Friday, October 28, 2011

Every Autism Parent's Nemesis... "Oh no! Not the mother f---ing patient history form!!"









(originally written & published on October 28, 2011) 




The doctor visit intake form. How many doctor visits have we put off because we didn't want to fill out the intake form?  

You know the form that most doctors associated with ASD in any way want you to fill out explaining your child's ENTIRE history.

And not the good history, no the history of all the painful medical moments in your child's life or the milestones they didn't hit.

You all probably know that Kyle holds his breath CONSTANTLY. I mean like all day long. He takes a deep breath, protrudes out his belly and holds it for as long as he can. Then exhales and does it again. All day long. You can read more about this here.

Anyway, Kyle's pediatrician is at a loss as to what to do about this. We've ruled out most things medical and we all feel that it's most likely behavioral.

But just for the hell of it, Kyles dr referred us to a neurologist who specializes in Retts Syndrome. No, no one thinks that Kyle has Retts, but kids with Retts are known to hold their breath alot, to the point of passing out. (Kyle has passed out for a few seconds a few times)

Anyway, we live in the NYC Metro area so many of the doctors that we are referred to are some of the best doctors in their field and we should be honored to have an appointment with them and be in their presence. (can you note my sarcasm)

And we've some of these high profile docs before, many have awful bedside manner and usually send us on a wild goose chase of MRIs or something.









But we'd figured we'd go see this doc, see what she had to say, and if she recommended anything we'd hesitate before doing something that involved really bothering Kyle (like having to knock him out for some test).

So my wife calls to make the appointment and to stress how severe Kyle is and how we can't wait in the waiting room for more than 15 minutes (like she does with all docs). The woman on the phone says fine but I'm gonna email you 3 forms you need to fill out before I can even schedule your appointment. One is for all our info: names, address, phone, insurance info and the other is a patient history form.

Oh no the mother f--king patient history form!!  Another patient history form.

I print out the 14(!) page form and look at all the usual normal questions. When did he crawl, when did he walk, etc, etc, and then come all the painful questions. What was the pregnancy like, did you get a epidural at birth (yes), did he have any antibiotics right after birth  (yes cuz they thought he had an infection), did he have alot of ear infections as a kid (yes), was he on antibiotics for the ear infections (yes, amoxicillin). Meanwhile no one has ever said that any of this has anything to do with autism, but you start freaking out, why are they not asking, what are they not telling me.  Was I supposed to refuse antibiotics at the hospital after birth?  How was I supposed to know that?

And then the form goes on to ask more about your ask child.  When did he start talking & when did he regress?  Does he do this?  Does he do that?  And this part makes me realize how far behind even in the ASD world my kid is.









Then they usually ask for a complete food diary for a week and buried in there are always some new red flags.  In this form lots of questions about dairy intake and how much calcium you think your child gets on a daily basis.  Why are they asking this?  Should he be getting more calcium or less?

And then they always want to know what kind of services your child gets.  Give us a weekly breakdown of services & therapies in school & out of school.  Why does a medical dr need to know this?  How is this gonna help her help Kyle with his holding breath issues.

So we must've filled out forms like this over a dozen times over the past 6+ years and it's always painful for the wife and me and we put it off until the 11th hour.  I've said I should just write up my own history form and just send that, but there's always new questions and they always want it in their format for their records.

So at the 11th hour, 3-4 days before the appointment we will stay up til 1am and complete the form and email it to the doctor.  And then we get to the appointment and get in to the doctors office and the doctor, the expert in his field, is obviously too busy to read that document that we spent hours working on... so he proceeds to start asking us the same f--king questions!  in the office!  with Kyle bouncing off the walls!  "What was your delivery like?"  It's all in your f--king notes!  And what does that have to do with today.  Maybe that info, keeping the data of all the kids who had amoxycillin after birth will help some future generation, but while my kid is here in this room, evaluate him, check him out and tell us if you can help us.

"Well I don't think it's _____ but let's do a ______ just to make sure..." is almost always what comes out of it.

That's all I've got.  I'm gonna end it here... just know that the wife and I will be slowly making our way through another one of these history forms this weekend so I can email it to the doctor's office on Monday so they can NEVER read it...

:-)

THE END




-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!





Who Should Clean The Dirty Dishes??




(originally written & published on October 28, 2011)


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Earlier today on my Autism Daddy Facebook Page I posted this picture of a sink load of dirty dishes...




