I arrived home on Wednesday night shortly after 9pm, and my son was home shortly thereafter. When I asked him how his respite time had been, his response was something along the lines of, "It was good. On the first day, we ate out at this restaurant, then the next day we went to this place for a snack, and one time we went to that other place to eat, etc." It was all about where they'd gone to eat! When I asked what else he'd done, he said he didn't remember.
On Thursday, my son was up sometime before noon, did his chores, then played out in the yard with neighbourhood boys. It always amazes me that he now does this, and is able to actually spend time with them, and to do so without strange looks/comments from them and without verbal prompts from me. It works well that the boys are all younger than my son.
Thursday evening is my son's walking club. He left without issue; I texted the club facilitator, as usual, when my son left and received a response when he arrived at the park. A few minutes later, the facilitator texted again; this time, it was to say that my son was riding a bike around instead of walking with the club (apparently a neighbourhood boy had gone along to the club as well and he'd been on his scooter while my son rode his bike; my son had been reminded just about 10 minutes prior to the club that he wasn't to be riding the other boy's bike). Long story short, I walked over to where they were and brought my son home after having him inform the facilitator that he wouldn't be at club next week. I talked with him all the way home about responsibility, honesty, community, etc. He quietly went to bed early.
Today we had a family picnic at a local park with my daughter, grand-daughter, sister, and nieces. My son seemed relaxed and appeared to enjoy himself, though he knew he was grounded and had to spend most of the time sitting at the picnic table. My youngest niece frequently kept him company with her new puppy. Afterwards, we ran errands and had supper then my son cleaned up the kitchen and we got a few things ready out in the yard because we were having friends over in the evening. Once they arrived, my son spent his time doing chalk art on the driveway, snacking, then filled water balloons and announced, "Hey, I have a fun game. How about if I give everyone water balloons and then you can throw them at me?" One of the women took him up on his offer. He was thrilled. He went to bed after 10 tonight, over an hour later than he is usually able to keep himself awake.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.