Monthly Archives: January 2017

Life’s Unexpected Moments

 HAPPY NEW YEAR! I recently went away with my family for New Year’s Eve which involved spending the night away from home. As a family we have done this a few times. I showed my twin sons online where we would be staying and the different activities we would be doing while away. They both seemed happy and we marked it on their calendars. We planned this about a month in advance in the beginning of December. Like everyone else December was a crazy and busy month for us which entailed getting ready for the holidays with all the extra baking, cooking, decorating, and shopping, etc. Christmas is my favorite holiday so I tend to go to the extreme with all of that. We also unfortunately all at varying times caught that severe respiratory bug that was going around which made preparing for the holidays even crazier. I say this because I was a bit exhausted and hadn’t fully recovered from all the holiday hustle and bustle so when it came time to prepare for the overnight trip, I was a bit tired, but still looking forward to spending the night away with my family. On the way to the hotel as it was several hours away, I had that experience of feeling like I was forgetting something. I mentally went down the checklist of things. I had packed all essentials including dietary specialty snacks as there was a restaurant nearby where we were going that could accommodate my sons’ dietary issues. My sons had their iPads with them. I had double checked that all appliances were off before we left. My dog was left at his “sitters” (my parent’s home) as the hotel was not dog friendly. Something kept nagging at me which is when I realized that I forgot to bring the social story that I had written regarding elevators. One of my sons has had some ongoing issues which developed in his teens out of blue with getting on elevators. I was in that place where only parents of kids with autism sometimes find themselves to be, whether to address an issue or not as it could bring up more issues. When a child has not been exposed to something that they have reacted negatively to and they will experience again, I have found it typically is best to prepare them as much as possible. Every child on the spectrum is different. Though this depends on the child, as some kids build “negative associations” with these experiences and have a difficulty moving past them. I was hesitant about bringing it up at this point. I felt it would possibly result in him being overly anxious about using the elevator. We arrived at the hotel with me second guessing my decision not to say anything. Well, this is what happened next. I was trying to nonchalantly observe my son with the elevator issue. The elevator happened to be near the entrance we walked in. I pushed the button and the elevator door opened and my son was actually getting in the elevator much to my relief. Well, as I looked back his twin brother had a look on his face like I am not going in that elevator. Go figure! Sometimes that is what happens in the world of having more than one child with Autism. After trying several times, he refused to get on the elevator so he walked up the three (thank goodness!) short flight of stairs. Preparation works best for him while for my other son it’s best not to prepare him too far in advance as this adds to his anxiety. Fortunately, the rest of the trip went well. I thought about this afterwards and while it is always an adventure with my sons when we travel, it made me realize sometimes life offers up experiences like these to help us understand the importance of being flexible with our kids and not pigeon hole them into just having specific issues or assigning them with specific difficulties. My sons definitely helped to remind me of this on that trip.

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