And I wrote this caption underneath the pic

"Our dishwasher has been broken for a few months. This one is not Kyle's fault. :-) But we haven't lined up a Sat or Sun afternoon sitter so we can go dishwasher shopping without Kyle. So by Thur or Fri of each week this is what our sink looks like. :-)"

There were tons of the usual funny comments by you all. Great stuff as always.  Then later on in the thread I wrote this...

"It's a vicious cycle. If the wife doesn't cook I'm happy cuz we are eating frozen pizza or nuggets on paper plates and there's no dishes to do, but she's not happy cuz we are eating unhealthy processes food. When she cooks she's happy and I'm miserable cuz she somehow cooks with EVERY pan and dish in the house...  We kinda have a loose "one cooks, the other cleans" policy in our house... but the policy has been blown without the dishwasher. Sometimes it's like we are playing a game of chicken to see who's gonna get fed up with the pile first and start digging in and washing. I'll try to squeeze a good 15 minutes in before I leave for work today but that won't even make a dent..."

Later down the thread an autism mom named Erin wrote this...

"And plz don't take this the wrong way but you work 40 hrs week & kyle goes to school, right? I would make my wife clean those dishes! Believe me I know it is a full time job just to clean up after the king & it takes a superwomen to deal w/ what she deals with but the cleanliness will help her get a clear head & make her feel better all around."

And further down the thread Erin added...

" but please know my house gets trashed all the time and I don't mean to ruffle any feathers. I just know my husband would tell me (in a nice & loving way) to clean up and wheres my pot pie?! J/J LOL! No, really it does help me keep my mind clear in this haze of worry & stress I have about my son to keep things picked up. It takes EVERYTHING I have to pick up b4 my husband gets home from work and I do have a dishwasher. Also, it doesn't always get done. I may have overstepped by posting what I did. I'm sorry if I offended anyone."

Which brings me to today's controversial topic of the day...   :-)

What do you all the married moms think of this?  Because you are the mom are the dirty dishes automatically your job?    And if you are a stay at home mom does that make the dishes your responsibly by default?

I'm sure it's different for each family dynamic.  So here's my take on all this.



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Having a sink full of dirty dishes for me & my wife has nothing to do with having a son with autism.  We were messy before Kyle & now we are even messier with Kyle in our lives.

And yes, my wife is a stay at home mom, but the idea that "the cleanliness will help her get a clear head & make her feel better all around" is not the case with her.  While Kyle is in school she has about 5 hours to herself (between dropping him off & picking him up) and what makes her get a clear head & feel better all around changes all the time...but it's never doing the dishes :-).  Right now it's going to the gym and planning her 25th High School Reunion.  Those are the two things right now that make her feel better all around and I totally support that.  A happy mommy is a GREAT thing for me & Kyle.

And for the husbands that work 40 hours a week.... c'mon unless your job entails alot of manual labor, or your a cop, firefigter, teacher :-) let's all admit that work aint that hard compared to being home rasising our special kids.   When I complain about my job or that I'm tired my wife always says "You're sitting in an office for 8 hours, having adult conversations, going to meetings, going out to lunch with other adults.   Do you wanna trade with me?  I'll go back to work."   

And she's right.  I would not want to trade with her.  I love my son, but I would not want to trade with her.  I sometimes hate my job, but I would not want to trade with her. 

So if she chooses the gym over the dishes...I say who the F cares??  Not me... until they start spilling over or until the ants arrive...  :-)


 THE END


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If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to http://www.amazon.com/?tag=a050ef-20?  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Move Along, Nothing To See Here..."


UPDATED ON 11/11/12
I PUT A FEW PICS OF ME, WIFEY, AND KING KYLE... MAYBE YOU'LL BE ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES TO GET A PEEK AT US BEFORE I PULL THEM DOWN.  
GO TO

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.43248901440.105858.100001655985278&type=3

AND SEE IF THEY'RE STILL UP AND SHHHH... KEEP THE SECRET...

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UPDATED ON 1/29/12
4000 PEOPLE!!  I made a promise on my Autism Daddy Facebook Page that when I reached 4000 followers I'd put up a picture of Kyle and me....  for a very limited window....

And earlier today I went over 4000 "likes"...

So here we are...  the folks behind the curtain...

This photo will self destruct in a few hours...and MAY reappear when we reach 5000 "likes"

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UPDATED ON 1/1/12 --
Happy New Year!  And thanks for getting me to 3000 likes on my Autism Daddy Facebook Page.  I made a promise on my Facebook page that when I reached 3000 followers I'd put up a picture of Kyle and me....  for a very limited window....

