Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Connecting with Matthew

As I see my son grow and make strides and have good days at school and at home I am very happy for him and so is Maria and grandma Terry. We look forward to hearing of his accomplishments and wish to acknowledge them and let our son know how proud we are. We are also concerned naturally when he encounters difficulties and he has on many occasions. Matthew is very focussed when he sets his mind to do something. He usually follows a routine and he seeks familiarity as change intimidates him and makes him upset. He reacts sometimes inappropriately and sometimes violently when something is not the way he wants it. This can be rather alarming at times because I am not always there to try and help him get through those moments and we are always concerned for him when he encounters these periods of difficulty. I try to relate to what he is going through and it is not so easy to understand the mindset of an autistic child. I do know that autistic children tend to need a lot of guidance and encouragement and trained coaching to change problem behavior and a lot of reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior.

Children on the autistic spectrum tend to be misunderstood and overlooked. They deserve to be given the same chances and opportunities that others have. My son has experienced difficulties with social integration and he opts more to be alone and do his own thing which is not always such a bad thing as I tended to be like that myself when I was young. I do however feel that it is also important that he participate with other boys and girls and make friendships and have fun learning and playing with others.

Matthew likes to do things that are familiar to him and requires organization. He particularly enjoys spending time on the computer working on his list of all the Walt Disney movies in an excel spreadsheet. He also likes to construct lists of all the episodes per season for Sponge Bob Square Pants, Jimmy Neuton and Fairly Odd Parents.

Another favorite activity Matthew enjoys is putting together puzzles of 50 - 250 pieces. He lays all the puzzle pieces on the floor and organizes them by color and shape and size and then he starts putting it together piece by piece.

Matthew always organizes our dvds in alphabetical order and he does it in perfect order and gets very upset if we mistakenly put a movie in the wrong order. He is extremely bright but refuses to be complimented or given praise. He actually gets very upset. He also has to be called Matty and if we or anyone for that matter calls him Matthew he gets very upset and shouts out "My name is Matty!" It can get frustrating at times and sometimes I just am not sure how to deal with it as he is consistent with this behavior and always makes it clear that he does not want to be called Matthew, his God given name. We also can not celebrate his birthday on the actual date which is December 8th because he gets very upset and agitated and we have to comply with his request of the date he chooses as his birthday. I don't quite understand his thinking in this regard but he seems to be adamant about it.

I try to make eye contact with my son and I have to be firm in my tone of voice for him to look at me. He has a real difficult time making eye contact and I also have to ask him to say hi to me. When I arrive home from work he does not acknowledge me as he seems to involved in his activities and too busy doing his own thing. I love my son and wished he was able to express himself and greet others properly. The things we take for granted seems to be very difficult to autistic children and just making simple eye contact seems very hard for my son and proper greetings of hello and goodbye.

I have learned to understand this about my son but still work with him on greeting mommy and daddy when we arrive from work. We are also working with him on being addressed by his proper name and explaining that he must remember that he must cooperate in this matter because not everyone will understand his reaction of acting out when they call upon him by his real name . It is a challenge and sometimes I am seeking advice and guidance. I truly wish to connect with my son and engage in meaningful conversation. I look forward to that and I am very patient and hopeful for my son's proper development and appropriate behavior.

My main focus is to connect with my son and let him know that mommy and daddy are here for him and will always be. He is our special child and we need to help him.

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Please feel free to read my writings and leave a kind message or suggestion. Thank you. Emily