16 February 2012

Another Day in Autism Land

The laws in Autism Land are different from the laws in Neurotypical Land and anyone with a kid who earned the family the right to live in A.L. can tell you this is true.  Sometimes the A.L. laws contradict the N.T. laws but in the end of the day, no matter how the N.T. world feels about it, the A.L. laws take precedent.

Sometimes you just have to cancel a dentist appointment. 

Is it considered illness, a legitimate reason for cancellation, when the reason, summed up, is Autism?

I've had dentist appointments for all four boys on the calendar for 6 months.  The office assistant called on Tuesday to confirm said appointments.  All was well, so I said we'd see her there, 9:00 Thursday morning.

Well, then Autism roared it's kooky head.

Zack has a week full of long term assignments (some past due), meetings for high school preparation, and tests.  He entered the house last night in a fog of frustration.  On top of it all, the school bus keeps getting more crowded and he never gets a seat to himself.  This probably sounds silly to anyone not affected by the sensory storm of Autism, but in our world, sitting smooshed against someone, other than family or a close friend, on a small bus seat, would be like having your seat-mate lick your cheek.  Really.  It's hard to understand, but kids with sensory integration disorder can feel "creepy crawly," crowded and confused, when strangers get too close.  At the end of a chaotic middle school day, Zack just wants his space and there's nothing I can do about it except understand how it ends his day with a boot kick to the brain. 

So, as we meandered carefully through the maze of homework, dinner and de-stressing, I mentioned that he could sleep in the next morning because he and his brothers had a dentist appointment.  You'd have thought I told him he had four more science projects and he'd have to sit with not one, but two, kids on the bus. 

It was an utter meltdown. 

Sometimes you just have to cancel a dentist appointment. 

It's a judgement call.  I hope the dentist office assistant understands, but it's the right call.  Taking Zack to the dentist today would have been bad for everyone.  Taking an already wound up sensory confused, frustrated kid with autism, to a place where they strap a paper bib to his chest, touch his face and stick their fingers in his mouth, would not have ended well for anyone. 

I'm the mom.  I have to try to make my boy's world as inviting as possible.  I try to help him avoid hostile environments of all kinds and to him, today, the dentist office would have been a battlefield, so I sent him off to school. 

Who'd have ever thought that middle school would be the lesser of two evils???

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