And last night we went over 3000 "likes"...

So here we are...  the folks behind the curtain...

This photo will self destruct in a few hours...and will reappear when we reach 4000 "likes"


TOO LATE!!  THIS PIC WAS UP FOR OVER 12 HOURS...  :-)
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ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/26/11
I made a promise on my Facebook page that if I reached 2012 fans before January 1, 2012, that I'd put up a picture of Kyle and me....  for a very limited window....

And last night we went over 2012 "likes" with over 2 months to spare...

So here we are...  the folks behind the curtain...

This photo will self destruct in 1-2 hours...and will reappear when we reach 3000 "likes"


TOO LATE!  THIS PIC WAS UP FOR 3 HOURS...  TRY AGAIN SOON :-)



If you don't follow my Facebook page, you should!  That's where the majority of the action is :-)

You can find it at www.facebook.com/autismdaddy 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Autism Daddy Origin Story :-)




(originally published in October 2011 on the 6 month anniversary of my FB page)



It was in mid October 2010 that I was feeling down in the dumps and frustrated.  And good ol' Facebook just wasn't keeping me as entertained as it did for the first 2 years on was on there.  I was frustrated and a little depressed about Kyle and our lifestyle, and I went around my house and snapped pictures of how our lives are different than the typical family.  I took 11 pictures and put them up on my regular Facebook page in an album entitled, "Pics Of An Autism Lifestyle".  I hoped that they would be somewhat comical and somewhat eye-opening to our non-autism FB friends and somewhat familiar to our few autism friends who are also on FB.  They were up for less than an hour when my wife texted me angrily saying to take them down.  When I texted back "why?" I got an angry phone call explaining that those pics were too personal, and we didn't need EVERYONE in our Facebook lives (grade school friends, HS friends, work friends, etc, etc) knowing that kyle is still in pull-ups, or that he takes senokot each night, or how messy our house is, etc, etc.

I knew she was right, so I took them down, but deep down I knew I wanted someone to see them and to get something out of them.  So on October 19, 2010 I started an anonymous Facebook Page called "Severe Autism Dad".  Some guy had beat me to the name "Autism Dad" by less than a week!  And I wanted to call the page "Severe Autism Dad" because I wanted people to know where the page was coming from just by seeing the title.  I put up the photo album, still called "Pics Of An Autism Lifestyle" and then I never returned to the page for almost 6 months...

Then in mid-April 2011 I was freaking out because Kyle had his first cavity and needed to go in under general anesthesia in a hospital setting and I was getting pre-treatment estimates from his dentist that the whole thing would cost over $2000 out of pocket.  I posted questions on the Autism Speaks wall among a few other FB Autism pages seeking advice.  And then I thought, I wonder if "Severe Autism Daddy" has any more followers.  I checked and the photo album was still there and there was maybe 7-8 people following the page.

On April 16, 2011 I posted something about his dental work.  A few days later I changed the name from "Severe Autism Dad" to the much sweeter and cuddlier "Autism Daddy" because I thought nobody would like a page with such a weird/ negative name and the rest is history!! 

And then every day since then I've posted everything about my life with Kyle.  For the first few months even my wife didn't know about the site.  Then one day I didn't log off properly and she found out.  She's cool with it for the most part, except when my posting & blogging gets in the way of my daddy duties, which she's right about.  That would defeat the purpose of this whole page, if writing about autism got in the way of hanging with my kid with autism, right?  :-)  But here's a little secret....   my wife is an Autism Daddy fan & follower and very once in a while will post a comment here and there.

Anyway, when I started this page in April 2011, I never knew exactly what I wanted this page to be.  I just knew that I could never find an autism FB page where people complained and bitched and moaned about what a raw deal this autism was.  I wanted to create a place where complaining was ok, telling people that this all sucks was ok.  I've always tried to keep it real.

And it's steadily grown from nobody in mid-October 2010 to 7-8 people in mid-April 2011 to over 1800 people now.  1800 people in so many different countries!!  It blows my mind to think that there's people in UK, Australia, South Africa, etc reading my stories and finding some common ground with some middle aged dad from New york.

And for the most part I am having a BLAST!  I'm enjoying ranting and raging to you all.  I'm enjoying once in awhile giving some people some real advice (handicap placards for autism) but for the most part making some people laugh and making some people cry.  It gives me no greater pleasure when I read somebody comment that they got a chuckle out of something I wrote, or that my page is their favorite autism page, or they are happy that there's somebody out there going through the same thing that they are going through.  

