What you need to know:
Our son is autistic. He is high-level, but limited verbally.
What I See:
My son is jumping in front of the Christmas tree again. He jumps, laughing, and at the peak of his jump he arcs like a fish broaching the air, slapping his thighs and laughing a pealing, stuttering, full-throated bellow. He seems okay - I have to watch to make sure he doesn't get too amped up and start looping(*) or getting hysterical. But for now...I speak too soon. He begins to fling himself at my Swiss exercise ball, turning in midair and landing on his back, bent nearly head to heels, bouncing up, landing, spinning around and doing it again...and the ball is rolling away..."Xander! Wait!"...Too late, he lands off balance and rolls and hits the ground. "XANDER!" I get up and run to check. "Are you okay are you okay are you okay?"(**) he asks, so something hurts, but I don't see any blood and his arms and legs move fine. Before I can say anything to him he tears away from me and runs to the dining room and slams his head on the table four times, hard, I see the books and papers on it jump from the impact. He's hurt...I can't see where...I have to wait until he calms down so I can check him more throughly. It takes a while. When he does, I see a large carpet burn on his arm. He goes back to jumping.
WHAT HE EXPERIENCES:
BUrnReDa r M
DaddyvoicegoldloudsharpscareXANXDAENRD E R
HurtBuRn "Arae yroeuy ookua y?"
hurTBuRn "AREA yRoEuY oOkUa Y?
(*) - Looping - Our inexact and unsanctioned name for what happens when Xander has something that bothers him but can't quit doing it, like a permanent loop on a program, a scratch on a record, or poking that sore in your mouth. When he was young, A-B-C, A-B-C, A-B-C would be a loop, and unstopped would start a meltdown.
(**) - Xander has verbal shorthands, a kind of audio code. "Are you okay?" means he's hurt somewhere.
(***) - one of his physical therapists told us that in addition to all the sensory issues an autistic child has, they're often dealing with odd signals from their body, never quite comfortable in their own skin, like an all-over pins and needles feeling and not knowing quite exactly where your body parts are. From watching my son, I noticed he loves bouncing, jumping, swimming and swinging, and I thought that perhaps those few seconds of weightlessness in those activities helped him feel nothing at all. Hence the blank space.
(****) - one scientific article I read - I tend to up keep with autistic news - said a few studies have shown that autistic people's brains sometimes process auditory information a few microseconds off from one side to another.
(*****) - a throughly inadequate attempt to visually describe what kind of agony a sensory overload must feel like - the pain, the jagged and off sensory input, a rush of overload.
(******) - headbutting is pretty common. I've come to think of it as a way to say I'm really something - hurt, overloaded, frustrated, confused - and also a way to reset, kind of like the weightless feeling from before.
WEDNESDAY’S LIST . . . of beans ’n greens ’n other things:
DON’T TELL me I’ve nothing to do.
From the window of my barn I see Ozzie coming through the hedgerow from next door. I like Ozzie a lot, but I’m not sure he feels the same. Efforts to pet and feed over the years have been a flop at best.
What Ozzie likes to do is hunt. I mean really hunt.
You see, Ozzie is a brindle, bob-tailed, three-legged cat and he loves to feed on whatever he can find in the hedgerow across my back yard, including field mice and squirrels.
Ozzie is flat out deadly, too.
Since losing his right front leg to a tumor a couple of years back, he has taught himself a new way to hunt. He keeps stalking to a minimum. But with the patience of Job, he settles down and waits for a meal to come within striking distance.
When the meal does, it’s “Wham” and Ozzie heads for the dinner table.
He’s a wonder to watch ...
IT IS A typical day at the Smith Estate. I am out in my barn kicked back in what I call “Archie’s Recliner.” I am reading a book, listening to Merle Haggard on the stereo, and watching TV (how’s that for multi-tasking, huh?) The blonde is out and about.
The phone rings. It is from the blonde. She is at Sears in the Quintard Mall ...
“Sweetheart, I’m at Sears looking at vacuum cleaners. I can get a small one to go with a regular one. What do you think I should do?”
Recovering from the shock of her asking my permission for anything, I agree to the double dip and then make a mistake with “What’s going on, you asking my permission?”
From the other end, there is a happy laugh with:
“It’d be different if it were shoes and a dress.”
I managed a quiet goodbye (without choking), hung up, and went back to singing along with Merle. It seemed fitting he was in the middle of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Here And Drink” at the time.
JOE ESTEP deserves a standing ovation. Joe runs the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame and, this past Saturday night, put together another classic.
Held at the “new” Oxford Civic Center, the 2013 induction played to a near packed house.
Outstanding Joe, outstanding.
FOR THOSE asking, the Peach Man’s tomatoes are a week away, but Ken Easterling will be at Regions in Oxford on Friday morning at 6 with another load of Chilton County peaches.
If no sell-out in Oxford he heads for the Anniston post office along about 8 . . . but don’t bet he gets there.
IF YOU’RE lining up at the Walmart deli at Lenlock, I hope you get lucky and a young lady by the name of Vanesa Durham waits on you. She did for me a few days back and while I’ve had an unpleasant moment or two there, Vanesa left me feeling pretty good.
Walmart could use more like her.
BIRTHDAYS: June 12 – Annette Vice; June 14 – Sage Snow; June 15 – Twins Brettnie and Dakota Smith; June 17 – Aiden Lloyd; 11; June 18 – Don Beabout.
And Jeff Jones, June 17. A member of a vanishing breed (The Great Generation), Jeff drove a “weasel” jeep ashore at Normandy, June 6, 1944.
QUOTABLE: “My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down - but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let's all have another round.”
Thanks for visiting ...
George Smith may be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.