Me: Okay, how about this. Can you finish the sentence? I want to stay in the lobby because…(?)

Peter: because it’s noisy in the gym.

Yay! I was so excited because he has such a hard time with answering “why” questions. It really is a challenge and has led to some funny situations. Once, a few years ago,  Peter was up in his room crying. I went up to find out what had happened to upset him and asked why he was crying.

Me: Peter, you are crying because…(?)

Peter: I’m angry.

Me: Okay. “I’m angry” because…(?)

Peter: Because I’m crying.

This went on for well over five minutes. Back and forth, back and forth–Peter crying the whole time. I finally decided that we weren’t going to get anywhere with the conversation we were having and I needed to distract him with another activity.

I never did find out why he was crying and sometimes, after events like these, the puzzle remains. But everyday, we move forward just a little more.

Studies Show Zinc-Copper Rhythmicity and Zinc Levels May Play a Role

A study released in Science Advances shows that baby teeth can show the relationship between copper and zinc— levels present both in-utero and post-natally—can be a predictor in diagnosing autism.

According to study authors, “Using novel tooth-matrix biomarkers that provide direct measures of fetal elemental uptake, we developed a predictive model to distinguish participants who would be diagnosed with ASD in childhood from those who did not develop the disorder.”

The study authors used laser ablation to take 152 samples from each tooth. Children while in utero and in the early months of life, add a new layer to their baby teeth before they erupt. Researchers found that using these samples, they could predict with 90% accuracy which children would later develop autism.

Earlier studies such as one from Australia that links zinc deficiency to communications issues in brain cells. Children with autism frequently have zinc deficiencies. Now researchers must determine if zinc supplementation will help and if so, at what levels. Too much zinc can be toxic.

 

Children with Autism Have a Disconnect Between What They Hear and What They See

The latest from Fox News.com:

The world for children with autism may resemble watching a movie with the audio out of sync. New research shows these children have trouble putting together what they see with what they hear, and that these deficits may underlie their speech and communication problems.

I don’t know about you but this explains so much about why my kids have communications issues. We know Nathan has issues with his eyesight and has problems processing information. At 10-years of age, Peter is just now showing a curiosity about the world around him by asking questions  such as “Where are you going?”, “When are you coming back?”, and “What is that?”

If audio and video are out of sync, it would explain the problems they have understanding what is said and how they process information they hear.

Whoo-hoo! New Kindle, Here I Come!

I was cleaning the desk in the house (the same desk my dad and I custom-built so I could write comfortably but that I currently don’t use because Peter broke the chair) and found the paperwork for a warranty I purchased for my Kindle. I had completely forgotten that I had bought a warranty! How I could forget that I bought one is beyond me right now–after having had two Kindles broken and replaced, you would think it would be automatic to buy a warranty.

But I have one and I can get a new Kindle (or at least a suitably appropriate replacement)!

My Kindle, Part 2

Well, it happened– again. One of my kids grabbed my Kindle when I thought it was safe in the car, under my purse, and out of the way. While driving, Nathan snatched it, looked at it during the car ride and then, apparently, laid it down on the floor. Next thing I know, after reaching our destination, and backing my seat up over the Kindle (!),I was looking at a broken Kindle (again!).

It still works–kind of– but the screen has broken pixels in the corner and lines running down the front. Oh, joy!

Technology and kids (with or without autism) is like trying to mix oil and water.

My Kindle

I bought a Kindle last January with money I received for writing an article. I already had a Kindle with a keyboard but the new one was a Kindle Fire. I was so excited!

So was Peter.

And every time he manages to get his mitts on it, he buys videos or apps. One week he spent nearly fifty dollars! I thought, “I’ll fix this” and I signed him up for Kindle Free Time. Hah! The joke was on me. Now, Peter thinks the Kindle is his–and the Kindle reinforces this concept by putting the user’s name in the upper left-hand corner. Peter is playing with it right now and it says “Peter’s Kindle” in the corner. How helpful is that?

I have an article due in January for the same publication. I think my check will be earmarked for a new Kindle Fire and the article isn’t even finished. 😦

Career Goals?

My kids are too young to have serious career goals. Gabrielle is close–she is thinking about teaching special needs children (not surprising).

Nathan, who is now nine, is all over the map.

I have often said that if Peter wants to be a bag boy at the grocery store, I will support him 100 percent. But I am hoping he will get the opportunity to do more.

Today, I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up. I made suggestions such as doctor, lawyer, scientist, teacher and then I asked, half in jest, if he wants to be a game tester. What does he say? Game tester. Not at all surprised. Given half a chance, he would spend all day playing games, videos or songs on the computer, iPhone or Kindle.

An Argument

Most parents hate arguing with their kids. I know I do. I don’t like to argue with my daughter about whether she should clean out the litter box because she knows it is her responsibility. But she will argue. She hates cleaning the litter box but, hey, who doesn’t? She’s not nasty about her arguments, just very passive aggressive. I can tell her to do it and then I have to check to see if she has done it. Generally, this can go on for a bit because she takes advantage of my distractions (washing the dishes, writing, editing, helping her brothers’ with homework) and hopes I’ll forget or not notice.

The one person I have never argued with is Peter. Peter’s autism makes it difficult for him to sustain a conversation so I have never expected an argument from him– but he surprised me recently.

I needed to run errands but Peter wanted to stay home. He was hiding out in his room and I went upstairs to get him dressed. (Like many autistic kids, he doesn’t like to stay dressed. He will, fortunately, keep his underwear on while home.) When I told him we were leaving to do errands, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Peter, we have to get you dressed. Mommy needs to go to the store.

Peter: I’m gonna stay here.

Me: No, you have to come with me. I can’t leave you here by yourself.

Peter: No, I’m gonna stay here.

Me: No, Peter, you’re going to get dressed and come with me.

Peter: We’re going to get in the car, drive around and come back here.

Me: No (laugh), we’re going to go to the store.

We went around like this for a couple of minutes until I finally convinced him that he needed to get dressed. My daughter wanted to bribe him with cotton candy from the dollar store but I don’t like bribing Peter to get him to do things. He needs to learn that he has to do things because he needs to not because he will get a reward afterward. He will not always be rewarded for what he has to do and I don’t want him to think otherwise.

It was funny. I never thought I would get into an argument with Peter. Or if I did, it would be after years more of therapy.

You never know.