June 6, 2011
Chef's bedroom is fairly empty
Right now, it contains a computer desk (which is slowly being taken apart), a mattress, what is left of the bench from when the piano keyboard was in Chef's room, an upholstered armchair, and a laminated map which Chef keeps on the floor beside his mattress.
After years of continuing to attempt to create a nice space for Chef and then attempting to help Chef create a nice space only to have numerous items just not last very long within those four walls, Chef stated that he feels better with nothing in his room. Kudos for self-awareness and communication.
Books in the bedroom are a bit of a tricky area though. We have tons of books, and Chef is a great reader. But books in the bedroom are a different creature - they've kept Chef up at night making it nearly impossible for him to function the next day, they've woken others in the night when they've dropped onto the floor, they've had pages torn out and turned into teeny bits of paper ball lined up along the bedroom baseboards or made into spitballs to decorate the bedroom ceiling or turned into paper airplanes and flown out the bedroom window (years ago, some even had notes written on them, something to the effect of, "Please help! My mother has been in the hospital for weeks and I have been here by myself. Please go to shoppers and get me cereal and chips. If you don't do this, imagine how you are making someone feel"), and there have been times when books have been the reason that Chef seems "off" on an occasional evening.
For all those reasons and then some, Chef does presently have limited access to books. Magazines can be in the bedroom anytime at all as long as they are magazines that belong to Chef. Books, however, are not to be in his bedroom unless they are his own or he has asked permission to borrow someone else's book, and they can only be in his bedroom during certain times - anytime (free time) on the weekend as long as they are brought back downstairs before going to bed Sunday night, and anytime (free time) during the week as long as they are brought back downstairs before bedtime.
The exception: no sneaking/hiding books upstairs. As mentioned earlier, there have been times that Chef has seemed "off" during an evening/afternoon and it has later been discovered that his goal was to be sent to his room so he could read. Reading as a goal? Awesome. Trying to get sent to your room? Not cool. Such was the case today. Six books tucked into the ripped lining on the underside of the armchair. So we chatted. The lining and the books have been removed. Chef is in bed. Tomorrow is a new day.
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.