Blog #86~ Down syndrome and Autism… Boy to Man
I find it mind blowing that my son turned 20 years old. What a strange dichotomy. In many ways he is much like a child. Nick still watches Thomas the Tank Engine DVD’s and plays with kiddy toys. He needs prompts with grooming, dressing and navigating throughout the day.
He is small in stature, and at first glance you might mistake him for a middle school aged student. But if you take a closer look, there are signs that he is indeed a young man. His voice is deep and you can see the visible razor stubble on his chin. That, and the fact that he likes to sneak a gulp of his Dad’s beer on occasion. 🙂
Bottoms up Nick……
At Nick’s conference last week, a poignant question was raised. What are his barriers for increased independence? For Nick it is his impulsiveness. It’s that need to push buttons, in particular those big red buttons. He can never be left alone.
For those of you keeping score at home, the current count is 30 pulls since 3rd grade…….
In the Down syndrome and autism support groups we all scratch our heads at the antics that our kids come up with. The reoccurring theme is that impulsiveness. It’s uncanny, the things they come up with to mess with us. So often, our stories are similar. Maybe it’s throwing a shoe out the bus window, coming in like a seagull and swiping something off your plate, opening up the car door while you are driving 50 miles an hour, stripping down buck naked, throwing an iPhone down the toilet, turning the TV volume up to 99, blowing a snot rocket and wiping on the flat screen or pushing the microwave and phone intercom button repeatedly.
Or dumping an armful of hangers into the washing machine…
Hardy har har Nick, good one! There are a lot more pictures in Blog #3~Getting Your Goat, located in the April 2012 archives.
Within the framework of the “barrier question” above, it becomes increasingly obvious that these behaviors need to be controlled and contained. Best case scenario, maybe Nick needs to express his funny side in a more appropriate fashion that is less invasive. There is no way he could survive in a group home pulling such pranks.
We have two more years in the post-secondary transition program. On the day of his 22nd birthday the little yellow bus will stop coming to the door. So, the IEP goals for Nick need to be focused on global independence both in the community and at home. It’s a bit daunting but then again, so was toilet training him. Somehow we survived that. I look forward to the IEP next week and seeing how his program can be shaped to foster a more mature adult version of Nick. That’s what is in my noggin this week!