Sunday, November 1, 2009

All about Timothy...

Timothy at his computer...
Multiple items must always be in a straight line, be in paperclips, marbles or money...

When I first started this blog I was not sure how much I would go into my private life. I wanted it to be an online diary of sorts for me as I hate having to put pen to paper at the end of a long day. All I want to do at that point is hit my pillow and sleep. I wanted to be able to share with others what we are doing here and wanting to achieve, how we are doing it and how we correct things that may go wrong.

There have been allot of changes around here even just from the beginning of the year. So much has changed. We had another birth, a heifer called Chloe. We had the incubator working on full steam for a while. We planted but lost everything to the calves. The cows and their calves left...

The square foot garden is not working as well as I had hoped. The carrots have died due to heat I presume. The lettuce has gone backwards too. Other than that all else is doing fine. Will put corn in where the carrots were to keep it going. Also found that the dogs love to jump in it as it has allot of manure in it... Naughty doggies. :)

One thing that I wanted to write about also was Timothy and to be able to express how I feel about him having Asperger's Syndrome (AS), Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) and a huge dose of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

It has been a long road from when I first noticed that he was very different from others. He was my first so did not take too much notice when he kept climbing things before attempting to walk. He was always up something. Now a days it could be a tree, roof, tank, whatever as long as it is up. I asked him once why he does it and he says that it is quieter up high. You see he can't block out white noise like 'normal' people. Another reason why I take him shopping as little as possible. The lights in shopping centres drive him to distraction. Going down isles he can smell the pasta, sauces, everything. Don't try to take him down the cleaning isle, it will not work...

His heightened sense of touch, taste and smell is amazing as well as frustrating at times. If I am to make Spaghetti Bolognaise he can only have the pasta and mince with nothing on it. How boring you might think but if he has the sauce he will say straight away that it is 'too tasty'. He always HAS to smell whatever he is about to eat or drink. Getting the right toothpaste has been an absolute nightmare. I have tried them all on him. We have finally settled on the baby toothpaste. It has no mint and doesn't hurt his taste buds.

Showering or having a bath has to be really hot usually, even in summer. He can't control his body temperature so I end up washing hot and cold clothes all year with him. There will be ice outside and he will be in his boxers jumping on the trampoline or it will be really hot and he goes to school with beanie, jumper and long pants... It is amazing to watch. You touch him and he really is the opposite. Off course he feels fine so gets cross at me if I put cool clothes in his school bag. They have to be snuck into school.

His hearing is what gets to me most times. He can't stand the radio on and at night I am trying to get him used to relaxation music. He likes it sometimes but other times, such as when he has had a bad day, it is not very useful at all. He uses his earmuffs quite allot at school as well as at home. Sometimes he wears them for just a little while, other times like during the last school holidays, he will wear them all day. Sometimes he is allot more sensitive than other times. I just need to make sure I pick up on the cues. Funny thing is I am so much more like him now, can't stand the music on, like it quiet, the less movement the better. All because I have had to change for him to be able to cope, now I am getting that way too...

At school and at home he is a little policeman. He can't stand it that others don't do as they are told (even though he can take his own sweet time doing as he is being told...) and if just one little thing goes wrong during his day it will most likely cause nightmares that night and still be the topic of conversation the next day. He just can't let go... Mountains out of mole hills, that's for sure.

He is loving being integrated into Warwick State High School Support Unit during this last semester of Year 7. He goes there for part of the day every second Tuesday. He has a school buddy now and has lunches there which is rather overwhelming. He is coping with the afternoon bus ride home well at this point as well. He gets home about 4:10pm so it ends up being a long day for him. Next year he will be leaving at 7:10am so it will be even longer... Will see how it all goes.

His obsessions for a long time have been three things: Chickens, Dogs and Rocks/Gems. It is amazing how much he knows on his subjects and how he bonds with them Chooks :) The chickens and dogs are very interesting. He will go out to the chooks, give them water and sit amongst them telling him about his day or what might be bugging him. He speaks to them as though they are humans. When one dies he grieves like it was his best friend. He relates to the chickens as you and I would relate to people. It is sometimes really bazaar to watch. I am glad that he has them as they are an outlet for him. I feel so sad for him that his Poppy passed away in May. He is still not over her. None of us are...

