There is a very common saying in the autistic community, "If you've met a child with autism, you've met A child with autism." I get that, really I do. They are all so amazingly different. Heck, even my two with the exact same diagnosis (PDD-NOS) from the exact same gene pool are nothing alike. What was a bear with Joe, Alan picked up in a matter of days (potty training). What worked like a charm with Joe had no affect on Alan (ABA therapy). That is life with spectrum.
Given all this, I do understand why all the forms exist. Every time I have to sign either of the boys up for camp, therapy, an art class, school, or whatever I get a form to fill out. Most of the questions are fairly straightforward. Even typical parents get inundated with some of these forms. I have my sister's contact information as well as the pediatrician's and both dentist's phone numbers pretty much memorized.
And many of the other questions, I understand why they must exist because all these kids are so wonderfully different. But when it comes time to enroll Alan for summer camp -- which he has attended at the same place for at least the last 5 years (and I think more), I have this urge to get sarcastic (who, me?) on some of the questions.
Is your child toilet trained?
What I want to answer: Well, he gets in the bathroom, but frequently not the toilet.
What I answer: Yes
What are his favorite outdoor activities?
What I want to answer: Climbing on the neighbor's deck rail and walking across the cross beam on the swing set.
What I answer: Swimming and climbing on the jungle gym.
What are his favorite indoor activities?
What I want to answer: Chewing his toes, riding his scooter off the climbing platform in the basement and scaling the stairwell like a monkey.
What I answer: Playing trains, computer and watching videos.
What activities does he dislike?
What I want to answer: Pretty much everything else.
What I answer: Paper/pencil activities and arts and crafts.
What physical, diet or medical restrictions does your child have?
What I want to answer: The list to the right.
What I answer: Only self imposed. (Hey, sometimes sarcasm IS the truth!)
Does your child experience obsessive behaviors? What item/activity triggers this compulsion?
What I want to answer: Hell, yeah!! Everything!!
What I answer: Yes. Stairs and doors are the biggest triggers -- use ramps wherever possible. Frequently new things are ritualized quickly. Try to introduce new things in various manners.
How does your child communicate?
What I want to answer: He yells and verbal stims constantly. (Isn't that communication?)
What I answer: Single words, mostly nouns.
What does your child do when upset?
What I want to answer: He turns into a miniature tornado.
What I answer: Yells, swats, thrashes, flips chairs, headbutts, etc.
What interventions or calming techniques help your child?
What I want to answer: Nothing really. Just ride out the storm.
What I answer: If possible, leave him alone to work out his anger. A "break" spot has been effective at school.
What self-stimulatory or self-injurious behaviors does your child exhibit?
What I want to answer: He will yell "NEE-WAH-JU-BEE" in a rap format in the exact pitch so that it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.
What I answer: Lots of verbal stims and yelling. He will also pick at his fingernails (and toenails if he can get to them) until they bleed.
Probably just as well I keep most of these snarky comments to myself, don't you think?