By now, everyone knows that I have children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. I personally see them as more than their Autism. Through my lens, they are beautiful, and I love to learn more about my boys every day.
Julian has the cutest cheek bones. They make his smile contagious. If you hear THUD! THUD!, that’s Julian kicking a wall. If you see a diaper or food smashed into the floor, you will know that Julian was there.
Julian’s favorite thing to do is to play with a tablet. Let me correct myself. Julian’s favorite thing to do is to play with multiple tablets at once. Every time he gets really excited, he lets out this ear-piercing scream. Joshua will sometimes watch what Julian is watching on one of his many occupied tablets, but Julian doesn’t like that. Julian does not want an audience while he is controlling up to three tablets at once. He will become agitated, and sometimes it’s best to watch out.
Julian also doesn’t like to wear anything. I feel like I waste money buying diapers, but I also don’t like when he marks the floor. Speaking of “marks”, whenever Julian gets ahold of a writing utensil, it’s over for the walls.
Julian walks on his tiptoes whenever he isn’t wearing shoes. His calves are sculpted! While Julian doesn’t verbally communicate, he will be quick to hand over his cup when he is thirsty. He also knows that he is going somewhere if we put his shoes on his feet. He will fight us if we get him dressed, but all is well when the shoes are put on.
On a bad day, Julian wants to be by himself. Sometimes he will hide under his bed or in a corner. Sometimes he cries for some inexplicable reason, and refuses consolation. We leave him to cry it out, and it hurts.
Julian is an extremely picky eater. He enjoys pizza and chicken nuggets. He only sits at the table long enough to see what is on his plate. Then, he will take whatever he likes and run. If you leave a cup, bottle, or can lying around, he will snatch it up. Yes, he even tries to grab food and drinks from strangers in public.
Baths are no problem for him. Julian loves being in water. Having his teeth brushed is another story…..
Joshua is a really vibrant boy. If you hear STOMP! STOMP! across the floor, that’s Joshua running or hopping across the floor. If you see your fruit missing, you will know that Joshua was there.
One of Joshua’s favorite things to do is to play with his tablet. Joshua has a routine everyday after school. When he walks through the door, the first thing he does is run to my room to grab his tablet. Then, he finds Jessica’s baby blanket. I don’t know what it is, but Joshua loves that blanket. Maybe it’s the texture. His teacher has told me that he will not go to sleep without a blanket over his head. After Joshua has his blanket, he will go to the dryer to retrieve some lint to chew on. Lint is not the only thing that Joshua likes to chew. He will also chew the collar out of his clothes. I have tried to purchase sensory jewelry, but Joshua just prefers his clothes and lint. Even though he is home during the stay-at-home order, Joshua still practices these behaviors.
He loves to play songs by the Cocomelon and Super Simple Songs YouTube channels. When Joshua plays with his tablet, he will close the door, and slide the tablet halfway underneath the door. If the door is left opened, Joshua will slam it closed. Unfortunately, Julian might be on the other end of the door, ready to steal his tablet. Joshua has a hard time defending himself. Whenever something is taken from him, he will completely melt down instead of defending his territory.
Joshua can’t verbally communicate his thoughts, but if he doesn’t like a program on the television, he will unplug it. If you are doing something that he likes, he will grab your hand as a signal to “do it again”. When he gets excited, Joshua will make this motion with his hands. I can’t describe it, but it’s like he is kind of hitting his chest, over and over. He will also hop around like a frog.
When it’s time to eat, good luck getting Joshua to sit still. He will take a bite, then run around, before coming back for another bite. His favorite foods are fruit and pasta.
Like Julian, Joshua loves to jump off of high surfaces, such as tables and chairs. I’m so fearful for his ankles and knees. He doesn’t seem to be bothered though. Don’t leave a stack of anything around Joshua because he will tear it down.
Bath time is a sad time because Joshua often has to be talked through a bath. He hates being put in water. I’m not sure why, but he has always been this way. He does enjoy having his teeth brushed. Don’t try to pry Joshua’s mouth open, though. I swear that boy can bite through metal.
Joshua loves to sit in my lap. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, he will plop in my lap, and sometimes fall asleep. How can I say “no”?
In this home, we have to replace a television every 6 months. Between Joshua, and Julian, someone is bound to get excited, and either throw something at or hit the television.
Because of this, I buy very cheap, or used televisions for certain rooms. I could buy a tall TV stand, but Julian and Joshua have a history of knocking over tall structures. My pessimistic mind automatically goes to the worst case scenario.
One time, Donnie super glued the boys’ TV to their dresser, and they still managed to knock it over.
Going out can be a nightmare. The boys love to ride, so traveling is pretty smooth. What happens when we exit the car can either be easy or a nightmare.
When we go in a store, I will sit the boys either in a basket, or in their stroller. I try not to use the stroller as much because Joshua likes to drag his feet on the ground. I make sure that have tablets, milk, and a snack.
When we go to a restaurant, it is a nightmare. One day, we went out to eat as a family. We were on a vacation. Donnie and I let the kids play at a nearby playground before we ate. Despite our preparedness, Joshua and Julian were not having it. I don’t know if they were sleepy, or if the atmosphere was too much for them to handle. They both cried loudly and nothing would calm them.
I noticed that Julian kept throwing his kiddie crayons on the floor. I took him out of his booster seat and let him get down on the floor. He stopped crying. I did the same for Joshua. He too, stopped crying. They both laid on the floor and lined up their crayons.
I knew everyone was staring, but I didn’t care. I know it was gross to let my boys lay on the floor, but I wanted them to feel comfortable.
I was asked “What do you see for (Joshua’s/Julian’s) future?”. I don’t think I can answer that question because it seems selfish. Sometimes I do think of the real possibility that they may never be able to navigate life alone. This doesn’t mean that they won’t have a productive future. Maybe to Julian and Joshua, “productive” means beings able to communicate effectively.
My other kids are probably envisioning a future conspiracy to put me away in a home…..We’ll see how this goes.
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