Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just another night in Autismville....

Not many people think about taking their kids to "bars" but we do, we can. Here in Michigan, kids can dine with their family up until 9pm in places that others would think kids could never step foot in. We took Casey to such an establishment the other night.

We enjoy taking him to these places because they almost always have lots of tvs, and video games. This is perfect for him, a sensory overload that he loves and lends to everyone involved having a great time out together. The bar we went to fit the bill, 10 televisions encircling us, a wall of video games aglow. This idilic mecca however, became somewhat of an impediment it seems, as our son is becoming more acutely aware of the details of his obsessions.

Three very important sporting events were on that night, one less important than the other 2, but taking up a couple of tv screens nontheless. One of the events was supposed to be on at 7pm (time is becoming quite important to Casey) and it was on channel 7 (his favorite channel at the moment) and not one television had it on. This was a playoff game for our Detroit Pistons so we were suprised it wasn't on either, and Casey was well, mortified. He even went so far as to gather the attention of a few of the waitresses before we knew what he was doing, to demand (there are no requests with Casey) that someone turn one of the tvs to channel 7! They were befuddled, we were a little embarressed and no changes in the matter were accomplished.

This lead to a series of laps around the bar to each televison not in his view to see if his beloved channel 7 was on one of them. Needless to say, it was busy there, waitresses dodging back and forth, Casey dodging in between them, in between tables, in between customers. Bill and me, chasing him, trying to make him sit down and get out of the way.

He finally found one console that had channel 7 on it. Of course, it was out of sight of our table, facing the pool tables and dart boards, where, you guessed it, people were in fact playing pool and darts. Just where you want a giant 9 year old standing in the middle of your line of shot jumping in excitement at the channel 7 emblem in the corner of the tv! Needless to say, we had to make him sit several times, and we were just plum exhausted.

Casey finally settled down to eat his fries, but suddenly broke into crocodile tears as if pinched quite violently. "What is wrong?!" I inquired impatiently, really wanting to enjoy my meal finally. "I can't watch channel 7 while I eat!" he cried sadly. Ugh.

After things were finally cleared, I used the 9pm time limit to excuse ourselves from the establishment, leaving Bill with some friends to watch in peace. Riding home, I felt beat down and a little bummed that our bar idea wasn't fun at all this time, and that once again Casey's Autism got the best of things.

We had the radio on and the Who's "Who are You?" came on, causing Casey to start moving furiously in his dancey, stemmy way. Disgusted with the whole evening, I said more to myself than him "See, I shouldn't have let you drink Sprite. Now you're all jazzed up!".

"I'm not jazzed up on Sprite mom, I'm jazzed on the music!" he jauntily replied doing his Casey moves even more energetically.

A sentence like that doesn't often come easily for Casey, and somehow, in that simple little sweet and funny reply, the angst of the evening suddenly left my mind, and I savored the silliness and clarity of his thought.....I took a deep breath, and let the nights events get pushed out the window in the new summer's breeze.