Case returned the other day from his big visit down in Indy with his Aunties. He had a lot of fun bowling, visiting the Children's Museum, going to movies, etc. I got great reports from both sisters on his behaviors.
I was told how sweet he was, how much affection he gave them, the laughs they had! I was glad, and I'm glad he can be away from me and "keep it together" as it were. I know a lot of kids with Autism have a really hard time with change and change in routine, but for the most part, this has never been one of Casey's issues (although he does have many). I suppose this could be attributed to the fact that we have traveled back and forth to Indiana since he was a baby, making his first trip the December after he was born.
Since then, we probably go there at least 5 to 6 times a year. He's great in the car, except for the years he was potty training, and that was more about my own anxiety that there would be an accident in the ol' car seat. Nothing really phases him, with the help of radio and a dvd player.
The one thing that bums me out a bit when he visits them, and at the same time I find so cool, is how well he does with schedules there. My sisters both make him a schedule for the day, mainly to keep him off the computer for prolonged periods of time. And, he follows them, thus the coolness. I heard several times how he was told to check his schedule and he would pick up from there and do whatever was next, making things go smoothly, and keeping him off the tv and computer for the better part of the day.
The thing that bums me out about this is that it is almost impossible for me to implement a schedule here. I really try, I will write out everything he has to do to deserve some time on the computer. For example:
1. read 3 books with Dad
2. jump 100 times on the trampoline
3. play a board game with mom
4. go swimming
5. eat lunch
6. computer time
But all I get is a fight and a grousing boy running into his bedroom to turn on his second thing in the whole world, one of his favorite videos, so he can "dub" and rewind certain parts 500 times before I have to yell at him. Don't get me wrong, I occasionally get some cooperation, but for the most part, my little creature of habit isn't having it! After he returned home and I tried a schedule, he actually told me "I don't do schedules here!". Groowwwwllll!
And I think that is the biggest obstacle I face as far as getting him to follow a schedule, being home. When he's home, it's comfort time. When he's at his Aunt's, he's out of sorts a bit, maybe looking for more guidance perhaps, and that's why a schedule works for him so well. I think it gives my sisters a certain sense of accomplishment as well, especially when he is cooperative, pleasant and fun.
So, I will bask in the satisfaction that our little guy was a joy to be around for his Aunts, and maybe even take some credit for his being so good, maybe we've done a few things right. And, I will make it a New Years Resolution to make schedules work at our house too!