So I was commenting on a special needs parent blog, and this new ugly recaptcha variant came up, where it's a crummy picture and a distorted word, and you need to read text from a slanty image of a sign on a building, or whatever. It's pretty awful. So I tried that a few times and gave up, and tried the audio version.
I don't know if any of you can make that out, but I can't. I assume the majority can, or they wouldn't post it. I cannot hear the numbers over the noise at all.
Ultimately, Becky had to help me with a text version to get the comment to post. I think we're starting to hit a wall, where we're taking reverse turing tests so far they assume you have good sensory skills and can handle visual and auditory noise well, or you're not a human. That's a scary world for someone who doesn't.
Brewing in my head is a series of posts about all the memories of my own challenges in childhood that are dredged up when I see billy have them too, and other memories of my childhood, some good (like all my private awesome computer time at school) and some not so good (because they figured out that it was better and safer than locking me in a library study room all by myself, unsupervised for hours on end, which they did constantly. This is by the way, strongly against Michigan department of education policy now, and borders on child endangerment).
But tonight I'll bring up something more recent. My peanut allergy. It seems to have developed with time. I never was particularly fond of peanuts as a kid, but grew more and more averse to them. In adulthood they started to cause my mouth to tingle wherever they touched. I heard from a friend this happened to him, and then one day he had a life threatening reaction to peanuts. Since then, I have been actively avoiding peanuts.
Today I misidentified a fun sized candy bar at a cursory glance and bit into it, tasted the peanuts immediately and spat it into a napkin. I then had a ton of mucus start accumulating in my throat, and my nose ran like crazy. Then my chest tightened and it got harder to breathe. I was pretty terrified, especially since I only was exposed to it, I didn't even swallow it.
In my many years on this planet, I've had serious car accidents, a nearly burst appendix, a severe allergic reaction to CT contrast, and odd infections, tachycardia, and much more. I'm not letting a stupid legume take my life. So I called my doctor and asked them to call in two epipens to the pharmacy a block south, and picked them up a couple hours later.
Dear friends, always feel and check if there is muscle in my thigh where you discharge this bad boy. And take an extra 5 seconds to read the directions so you don't impale your thumb. If you punch this thing through a pocket full of change and drivers license, or impale my femur, I'll use my last dying breath to choke you out and take you with me. Slow down and do it right. Heroes read the damn directions. Oh, and call 911, this stuff is incredibly unhealthy, and depressingly temporary.
We're all doing okay here in the Timmins household, though it seems we've been sharing some minor bugs going around.
Billy was out of school part of Wednesday and all of Thursday because he was sick (as the school said "Please come and pick him up, he's had diarrhea. We put the clothing he came in in a plastic bag and changed him into his spare change of clothes in his bag." so yeah, it was one of those days.)
Friday he went to school and had a good day. He developed a really awful sounding cough that night. He still had it on Sunday so we dropped by the Pediatric after hours clinic, (where the resident was kind of dismissive, and a little WTF all the way around. "Should we bring him to his special education preschool program tomorrow?" "Sure!" "Will you write a note saying it's not contagious then? They get pretty strict about that." "Uh, it is contagious. Do they have special needs kids there or something?" "Well, it's special education preschool like I said, so yes, by definition they have special needs students there." *sigh*)
Anyway, we left a steam humidifier in his room last night, which seems to have helped, as I haven't heard him cough since. He's had a bit of a diaper issue tonight, so we'll be keeping him home tomorrow too, but it'll be nice to get back into his routines.
Right now he's up (he's napped a lot all day) and just for the first time in a long time actually ate hamburger! In fact, he polished it off and asked for more. Usually he won't touch them, or will crumble it up into little pieces and push it away. He won't eat his special dairy and soy free potato salad mommy made, but we'll take the hamburger victory for today. YAY!
We've had a lot of big boy stuff happening here in the Timmins household recently. Between school, and a new bedroom, and mumblings of eventual potty training, we're working on a lot of rites of passage at once. We've been pacing ourselves as best as we can so as not to completely overwhelm Billy.
We introduced Billy to his big boy room last week, and this week we moved his crib in there. He loves the new space, and seems to be generally okay with his crib being in there. We introduced him to the crib by letting him jump in it a bit after we got it installed. I'm hoping we will have a peaceful night. I wanted desperately to get this done yesterday, so he'd have a non-school night to adjust. But alas, that was not in the cards last night.
So today, we went through a few big boy events for Billy. First the big boy room with big boy toys, and today we got a special toilet seat with integral potty chair:
For the first time, he didn't panic when we set him on the toilet and immediately beg to get off. He sat on it, and proudly at that. It's the first time anyone's gotten him to sit down without a complete panic, so we'll call that a solid win. To commemorate the occasion, we told him from now on, he gets "big boy diapies" (pullups) during the days (which his preschool teacher was hinting about last week anyway, so it's well timed).
Also, Lamphere transportation called on Friday at 3pm, and asked us to call back about the bussing. And of course, I returned their call within 5 minutes, and they were closed, being after 3pm on a Friday, and all. Well played. My guess is that bussing should start early next week, but I wouldn't know because they totally didn't mention that in the message, because they suck at messages. If a bus shows up unexpectedly tomorrow, I'll be somewhat dismayed.
So a week or so ago, we were going to see some friends, and happened across an "Autistic Child Area" sign. I was completely dumbfounded by this sign. As someone with Asperger's syndrome, I should probably at least know how to react to such a sign, right? And maybe I could tell others!
Heck no. I have no idea what you're supposed to do differently with these signs. In fact, my amusing (and okay, pretty horrible) first thought leads to the image on the left. My immediate first reaction was "Maybe I should velcro a 'don't run in front of cars' PECS card on my front bumper? I mean seriously, how am I supposed to react to a sign like this?"
