After ten days of backed-up chores, I am happy to announce that Chef did a turnaround. He caught up on his previous chores, did his present chores, and surprised me with a kiss on the cheek and some lilacs that he'd picked! When asked why he was suddenly doing his chores, he said he was tired of seeing everything pile up and he didn't want everything to pile up more.
Since then, Chef has been doing his chores and helping with some extra family projects. He is also cleaning up messes he's made (with prompting but without acting out even though he appears frustrated/sad at the time) and is once again a positively-participating and contributing family member.
There was a time when it was anybody's guess as to what may have been bothering Chef on any given day when "behaviour" was the bulk of Chef's communication regarding how he was feeling. There was also a delay in how he responded to stress.
Lately, however, Chef has been frequently talking about his EA leaving for Africa sometime next year. He's also asked about which music festivals/ activities we might take part in this summer. AND, Chef recently stated that one of the reasons he doesn't like taking his meds is because he feels a bit dizzy around mid-morning when he takes his meds. Progress. Self-awareness. Communication.
It feels good to have days when the focus just needs to be on prompts and reminders and communication skills and developing lifeskills. And it feels wonderful to see Chef continuing to grow and develop.
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.