No, this isn't another wait list post. This is something I recently noticed about Sophie and think it might be worth passing along.
I noticed that often Sophie needs much longer than typical to react to a situation. Like, minutes longer at least. But oh it's so worth the wait. Here are some examples.
Incident 1- "the sippy cup"
playgroup at Silvercreek nursery school
We were doing our thing there as usual, the gym, the bead mazes, Sophie being her usual seemingly-oblivious-to-her-surroundings self. I say seemingly because she snaps to attention at will, and always has that look of head cocked to the side eavesdropping. She was wandering around with her sippy cup and at one point it'd gone missing. At home time I and a couple teachers started looking for it, asking if anybody saw it, generally putting out a "missing cup alert". Sophie was doing her bead maze unconcerned. I was gathering my stuff to leave but still looking around for it (it was a good cup!) while the rest of the playgroup left gradually. I guess at some point it sunk in for Sophie that "hey, seems like home time is dependant on finding this cup", because all of a sudden she stopped with the beads, walked next door to the gym, purposefully fetched the cup from where she must've left it and came back to us casually sipping on it. That produced a laugh out of the teachers but for me was yet another proof that she knows, understands and remembers much more than she lets on.
Incident 2 "the snoezolean"
This example illustrates Sophie's self-awareness and knowing what she needs and how to get it.
While playing at the bead maze table, Sophie somehow slipped down and bumped her chin, cutting her lip pretty badly with her teeth and producing a significant amount of blood. Needless to say she was very upset, actually more upset than I've seen her in a long time. Since she only recently started having tantrums I don't really have a "tantrum protocol" yet, so I was just observing her and making mental notes. She ran out of the playroom and into the hallway which was a good decision I thought since it was quiet and less stimulating. I sat there with her as she was trying to calm down but couldn't. So I led her to the empty gym which has a padded area since she was thrashing around. I talked to her soothingly, mostly quiet reassurances and "shhhhh" (to soothe, not to quiet). I was contemplating just cutting my losses and leaving, but didn't because with baby in sling, diaper bag and trashing-around Sophie we wouldn't make it to the car. So I waited.
|Looks kind of like this|
Again as she noticed it was totally up to her, she very deliberately got up and stomped down the hall all the way to the front of the school where they have a snoezolean room set up. She pulled a large object out of the way, opened the door and entered the darkened room. Inspired by her initiative, I set her up with all the lights and the bubble light tube she loves. They have a hammock in one corner so I put her in there and rocked her. She took about 10 minutes, centred herself and then, amazingly, got up and walked back to the playroom! Completely unprompted. It was home time by then, we entered at goodbye song, but she was greeted warmly and did I detect a self-satisfied smile? She was totally calm and in control and walked to the car holding my hand.
Both of these events took place when for some reason I was stalling with my own reactions (both times because bogged down with baby and bag, so moving slowly). If in the first example I just quickly decided to abandon the cup and look for it next time, I wouldn't have known that Sophie understood our discussion and was able to recall where the cup was. If in the next event I just left when she hurt herself, I would've missed her knowing what she needed to calm down and equally important, that she would've cared to rejoin the playgroup afterwards. Sophie like many autistic kids has the "I don't care" look so it is nice to know she does care. It is worth to note that she was only in the snoezolean room once before, about 2 months ago when we had our first tour of the facility.
Many smaller, less profound incidents gave me pause. Like talking to her, more out of habit than expecting a response and her following through (come get your shoes, brush your teeth, lets go to bed, etc). The reason I am surprised is because often she seems like she isn't listening. But now I think she just needs extra time to let things sink in. Like maybe when we are caught up reading or engrossed in a movie and someone talks to us and it takes a while to register and respond. So maybe I will try leaving more pauses and opportunities for her to act before rushing in to take over impatiently. Hopefully as she acquires a taste for initiative, the reaction time will shorten. Interesting, no?