So a person who has thought about this for just a second would say "obviously, you should watch for children running out into the street. You should know, your kid has a problem with wandering and you always have to keep an eye on him for exactly this reason!" – But my response to this would be simple – "But that's not what the sign says, it just indicates that someone with a pervasive development disorder lives on the street. It doesn't give any guidance to the driver as to what is going on, so as a parent I'd just be hoping that all the drivers are aware of the risk of elopement and lack of awareness of danger. Poo on that. That's ridiculous. And besides, I should be watching for that anyway, because neurotypical kids run carelessly into the street all the time. If I'm not watching for that, a sign warning of autism isn't going to help either."
I would much rather drivers be paying attention to the road than pondering the meaning of a vague road sign in my neighborhood, that's for certain. I think we have far too many signs out these days that provide little or no useful information that tend to distract drivers, or numb them to road signs, causing them to disregard information when it really is serious, because some signs don't matter.
And ahh yes, elopement, that's one of my favorite parts of parenthood at the moment. Billy tends to go where ever he wants, given his choice. Oh, a puppy across the street? I know we've practiced not crossing the sidewalk boundary a hundred times, but … but .. puppy! Turn your back for a second, and he's right out at the edge of the street! And while we were camping this summer, we ended up having to use a hot pink trail marking ribbon strung around our campground to keep him from wandering throughout the campground, no matter where we went. In St Ignace, I went into the back of my car to grab our tent, and in the 30 seconds I was otherwise occupied, he silently walked away, and was found two roads down (in the campground) at a campfire with several other campers, pointing at the fire and saying "fire, fire". It was completely terrifying because it had just become dusk, and I couldn't easily see him. And of course, he doesn't respond when his name is called. I was so relieved to find him safe that I didn't even care how awful I must have looked to the other campers, parent wise. After that, we went back to last year's old standby of attaching a glowstick to his back where he couldn't see it. He tended to respect the pink trail ribbon boundaries more often than not, and we briefed our nearby campers on the risks of him wandering, and asked them to try to distract him if he showed up, and also not to give him milk or soy products if he asks, as he's allergic. (Thankfully,all the fellow campers were very accepting of Billy)
On the upside, our PCP finally referred us to Beaumont's Center for Human Development for a proper medical diagnosis of Autism. YAY! Once they nail down the diagnosis, and define what treatments are medically necessary, it will be helpful to get any necessary therapy for Billy when school is out over the summer. It won't have any effect on our educational treatments, which are done based on federal and state special education guidelines, but will help us in private therapies when the school is out and they aren't providing them, as our therapists at the school can't provide referrals to private specialists under our HMO. So you're asking "you don't have a diagnosis yet?" – yes and no. We have every medical professional we've met saying "yeah, it seems like he does, he meets all the signs, but it's not my specialty". We have the school saying "He meets the federal criteria to receive his school based services, and the rest is none of our business." This is the final piece of the puzzle that helps us with getting insurance to cover more than just speech therapy (which they covered directly based on a referral from his pediatrician for speech delay). This will be with a developmental pediatrician, and will flip all the right bits in the insurance company and medical information systems to get us the right services in the private world. It will make discussions with medical professionals a lot easier, since with a label, you don't have to go and re-explain everything every time we deal with a new medical professional.
So today, we gave Billy his big present from us. We've been quietly cleaning out a room we filled with junk when we first moved in here a few years ago. In its place, we've been arranging new toys, and organizational stuff. One wall has a 10 foot long by 2 foot high roll of whiteboard wallpaper on it, so we can draw pictures and words for him with dry erase markers. Currently it has some doodles and a crude visual schedule (I plan on printing out full size color cards, laminating them, and backing them with velcro, but for now this will have to do). We gave Billy a table, some Billy sized chairs, and an easel with chalk. There's also a place for his sensory bins we created, and a table to play with them at all his own, so that should make days when he returns from school easier for him (and us). There are still a couple extra boxes, and we're not finished cleaning out the closets, but it's a start, and he can start to enjoy his new space.
Needless to say, he was incredibly excited. He found one of his new toy bins was full of play food. Becky showed him how to make a hamburger, and hot dog, and how to put on fake ketchup. He of course started making us all wonderful hotdogs, hamburgers, and watermelon with all the ketchup one could possibly want, exactly as Becky showed him. It was the longest, most natural pretend play I've seen out of him yet, and I was completely overjoyed by it. Of course, all good things must end, and bathtime had to begin.
Billy has always been a little weird about baths. One week he'll love them and it's impossible to get him out, another week you should probably wear one of those protective suits they use to train police dogs. It's rare that I can get his head wet to wash his hair, we often have to resort to using dry shampoo to keep it clean. But tonight was very special. He played in the water, and when he was done, he let me lather him up with soap. But when it came to rinsing him off, he would have none of it. ALL DONE ALL DONE *TEARS*. I now have a large, soapy, newly minted 3 year old sobbing unconsolably and trying desperately to climb out of the tub and into my lap. Even a gentle pour of water from a cup onto his back made him scream, and I couldn't calm him down enough to have him try to rinse himself off.
Mommy swooped in to help console him, and we got him to rinse himself off with the cup. He did an okay job, but he got a vast majority of the soap off, and he no longer looks like a grubby child. We had to put off the hair washing until tomorrow. Fortunately he tends to be weird about wanting to get his hands dirty, which makes his hair easier to clean than most, as he won't generally get his hair dirty.
Now he seems calm enough to actually go to bed, so I'm going to do that, and try to get to sleep myself in a little bit.
The personal website of Paul Timmins – Telecommunications expert, father.