Thursday 29 November 2012

My Son: The Man With A Plan

Anyone who claims children with autism cannot make plans and carry them out has not met my son.

Once again, he has outwitted us and proven his dedication and skill.

We have a storage area in the basement where we keep a lot of the "scatterable" toys (blocks, lego, marbles, puzzles, etc.).  It's kept locked but the kids are allowed to request the toys at any time.  The only rule is that they have to bring something down from upstairs to "trade" for a new toy.  (BTW, this strategy has really worked for keeping down the clutter and mess in our play areas ... which is most of the house.)

A few mornings ago, my husband irritatedly asked me if I'd locked the storage area.  I said I had and asked why.  He told me he'd discovered a bunch of toys scattered all over the basement playroom floor.  I chalked it up to an accidental unlocking and resolved to make sure everyone was more careful.

Later that day, I went down to discover toys scattered all over the floor.  Now I was irritated.  If Dave had discovered the mess, he should have cleaned it up or at least told me he hadn't so I wasn't ambushed.  I spent half an hour sorting through four 500 piece puzzles which had been dumped.  When Dave got home, I mentioned it to him and he told me he had cleaned up the mess.  The blocks and Lego had been spread around, not puzzle pieces.

Suddenly we realized what was going on.  Alex had obviously figured out how to get into the locked room.  The door was still locked so he hadn't found the keys.  We tried to see if the lock wasn't latching properly.  Maybe it could be pushed open if the door was pressed on?  No success. 

Dave was the one to figure it out.  The storage area is behind the stairs.  Underneath the stairs is another storage area which the boys have access to.  Between the two was  a gap.  A small gap about three feet wide and less than a foot tall.

Alex was eeling through the gap and opening the door from the other side.  We'd deliberately set the locks to avoid being locked in.  But it meant he was free to go in, grab what he wanted and bring it out into the basement.

From a social awareness point of view, it demonstrates perseverence, awareness that his point of view is separate from others (ie if he does it when we're not looking, we won't know) and awareness that we won't discover his plunder if he keeps it down in the basement.  Those are fairly sophisticated concepts.

We boarded up the gap with plywood and the messes have mysteriously disappeared. 

But we're still both proud and annoyed that he figured it out.

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