One problem that I have been having this semester is that he has made it perfectly clear that he goes to school to learn and home is for relaxing, hibernating and chilling and not for more schoolwork ie. homework. He can't understand that he needs to do it at home when he has done it at school already. On the other hand he is also being difficult at school not wanting to be in Primary School anymore as he has had a taste of High School. Can't win at the moment but am not pushing it as if I do it will only make a mountain out of a mole hill and that is soooo not worth it. I know what battles to pick most of the time and that is not one of them.

A bone of contention in this house is also his room. He gets things out and puts them on the floor, computer desk or on his bed and then off course they can't be touched as he has put them there for a reason. There is a whole heap of pillows all along the edge of his bed as well for comfort but also for him to feel safe. His room is a total mess most of the time which I can't stand but don't know how to get around that one. Might put it in with his chores. Have tried that before and off course he says that they are there because they need to be but can't tell me why.

Jobs that must be done in the mornings are put in a list form and are stuck to his door as well as in the kitchen. That way I don't have to repeat about what needs to be done and when. Keeps the peace allot more in the mornings. I am really glad that we have it. I also monthly menu plan so he always knows what is going to be for dinner. Sometimes that changes at the last minute but he is able to cope better then.

Sleepovers is one thing that doesn't happen. He might have a friend stay here but he is not invited over to their place. That hurts him allot as he sees Joshua staying over other kids' places and he doesn't get asked along. Respite, once every three/four months is about all the break that he or the rest of the family gets. I take that with both hands and that is where he is this weekend. They cater for him and the other clients so well there. Usually there are outings everyday that he is there... Be it bowlling, fishing or going to the park with a picnic. It takes a bit to get him there as he doesn't like being without his computer and that whole other non communicative world but once he is there he always has a great time :)

OK, I think that is enough for today on my little man. All in all, yes it is very hard most of the time but I wouldn't have it any other way. He has stretched me in ways I never thought possible and has taught me about so many things and he is only 12. I wonder what the next 12 years have in store for me???

Cheers Damaris


Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I take my hat off to you Damaris. As an O.T I worked with young people and adults with challenging behaviors - some had similar sensory integration difficulties to those Timothy has, others obsessions and compulsive behaviors. Many had violent behaviours (often a result of institutionalization)and I used to have my hair pulled constantly and permanent scratches on my arms, courtesy of one young girl but I could leave work at 5pm and have respite every evening. I know it must be hard, especially when you encounter those who do not understand why Timothy responds in certain ways. Living in the country must help, the environment is so important - I guess city life would drive Timothy crazy - 6 months in a rental house in suburbia with barking dogs, lawnmowers, parties etc, was hard enough for me! Thank you for sharing about your life with Timothy - the trials and the joys - for being so candid on your blog about candid country life. I hope it offers those who visit some insight into what it requires to raise a child like Timothy.

spmac said...

Hi Damaris,
Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings about your son Timothy, I work in a high school and have come across a couple of kids with asperger's. One I had close dealings with as I worked in the library at the time and this young 13yr old boy became a regular there. He was a member of the Green Team - an environmental group our teacher/librarian ran, he loved nature and knew everything about Marron, yabbies and jilgies. When he got upset he would end up on the roof or up a tree. He too didn't like it when the other kids weren't doing the right thing and would come and tell us and just like Timothy he would take his own good time doing things himself :)
He is the same age as my youngest daughter and is now 22. I saw him earlier this year at an event we attended, he was working as a security guard there, not quite the policman, but pretty close :)
As far a s the vege patch goes Darmaris, its trial and error with vegies. I have found some things just don't go too well were we are and so I don't try to grow them now, even tho they are supposed to be suitable for where we are. But its so worthwhile growing the ones that do flourish here. It will all work out in the end, you may just had to do some adjustments to suit.