Friday, January 9, 2009

The Scent of Things

As mentioned in prior posts concerning Casey's new classroom situation, they now send home daily a point sheet which details his day in terms of how many points he gets or points he gets taken away (for bad behavior). It's sorta ridiculous really, not only because the points are in groups of 500's and Casey needs a calculator at this point to add 5+9, but because points are not a big motivator for Casey. Sure, if he gets so many points, he gets computer time or he gets to go to some party they plan at the end of the week etc. So, it's not so much the points, but the reminder of what he gets if he maintains all his points that really, well, makes the point, to Casey.

While I call the system "ridiculous", for some reason, the point sheet is the first thing I pull out of his backpack each afternoon after he gets off the bus. I can't wait to see how he did and how many points he got, and also to see if they wrote any comments. Monday, he got a pretty good report, it actually said he had a really good day!

Immediately following that however, it said that there had been 2 episodes of him grabbing a para's head and his new teacher's head so he could "smell" them. This is a pretty common practice in our household. Prefaced with a "Let me love you Mommy." said in a rather sultry voice (weird I know, but it is sultry) he grabs me round the neck and pulls the side of my head to his nose and sniffs me deeply. Being the olfactory sensitive child that he is, I suppose he's soaking me in this way. He also tends to do this to other women (no, I'm not too jealous), and usually ones who he likes. I'm used to it but his unsuspecting subjects aren't. I can only imagine how well these little episodes went over at school....well enough for him to lose some of those all important points. Reportedly, they told him "No thank you" and gently pushed him away.

That sorta made me sad. I mean, I know it's inappropriate at school, and I usually try to banish this behavior out in public, especially since he his about my height and when he does it I'm pretty sure it looks really weird to any onlookers nearby. But at the same time, it's sorta sad that his senses cause him to seek out scents as a comfort, and he's told it's wrong.

People use their sense everyday for pleasure, listening to music, smelling flowers, watching a sunset, touching something silky. But, as usual Autism throws a wrench into things for Casey using his senses for his own pleasure. It kinda goes along with say, oh dancing vs. stimming. Sure, it's okay for folks to wiggle around rhythmically to music on a dance floor together. It feels good and it's fun. But a kid stimming in a mall because it feels good is suddenly cause for paparazzi like cell phone photography. I guess that's why when Casey starts stimming out in public I occasionally do it with him, there's power in numbers.

Needless to say, his loss of points at school for this "behavior" was all the punishment he got for these incidents. I explained to him why he could only do it at home to me, and he said "Let me love you Mommy.", and with his nose pressed firmly to my temple, I did.....