Friday, April 5, 2013

Autism mom snaps after filling out her thousandth form ...

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?


  1. This reminds me of the image of a test going around Facebook where a child answers all of the questions sarcastically and gets an A+ for creativity. Filling out forms can be so tedious!

  2. No no, don't keep the snarky comments to yourself, share them with US, please!

  3. lol Looking for Blue Sky. I've already planned a follow up ... "Snarky Sparky strikes again!"