Monday, November 24, 2014

A Pre Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

We didn't think it was a good idea to take my dad on our annual Thanksgiving trip this year so we did the next best thing; we had him over to the house yesterday and Skyped with my sister and her family.

My wife prepared a turkey dinner for only the second time in her life.

It looked nice, and I thought the turkey was moist and tasty, but we both agreed that the dinner didn't compare to what my sister and her crew prepare. Still, I know my dad enjoyed it.

At one point my father needed to use the bathroom. I was about to tell him where it was and was surprised that he actually remembered this time. Kai was surprised, too.

"That's the first time you remembered something at our house, Ojiichan!"

We need to remind Kai about using discretion before saying things. Fortunately my dad is hard of hearing.

Today, Kai's school has its annual Thanksgiving lunch. Last year he raised a big ruckus, apparently when he was served a dish that he didn't want.

This year we tried to prep him that it was wonderful that his school does this, and what was the point of the holiday anyway?

"To be thankful."

Yes. So enjoy the meal and don't get angry.

As I served him the green bean casserole last night, he said, "It's not polite to say something is yucky; you should just eat it, right?"

Okay, so maybe he is learning, a little bit, anyway.

Wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

First Sledding of the Season

It is not even Thanksgiving yet but it feels like winter is already well under way. I think it will be a long one.

Kai doesn't seem to mind. We had a little snow on the ground yesterday morning and he was eager to go sledding.

The sled went fine down the hill, but there wasn't enough snow for it didn't build up much speed so it quickly came to a stop once we reached the bottom of the hill. Still, not bad for the first sledding of the season. And we even were able to make snowballs.

* * * * * *

As we were driving back, Kai said, "You know, Dad, Christmas will be here soon."


"I've been pretty good this year, right?"

Hmmm, so-so, I'd say.


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day… and the Followup

Actually, it wasn’t one day. There have been more than a few in the past several weeks.

And they weren’t bad days. Bad doesn’t begin to describe them.

The circumstances were all different, but all the same in some ways.

It usually begins when Kai does something at school he should not do. Oftentimes it is because he is disappointed about something. Sometimes there’s another trigger. One time he was disappointed that he wasn’t picked to lead a vocabulary race; another time he was upset when his seat in the cab was just a bit wet. Then there was a time when he missed part of a Bill Nye video because he was out of the classroom calming down from an earlier incident.

Regardless of the trigger, these past several weeks, Kai has had huge, angry reactions where he says and does things that could get him thrown in jail if he were a bit older.

And when his teacher or a staff member speak to him about it, it usually just gets worse. He does not seem to be able to understand that he is responsible for the consequences he suffers. When he loses privileges, misses out on preferred activities, and suffers consequences, Kai blames the staff for what happened and does not accept responsibility for his actions that started everything.

We have seen some of this at home as well.

One time after a particularly bad incident at school, we increased the amount of time in which he would not get to use the iPad. He got angry, and as happens at school, he did not accept responsibility for his actions. He lashed out at me and my wife.


We tried to stay calm, and stress to him the importance that he not say or do the things he has been doing. As he gets older, this type of behavior will result in more than missing part of a video or losing iPad time; it could ruin his whole life. I don’t know that he understood.


I think he will find a hard time finding a family who will take a child who doesn’t listen to his parents or teachers.

On one particular occasion, he stayed angry for quite some time, and we sent him away from the dinner table to his room. He promptly tore apart one of his Lego sets.

Eventually he does calm down. And then he finally apologizes for his actions.

But I wonder if he really understands what we tell him.

The day after he tore apart the Lego set in his room, he tore apart another student’s Lego creation in school.

It was extremely disheartening as it was the very next day after we had spoken to him about how he would ruin his life if he continued on this path.

When Kai has bad days like this where he loses control, at bedtime he usually chooses to read stories about a character who needs help to calm down. There’s Angry Octopus, which tells of an octopus who learns relaxation techniques from a sea child. And, The Red Beast where a boy with Asperger’s learns to tame the beast within himself.

These days, though, he sometimes chooses Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the story of a boy who has a series of bad events happen over the course of a day. I think Kai relates to the boy in the story, and he sees himself as a victim of all these things that happened to him.

* * * * * *

It has now been a couple weeks since we have had a major incident at school. This past week Kai had his first Safe Week at school in some time. He even earned 100% on his Point Sheet twice during the week, and was awarded Student of the Week.

Did he finally learn his lesson? Was it just an outlier of a week? Was he motivated because he had a chance to earn a new app for a good week? Was it the slight tweak we made to his medication?

Lots of questions but no answers yet. Let’s see how this week goes.

For now, we’re just happy that it wasn’t another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

Monday, November 3, 2014


It was a very cold Halloween, even snowing off and on for much of the day. The gray and cold portended the rough day to come.

Many kids with autism struggle when their routines are disrupted and that is certainly true with Kai. On Friday, kids got to wear their Halloween costumes to school and the class schedule was modified to accommodate a parade and other special events.

When my wife got to school for the parade, she did not see Kai in the school's weekly community meeting. It was a sure sign that there had been trouble. Kai's school therapist told her that he had had two incidents that day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The latter one was especially severe and he was still calming down afterward.

But when it was time for the parade, he had pulled himself together enough to march with the rest of the students and collect his treats.

After school, he made two rounds of trick or treating around different parts of the neighborhood.

Kai's costume this year was a Storm Trooper from the Star Wars films. He didn't want to wear his mask as it was uncomfortable and he couldn't see well with it on.

When I got home from work shortly before the 7PM cutoff, he wanted to go out with me one more time. He didn't want to go to get more candy; he doesn't eat most of it anyway. And as it was still cold and snowy it wasn't a pleasant evening weatherwise.

But he wanted to uphold the tradition of going trick or treating with Dad. So, I grabbed the dog, a lantern, and we made one last short round.

And that was very sweet.

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