November 3, 2010

An unexpected occurrence

Today was a good day.  Morning started out with a coffee playdate mid-morning.  Kiera was able to complete all her "core assignments" prior to leaving.  This earned her a "break" while at the coffee play date.  This earned me some "adult talk time". 

Sometimes with Autism you have so many good days, good experiences that it can almost make you forget the "difficult times".  Just when you forget them, one seems to occur to remind you, that Autism is still there.

We frequent this coffee shop.  They have a small toy area with toys that Kiera enjoys playing with.  Often she ends up sharing with another child, and most of the time does well.  I can reign her in and give her something else to do if it doesn't go well.

Today there were quite a few tears.  Usually I see what makes it happen.  I often can intervene and prompt or redirect and use it as a teaching moment.  Today I may have been distracted enough by enjoyable adult talk to not see that and by the time I realize something is wrong she had tears.  This happened a few times.  I tried to use the usual approach of putting it in her power to "get control of her emotions".  Today she was already too far into the tears to get an answer "on the spot" of "why".

It happened a few too many times.  We finally ended the "visit". 

We left and proceeded to the library where Kiera was "perfectly in control of her emotions".  She followed all the rules, did her math work, chose her movies, read books to me and even played with two different children sharing appropriately.  I enjoyed this, but it left me wondering.

In retrospect my first thought was perhaps it was the weekend "gluten infraction" in her diet that had her emotional.  Secondary it may have been as simple as her walking in to see friends and the toys all over the table.  I probably should of sat her at the two seat table to have her cookies before playing.  She had been doing so well for weeks I thought nothing of it.  Maybe the "confusion" led to frustration and frustration for her leads to tears.  She typically recovers quickly, but once recovered if something happens again to frustrate her often there will be more tears.

Tonight in discussion about what happened,  she said she was frustrated.  Not sure if she really understood.  I think it was a combination of confusion (things quite different) along with frustration perhaps.

Times like this remind me of the challenges and make me a little more thankful for all the good times she has had.  Yesterday, Tuesday, she interacted and played well with other home schooled friends over a 2-hour period.  She played well with quite a few children, with prompts as I sat quite a long distance away.  She didn't have any tears and would follow the reminder when given without any frustration.

The situation today still perplexes me, because she has been spot on all the rest of the day.  I can only say maybe confusion/frustration over her usual "coffee shop" experience may have been the main culprit of the tears.  Maybe this is a good social lesson for her and next time she will do better. 

It's a reminder no matter how well they are doing, it doesn't mean "situations" won't happen in the future.  We used today's social situation as a discussion point tonight.  Came up with some things we can do differently in the future.  Baby steps in regards to social skills.  We've come so far, but have so much farther to go.

Life's lessons for her......... and for me!

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