So, D is in scouts. I had to take him last night. Meh. We get to the church basement and I find myself a seat away from the kids, and D takes a seat at the Scout table. Opening ceremonies, sacrificial lamb, all that stuff gets done and I get to playing some Trivia Crack. (Most appropriately named game ever.) I'm half listening to these kids plan their menu for the upcoming campout and what I heard was cracking me up. Eight 10-11 year olds discussing if they should make steak or chicken, and ooh! Maybe we could bring cucumber soup. ??? The head scout-guy got them back on track and suggested some more reasonable fare. I have a feeling that a budget lesson will be forthcoming.
After all of that was finished, they played a game. It was a sort of one-on-one tug-of-war. But the boys had to stand on a block while trying to tug the other one down--gently. I saw the blocks and was very interested in how D would handle this. He's not very coordinated and his balance isn't that great. I was worried because I know how he reacts when he can't be PERFECT at something the first time he tries it, and if he "loses" whatever he's doing. It's an ugly sight and 9 times out of 10 it turns into at least a 30 minute meltdown. I was cautious, but I wan't going to stop him. This was his turf; I needed to see what he would do.
The kid impressed the hell out of me. First, he kept letting other boys go in front of him, which I chuckled at. That only worked for so long before one of the boys noticed he didn't have a turn. So he gets up on the block, wobbles a bit, but then finds his balance. Not surprisingly, he gets pulled down first and I had my Mama Bear armor on. He walked back to the back of the line to try again. Whaaaaaaaaa?
He was letting the other boys go and when it seemed to get to be his turn again he stepped out and said, "Hey, I'll be the judge so if there's a tie, I'll break it." And that's what he did until the meeting was over.
Let me sum up why this is a big deal, for those of you reading who are wondering why I'm writing about this. D has big challenges controlling his temper. He is a perfectionist and has little to no patience for anything other than perfect (which leads to lots of meltdowns on account of nobody is perfect the first time at anything ever). He is also beginning to learn how to self advocate. The fact that he tried to get up on the block with very little external encouragement in the first place is a major accomplishment. He then kept himself in check when he didn't do as well as he had hoped.
HE THEN ASSESSED THE SITUATION AND PUT HIMSELF INTO A POSITION WHERE HE COULD PARTICIPATE BUT NOT CAUSE HIMSELF ANY STRESS!!!!!!!!!!!
In the past he would have just walked away. But he stayed. And participated. On his terms, but his terms were within the boundaries of the activity.
THIS IS SUCH A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!!!!!!!!! He did this all on his own!!!! This is a big deal for any Special Needs kid, let alone one on The Spectrum. It's moments like that which remind me that it really has all been worth it.
After the meeting we were driving home.
Me: Hey. What you did tonight? That was awesome.
D: Menu planning?
Me: No. I was watching you during the activity and you tried even though you knew it would be tough. And when you didn't get it the way you wanted to you didn't retreat. You stayed, and chose a role that would be helpful to everyone. You assessed your situation, and you made choices that were in your best interest, but that didn't negatively affect everyone else. (Yes, I talk to my 10-year-old like this.) I am so proud of you, dude.
D: (blushing) Thanks, Mom.
Now, I'm a realistic Spectrum mom; one good day means one good day. But this was a glimmer of hope--a view of how he might be as he gets older. With lots of practice, and lots of therapy. Because five years ago (when he was newly diagnosed) if someone had said he would do what he did last night I would have laughed. And punched that person in the throat. Hell, if someone had told me LAST YEAR that last night's situation will happen I would have been pretty doubtful. Not throat-
punch worthy, but definitely skeptical.
They're in there--all the tools he's been learning. And it seems like he's recently figured out the code. So proud of him.