There are rules when it comes to autism. No one tells you the rules, because they are different from person to person. …but they are definitely there. Many of our kiddos like to line things up, are picky eaters, have texture issues and other sensory challenges, some are runners and some are non-verbal, but no two are exactly alike. Like Mr. Gump so eloquently put it, “you never know what you’re gonna get”…until you do. Once you “get” your little super hero, it doesn’t make life simple by a long shot, but does help you identify and attempt to avoid potential meltdown triggers. It also means that you quickly realize when a profound moment happens. For me, this was one of those moments that the cell phone just wasn’t enough to capture. It was a BIG moment!
We’ve been going to a farm about 1-2 times a week since last August. I’ve taken Christian with us many times, but he really seemed uncomfortable at times and downright miserable others. He either ignored the animals, was afraid of them or they overwhelmed him on a sensory level (can’t blame ya there buddy, Spot the donkey has a pretty loud bellow). Still, we kept trying, each time being met with a different level or type of resistance. It didn’t take much for him to get completely overwhelmed and meltdown…or worse, take off running.
On Tuesday, we pulled up at the farm and I looked back to see him hurriedly unbuckling his car seat….and smiling! He couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. Once out, he made a b-line for the pigs. He’s been watching Peppa Pig quite a bit lately. He gets a kick out of the muddy puddles. So, not only did he wave and tell the pigs hello, but he also squat down to get on their level in order to make eye contact while doing so! My heart nearly leapt out of my chest, I was so proud! After greeting them, he helped me and his little sister throw them some stale bread we brought for them to snack on (gross motor skills!).
The former “rules”, when it came to farm visits, went right out the window. Not only did he not desire to stay in the car, buckled in his seat (safe from contact with anything with hooves and four legs…lol), but he was OUT and HAPPY! So, the rule of thumb? Every day has a bit of rule-busting potential, you just have to be patient and keep trying. As for Spot? Well, he’s still pretty loud, but he makes up for it in furry cuteness.