And just like life with Kyle is a roller coaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, so is this page.  During the summer of 2011, when Kyle was having multiple meltdowns/ tantrums each day this page got kinda dark.  I didn't have much positive or even humorous stuff to say.  A few of you even posted things to the fact of "do you have any good things to say about Kyle?" but that's just where my life was then.

And now that Kyle is happy in school, and his meds seem to be kicking in and working and now that the potty training is going so well, this page has had more of a positive spin to it.  It's still not mushy or ultra religious cuz that's not me....

However, I wouldn't be Autism Daddy if I didn't admit that there's some days that you all make me want to cry and/or scream.  There's some days where the last thing I want to do is update you all on something.  And there's some days that having the "responsibility" of this page makes me depressed and/ or adds stress to my life.  And there's some days when reading about your kid's things (good or bad) can put me in a funk for a few hours.

And when I post something just to be humorous and / or just to keep you all  the loop on something, and one of you posts some piece of advice or recommends some treatment that we've tried already, I must admit that it sometimes pisses me off.  And I'm often tempted to write something.  And then I stop and say that's their journey.  And if I can find one useful nugget of info in all of this it will be worth it.  And I also have to remember that we've got new people joining all the time, so when someone asks "how old is kyle?" or "you should try the gfcf diet" i feel so close to you all I'm usually thinking "How can they not know that?  It's written right there in the info and in that note there and there."

Anyway, as usual I'm rambling on and on and on...  So let me stop here and say that I hope you're enjoying reading this page as much as I've enjoyed writing it.  And now that there's 1800 of you, I may not remember all of your stories, but when I see your faces pop up I get a flash memory of your stories and your kids-- a single mom of a teenage kid there, a city family here, a country family there, an army family here, a single dad there, an aspie kid here, a severe kid there, etc, etc., etc.....


PS--  If you want to read some of my early FB posts, check out the blog post entitled "Autism Daddy's Greatest Hits..."

THE END


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If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the link above?  This way I can make a little money.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!




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Friday, October 14, 2011

18 Things About Me, Autism Daddy... :-)


Anyone remember back in late 2008/ early 2009 when everyone on Facebook was writing their "25 THINGS" lists?

These were lists of 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.  You tagged a bunch of friends, they read it, and then they wrote their own.

Well anyway, I stumbled across mine today and thought y'all might be interested in reading my top 18...

Enjoy...

Here goes in no particular order...

1) I am not your typical guy. I am not handy or mechanically inclined at all & it doesn’t really bother me in the least. Also I would much rather sit & watch tv then mow the lawn & I don’t care if I have the worst lawn on the block. What kind of man am I?

2) I love listening to Howard Stern on the way to & from work and the thought of him retiring in a few years gets me depressed. However, I don’t have satellite radio. I download Howard illegally thru bittorrnet into my ipod

3) I have a mental block sometimes that prevents me from getting simple things done like paying the water bill or changing the lightbulb in the basement. That mental block will be a recurring theme here

4) Some friends & I got in trouble in the 4th grade for re-enacting the attempted assassination of President Reagan in the school yard during recess. I was the ringleader who brought in the toy machine gun.

5) I am the only person in my family that doesn’t speak Italian. Growing up my parents spoke it when they didn’t want us to know what they were saying. My sister wanted to figure it out, I didn’t care. She speaks it fluently. I took it for 3 years in HS and barely passed the Regents exam & lost it all the next day. This also has to do with the mental block referred to at #3, I just don’t have a knack for learning foreign languages.

6) My dad has Parkinson’s disease and his dad had it too. I am often fearful that it’s coming my way. It is hereditary and there’s literally nothing I can do to improve my chances.

7) I am hopelessly addicted to television & am proud to own the 1st generation TIVO. My wife bought it for me for Christmas in 1999 and we haven’t watched a live program or a commercial since.

8) I picked up running in 2002 when my Dr. told me my cholesterol was 293 and he wanted to put me on medication. Now 9 years & 14 marathons later my cholesterol is still high, but I am hooked on running. I have a lofty goal of running a marathon in every state. I have 8 states down & 42 to go!!

9) I met my future wife in sophomore year of HS. We became friends and we hung in the same circle for years, but never dated. She was too cool for me. Until one day, years later, after college, at a bar, after a lot of drinks, she asked me out. The rest was history. Love ya baby :-)

10) I missed my first ever college exam freshman year because I did shots of Yukon Jack the nite before and slept thru the class. That was the last time I ever drank Yukon Jack, but not the last time I slept thru a class :-)

11) I was in the drama club in grade school (Tin Man in Wizard of Oz & the Prince in Cinderella :-), I was in the drams club in HS (too many plays to mention here), but I chickened out on my drama audition in college... something I regret to this day.

