5 Jan 2009

New Year Ruminations

As the old year ended I thought about how things are and what I need to change to be happier. It turns out that some major adjustments are required so I had to work out how to achieve them. I've been stressed and worried about things but I think there's been a resolution and though I'm fearful, I'm now also hopeful about the months ahead.

The Christmas holiday wasn't as happy as it could have been, but there were some brilliant times. The children were delighted with their gifts on Christmas morning. Duncan liked the Roller Coaster Tycoon CD Rom more than anything, even the cuckoo clock. Yep, I got one, and the blasted bird doesn't go out and in properly on the hour. I would have returned it to the online shop, but I see he's already customised it by painting the bird.

Thomas has been in Doctor Who heaven with his haul of DVDs, including a set from some of the old series. Lady likes her fancy new leotard and spent much time upside down against a wall or doing the splits on the floor.

I enjoyed a night out in the pub with a gang of cousins and my brother and his family stayed with us for a couple of nights; they finally saw our beach. I was also very happy to spend some time with one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives in New York. She's just as wonderful as ever.

Duncan has been hard work. He's very shouty and grouchy. I've not been able to figure out how to deal with it yet but it's hard. He's been emulating this awful YouTube video of an angry German kid, and keeps bashing his computer and disc boxes. It may be, actually it probably is, that he's picking up on my own less than optimal mood. He's my personal barometer. We were in Ikea yesterday and he roared and shouted, utterly obsessed with getting an ice-cream from the cafe behind the tills. I was very close to just heading off to the car with him many times.

It's likely that that as well as autism, as his paediatrician pointed out, he also has ADHD and this is what causes many of the difficulties. He has next to no impulse control: he's all about the Id. He can be very focused on tasks of his choosing but it's just about impossible to get him interested in other activities. He's certainly hyperactive, and when we're out places he always dashes off to whatever it is he's interested in. He's highly oppositional. If someone in the family hums or whistles or sings, even on another floor, he shouts at them to be quiet. He hates it when people express pleasure when eating, a yum or appreciative 'mmm' is countered with his angry, 'yuck!' If someone is counting down, he'll often start counting up and saying 'go' is likely to make him shout 'stop!'

I have to think again about how I can help him more. He's smart and cute, funny and loving. He's my darling boy and I'm proud of him. It's important that I see what can be changed in him or in his environment and what must be tolerated.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! Sharon.

Your homeschooling has provided Duncan with a rich life the best one-on-one teaching any child could have. (All your children have benefitted.)

Hold onto the thoughts you expressed in your last paragraph as you plan-out the near future.

Frankly I was always a bit surprised by new (esp negative) behaviors in my children, too - even though I should know to expect changes.

I'm doing several posts on behavior modification (and ABA) this week. You have much experience that other parents might benefit from - please consider nipping-over (to use a Maddy phrase) to my blog and adding some of your insight. Thanks, Barbara

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi Barbara
It's good to take the time now and then to think things over and figure out what if anything we can do to help. It does come as a surprise when new and unwelcome behaviour occurs. I've recently been dealing with a whole new level of moodiness in Lady and increased impertinence from Thomas too. These take effort, but somehow are less wearying than Duncan's shouting.

Anonymous said...

I got two dvds from the classic series, "Invasion of Time" and "Black Orchid". Tom can now recognise the TARDIS and the fourth, fifth and tenth Doctor Whos. He's too young for the new series of Doctor Who but he has watched some of the less scary parts of the classic series. He prefers "In the Night Garden" though. Oh well :D.
Tom has been a lot more shouty and anxious as well recently. We're trying to strike the balance between letting him have the space and quietness he needs and ensuring that we still go out when we want or need to, if only for his brother's sake as well. Luckily we have a number of quieter playgrounds and walks we can go on which help. He goes back to his school this Friday and as he loves the school that should help him to feel more settled.

Anonymous said...

Instead of attaching all these labels to your son (ADHD and autism) why don't you try to heal him? Loads of people have helped their children who have autistic symptons and even recovered them. Homoeopathy is a safe theraputic system that has been used for hundreds of years with lots of sucess. It's helped children like your son too.
Good Luck!!

Sharon McDaid said...

@ lyak, here's what I think of homeopathy.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Bullet, give him time! Surely Tom won't resist the pleasures of Doctor Who as he gets older. Though, so far, Duncan isn't much interested in it either. He finds it too scary. He'd probably prefer In the Night Garden too. Right now though, he's into Rugrats and he's Chuckie.

Thanks for letting me know how Tom is getting along. It's great that he loves his school. I hope that as we get back into our normal routines Duncan will feel more settled. He has been happier these past few days already.

mamacate said...

Happy new year! Your Duncan sounds so much like my Henry (who, while he has a TtTE name, does not have a special interest in that area, though he can play with his Thomas train tracks for hours). I found your blog by accident when googling "ireland family trip autism," as we may bring our high-intensity boy to our ancestral home this spring, thanks to cheap flights from Boston. But your descriptions of Duncan's challenges, and also his strengths, are very familiar. I'm glad to have found a new read!

Sharon McDaid said...

Welcome Mamacate!
If your boy is high-intensity, then he's got something in common with Duncan.

I wrote about our recent transatlantic flight here and compared our difficult outwards journey with the much better journey home. There may be tips for you if you decide to jump over the big puddle some time.

I hope to hear from you again, and check out some of the other Autism Hub blogs too, there's some excellent stuff there.