Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A "Flash" of Self Control

So many things have occurred since my entry of October 28Th. The very thought of trying to share so much stuff makes my brain hurt, seriously. In the interest of keeping my mind in tact for my upcoming meeting with my boss today, I think I'll focus simply on one new phenomenon that reared it's ugly head in the past couple of months.

I've been inspired by Kristina Chew's account of her son's encounters with dogs and his wonderful way of dealing with creatures who have struck fear in his heart for sometime. In our case, Casey's "dog" is a camera flash. Camera flashes now cause a total freak out reaction for Case.

I theorize that it all started during a recent photo session at school for class pictures. Apparently, instead of his little class having their time with the photographer alone, they were grouped with a hoard of other students getting their photos taken in a assembly line fashion, flashes going off every few seconds. The noise, the chaos, and the flashes really made it's impression on Casey. I guess when he couldn't take it any longer, he shouted "This is crap on a plate!" and ran out of the room and down the hall. Later on that day, he actually told his teacher he was ready to get his picture taken, and he did well. But since then, flashes have been a major ish for Casey.

And oddly, it seems with this new issue, comes more people taking pictures wherever we seem to be. Or maybe, we are now more aware of people taking pictures, especially whenever a flash goes off and he screeches and if able, tries to take the camera from the photographer at hand! He even reacted to the camera flashes in the stadium at the World Series on television! Much screaming of "Turn off the TV!" commenced during the games.

Recently we were at a restaurant where the seating was close, the area small, and everyone around us seemed to be taking photos of each other. And with the bad lighting, the flashes more extreme. Each time, Casey would screech "oh no!" each time, and his voice is no longer soft let's say. It was getting ridiculous really (along with the irritation of trying to find a damn outlet to plug in his stupid DVD player whose battery wasn't charged like I thought), so, I got into my WWCD mode (What would Cheryl do, my Occupational Therapist sister, who always seems to have a good idea on how to deal with situations) and dug through our goody bag. I found a pair of 3-D glasses used earlier at the movie theater and told him to put them on and it would protect his eyes.

Along with this I also told him, not in no many words, to be proactive and watch the people who have been taking photos, and when you see them raise their camera, look away. Do what he had to do, pretty cut and dry.

And it worked, he was really watching out for himself, burying his head in my arm before a flash went off, and was quiet and it was nice. He was self empowered, and it made me think how this issue of self empowerment will be so, well, powerful, as he grows up and more of these eccentric, if you will, behaviors come up.

Having said all this, Dad on the other hand, really knew nothing of his new empowerment. It didn't really come up as he wasn't with us that night. And so, who knew that some irritating parent would be snapping photos at a recent Dad and son event at school last Friday night. Casey's new skills didn't carry over and he was very upset. Bill tried to explain to the parent about Casey's aversion, but she was still around taking photos of other kids and it still bothered him.

Lesson learned, assume there is going to be cameras where ever we go, carry the magic 3D glasses, and Mom and Dad need to get in sync on how to help Casey empower himself, and never assume he can necessarily do it on his own....yet!


Miz Kizzle said...

Crap on a plate! Where did he get that from?
Camera flashes are everywhere this time of year. Maybe regular sunglasses would help more than the 3-D glasses? I imagine the 3-D glasses would just refract the flashes and produce a sort of trippy effect. Plus, they look weird if the wearer isn't watching a movie in 3-D or reading one of those books with 3-D illustrations and puzzles.
Does he have access to a flash camera that he can mess around with? Putting him in charge of the flash, so to speak, might make the experience less traumatic.

Rebecca said...

I wanted to be the one to say: CRAP ON A PLATE?! That is just genius and I am sooooo using it from now on.

Poor Case. He's just too adorable to hate cameras. Have you found the same aversion when you turn the flash off in daylight situations?

I agree that sunglasses might be a nice sub for the 3D, both for style and practicality. Plus, you know how those 3D glasses can go flying off balconies with very little warning! ;-)

mama edge said...

It's great that you gave Casey the strategy to control his environment rather than having to leave the environment altogether. I wish I could be that creative with Rocky: His big issue is insects. He says he'd like to wear a toxic waste protection suit when he's outside, but I think that would look really weird (3-D glasses, on the other hand, are totally fashion-forward, if you ask me).

Maddy said...

Not lurking - just interrupted. I never know where these new things come from until we're up to our ears in them. Good for you for being so in tune and piecing the bits together. I also appreciate the 'both parents being on the same page' approach as we're often at different tangents ourselves.

Sadly I think you're right in that when something new comes along my initial reaction is to ban all camera flashes / blue tooth[s] / or whatever it is that's set them off, but practically speaking we have to find other ways of coping.

~Mama Skates~ said...

what a great idea! i love hearing your stories - how you discover what does/doesn't work & determine what u can do (as a team) to be successful!

also, THIS IS CRAP ON A PLATE! i'm soooo gonna use that one day! ~lol~