Gifts and Challenges

I needed to take a shower.  So I got G settled with a movie, going through the typical drill before I turned on the television, making sure I had his full attention.

Me:  G, I’m going upstairs to take a shower while you watch a movie, ok?

G:  OK

Me:  If you need something, where will I be?
G:  In the shower

Me:  So if you need something, what will you have to do?

G:  Go to the bathroom to find you.

I take a lightning fast shower and towel my hair to stop it from dripping.  When I remove the towel from my ears I hear the melodious shrieks of my beloved son, “I SAID CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!”

I rush downstairs to find him completely freaking out because he can’t get the stopper out of his piggy bank.  He used his words to ask for help (progress!) but it never occurred to him that if no one is in the same room then no one can come to his aid.  And the reminders that he needs to find me have clearly not worked.  Again.

I help him get the stopper out of his piggy bank and we set about sorting and counting money.  We sorted everything in to piles of 20’s, 5’s (the grandparents have been sneaking cash to him again, I see) 1’s and coins.  Then I write out a series of problems so he can add up what he’s got,





The contrasts in this situation are so striking to me.  Autism has given him great mathematical ability.  At 5 1/2 years old, he can add columns of numbers, some with decimal points.  On the other hand, autism has also taken the common sense most people don’t think twice about.  He doesn’t have the basic ability to find someone when he needs help.  We’re working hard to help him develop this skill, as I believe it is the root of his behavior problems at school.  He gets into a sticky social situation, gets frustrated, and instead of asking a teacher to help he strikes out at the other child.  I wish I knew what to call this so I could research solutions.  Anyone know?  Would this be called theory of mind?

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow. you’re so right. it must be so hard to fathom the extremes in his abilities…

  2. it is both cute & heartbreaking- “I SAID CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!” because I can relate.

    Percy is scary good at computers & memorization, but so lacking on social skills & language. it boggles my mind. i have NO advice yet b/c i have just started this process. all i can offer is solidarity, sister.

  3. […] Coming Full Circle One of G’s challenges involved seeking out adults properly when he needed help. […]

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