Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I can't get no

It seems Bud has decided that he doesn't like a heavy dose of melancholy in his music.

This is not exactly a new phenomenon - for years, he has avoided Keith Urban's song "Everybody" because, he says, "it makes me strain." But recently, there seem to be more songs that are pulling his heartstrings in all the wrong directions, and he's having none of it. I get it, since I tend to be the same way with books and movies - I mean, life can be tough enough all on its own; I don't need heartbreak and despair in my entertainment. So, when a song like Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream" comes on and I hear Bud's cautious "Mom?" piping up from the back seat, I quickly change the station and find a more upbeat tune.

Sometimes, though, Bud just wants to provide a little commentary on the music that's playing or ask a question about the lyrics, so I try not to make assumptions about how a particular song will affect him until he lets me know. The other day, Bud and I were in the middle of a long road trip when Trace Adkins' "I Wanna Feel Something" came on. It's not a new song and Bud has heard it a million times before without comment. This time, though, as the song came to its chorus,

"I want a heart that beats and bleeds,
A heart that's bustin' at the seams,
I wanna care, I wanna cry, I wanna scream.
I just wanna feel something,"

I heard Bud's voice from behind me. "Mom," he said, "it's satisfying."

"What's satisfying, Bud?"

"Trace. 'I Wanna Feel Something.' It's satisfying."

"You feel satisfied?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said. But the "yeah" sounded just a touch too glum to me. Something wasn't adding up.

"What does 'satisfying' mean, Bud?" I asked.

"Means it makes me sad," he answered.


Not satisfying.


Got it.

We changed the station.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A matter of perspective

If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you probably have a sense of the extraordinary progress that Bud has made in recent years. If you know him in real life, then you are certainly aware of it. The progress is undoubtedly a good thing.

And yet, I find myself thinking lately about a post I wrote several years ago about the down-side of being a "high functioning" child, as I find myself responding to Bud with higher expectations, lower levels of patience, and increasing frustration with his behavior.

I'm reminding myself that I need to take a step back and remember what's going on here.

It's one of the dangers, I think, of having a child with a "hidden" disability. The more he "looks" like other children on the surface, the quicker I am to blame him for troubling behavior, instead of recognizing that it is merely another manifestation of his disability.

I think about it this way: If Bud were blind, I doubt I would hear myself saying "You have a cane. We have been over this a million times. Would you PLEASE stop bumping into things?" I'm virtually certain I would not blurt out in frustration "CAN YOU JUST WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING?"

I have a hunch that I would be quicker to remember that visual impairment is the very definition of blindness, and that the behaviors that stem from that are merely signs that there is more progress to be made.

Why, then, can it be so difficult to remember that most of Bud's troubling behavior stems from the core deficits that are the hallmark of an autism diagnosis:

Language impairment;

Difficulty with appropriate social interaction;

Restrictive interests and repetitive behaviors.

When I look at the behaviors that make me want to scream - that do, in fact, sometimes make me scream - I can see how neatly they fit into these three little boxes.

Bud has made - and continues to make - extraordinary progress. His skills compound. His abilities soar. And he is still autistic. The core deficits of autism will continue to manifest in new ways for him, signalling our need to shift approaches and rethink assumptions.

It is MY job to watch where we're going.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bud goes Up On the Ridge

It's June 8: Do you have your copy of Up On the Ridge yet?

In case my early praise wasn't enough to sway you, I've asked an uber-fan to step in as guest blogger today to offer you his own review. I gave him the template, but the assessments are all his own.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you - Bud:

I like Dierks Bentley's CD Up On the Ridge because it makes me happy.

My favorite song on the CD is "Up On the Ridge." I like it because it's very awesome.

My second favorite song on the CD is "Fiddlin' Around." I like it because it makes me good.

Some other songs on the CD that I like are "Rovin' Gambler" and "Fallin' for You."

The instruments that I like hearing on the CD are a guitar and mandolin.

I think people should listen to Up On the Ridge because it's nice.

The best thing about Dierks Bentley is (he's) the best man ever.

You can download Up On the Ridge right now, right here. Trust us: it's nice.