It's nice to see that our autism family support blog has some loyal followers! Same Child, Different Day wouldn't be such a success without all of you, as well as the shy readers who choose to stop by casually, but aren't official followers. I'm happy to have any and all of you stop by, and most of all to provide your wonderful comments.
There are some people however who choose to make comments and ask questions outside of the Same Child, Different Day blog. For instance, a friend saw us in a restaurant the other day and asked how it was that our autistic son was behaving so well.
Before I get to how we answered the question, let me first tell you that Nolan was really behaving well. Our restaurant moments are catch-as-catch-can; many times he can be overwhelmingly impatient for his food to arrive; a typical reaction of those with autism. The chant's of "no, no, no" to every attempt at preoccupation and the drumming of all the flatware simultaneously can be stressing to the most stony nerve.
So the fact that Nolan was giggling softly and drumming only his fork was for us a wonderful time. Couple this with the mom across from us who was having a heck of a time with her two presumably neuro-typical youngsters, and we were practically in Restaurant Heaven.
I think what helped us with Nolan may simply have been that we hadn't waited until the last minute, until he was truly melt-down hungry, to set out to eat. Another thing that has worked immensely for us is a portable DVD player. Now, I'm not a big proponent of TV-babysitting, but in the world of special needs parenting, we don't always want what's right, we sometimes want what's quiet! And when the numbers, letters, shapes and puzzle pieces fail to hold their attention, there are times when an electronic device is just the ticket.
With an autistic child, being prepared before you strike out is your best weapon. And only trial and error (and time) will tell you just what you need for your own preparedness. Sometimes a special blanket will be all you'll need. Other days, a DVD player, coins, a bag of blocks, three puzzles, an old sock, two packages of crackers, a handful of Gummi Bears and Horton hatching an egg won't be enough to ward off the ruckus.
So in a nutshell, luck was the big player in Nolan's well-mannered behavior. And as they say, luck favors those who are best prepared. Now, I know that isn't the flashy, deep, awe-inspiring solution you may have been thinking I would have come up with. It isn't a Dear Abby-esqe answer, even. Maybe I just wasn't prepared for the question.
If you have a comment or suggestion related to your own preparedness with your kiddos, please share with the rest of us. And feel free to offer any sage words of wisdom. I won't mind. And if you'd like to pose a question --- if there's something on your mind related to your kiddo and you'd like an outsider's uneducated opinion --- I'd be glad to take a stab at it.
Just jot me an email, and I'll do my best to post a thought-provoking (or even sarcastically mocking --- I have those, too) answer.