Friday, July 3, 2009

Autism and The Jelly Shoes

Being a mother of five children, I always had to watch our budget especially to afford some of the other things associated with a child with autism (or two children with autism ). One of the things we learned early on was to make use of hand me downs whether siblings or friends. One of my friends gave my daughter a whole grocery bag of Jelly Shoes, in every color. My 20 year old was excited. She was the only one with a foot small enough for these.

Of course the first pair my daughter chose was a bright red pair. Some of them had buckles. We have not bought shoes with buckles in years. As she tried to get them unbuckled she became frustrated. After fussing at the shoes for a few minutes she handed them to me. I asked if she wanted help and she said yes. This skill is a big improvement for her.

Then we went to getting the shoes on her feet. They slid on easily. Unfortunately there was that buckle again. She worked on it and worked on it. She got more and more frustrated. Finally she started talking to the shoes. She told them they were crazy. She started screaming at the shoes and cussing them. I sat across the room from her and watched.

Somewhere in the screaming phase I told her she needed to ask if she wanted help. This is a skill we have been working on for a long time and as you know a very hard skill for people who have autism in general. She ignored me!

After screaming at the shoes for awhile she started hitting them. I seriously considered making her let me help her at that point. I decided against it because she really was not hurting herself or any one else. She also was not damaging property. I did mention she could ask me for help again. She told me no! After much rolling around on the couch and screaming, she did get the buckle fastened.

Thinking about it, there is really so little she can control and SHE DID IT! She really was not doing anything that typical adults do not do every day. Get angry, start cussing, and start slapping things around.

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