12) When I was a teenager I could recite verbatim all the lines to The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, History of the World Part 1, The Shining, among many others. Can you tell I was a child of the 80's? The one I knew the best though was Return of the Jedi including the lines by Jabba the Hut :-)

13) I once thought about being a stand-up comic. After college I even attended a free lesson at Caroline’s Comedy Club in NYC, but I chickened out when I saw how awful & embarrassing the other beginners were. Something else I regret

14) I am very lazy and messy. I can also be quite the procrastinator. However, I do my best work at the 11th hour when my back is against the wall. I was the king of the all-nighters in college & it’s spilled over into my career. I am currently reading a book called “A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder” which is making me feel better about myself.

15) In my life I have fractured my ankle, I’ve broken my thumb, I’ve had third degree burns on my hand, and I’ve had 4 stitches in my neck. Each of these incidents will be detailed further in my next list of 25. So far, however, I have never spent a nite in a hospital bed (knock on wood).


16) I graduated college in 1992 & haven’t taken a class or a course since, but every once in a while, on a Sunday nite I’ll get that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach that I have a paper due on Monday and I haven’t started it. This gels nicely with my procrastination in # 15

17) I am not athletically inclined. So when I was a kid I didn’t want to play baseball, I wanted to be a NY Yankee announcer. I wanted to be Phil Rizzuto. Holy Cow!

18) I am completely & utterly addicted to Facebook and it may be affecting my marriage... gotta go kiss the wife... bye!


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Autism Friendly Performance of The Lion King on Broadway -- My Review? No, My Timeline


Ok, so an many of you know Kyle along with me & the wife and his autism service dog Paula went to see the first ever autism-friendly performance of a Broadway play last Sunday when we saw The Lion King.  This was sponsored by the Theater Development Fund (TDF).   I’m not going to review the play.  It was awesome.  I’m not even going to review the experience.  You can read about the experience in this NY Times piece and this NY Times piece, you can read about another parents experience/ review here (she is a much better writer than me :-) and you can see a video story on the experience in this NBC Nightly News piece

What I’m going to give you is a blow by blow timeline of the 18 hours of our lives before, during and after the play.  I don’t know why anybody would want to read this, but I felt like writing it, so here goes…


Saturday 11pm
I read an email from the TDF folks who are putting on this special performance warning me that there's a bunch of events going on in Manhattan tomorrow that may affect traffic/ driving to the theater and recommending I take a train into Manhattan.

I do my own Internet research and realize that we are F-CKED.   The MS bike tour is going on ALL around Manhattan and all the main highways will be closed. That along with a bunch of street festivals including a polish (Pulaski?) parade put me into full panic attack mode.  Why?  Because Kyle’s never been on a train...and the wife hasn't been on a NYC train or subway since before 9/11/01.

So if going to a Broadway play with Kyle and service  dog for the first time ever isn't stressful enough now let's add in his first train ride??!!

Saturday 11:30pm
I wake the wife up out of a deep sleep to drag her into my misery about the traffic vs. train. She's freaked out about the train. I'm freaked out about the potential for being stuck in HOURS of traffic.  We go to sleep arguing with each other with no decision made.  And we're both cursing the TDF and the Lion King people. "They must've known. That's why they were so willing to give up a performance.  They knew they couldn’t sell it out because of these events so they said let's give it to the autistic kids..."

(of course they had no idea when they planned this months before.  but at 11:30pm on a Saturday night mom & dad were blaming everyone!  :-)

Sunday 7:30am
Kyle wakes up and therefore so do we.  I declare to the wife that we will roll the dice and attempt to drive only because I know my way around Manhattan and I know lots of short cuts and secret ways to go.  But I say to the wife, the show starts at 1pm, "we MUST leave here by 10am at the latest" (but in my head I'm thinking 10:30 :-)  "If for some amazing reason we get there really early we'll go out to breakfast or something." (You should know that on a good day it takes about 45-60 minutes to get from my house to Times Square and I'm giving us 2 1/2 hours to get there on this "gridlock alert" day

Sunday 7:30-10:19am
We proceed to all shower, get ready, and pack a boatload of snacks for Kyle.  I’m mapping out my secret driving route and listening to traffic reports all morning saying "avoid driving into Manhattan at all costs."  We are also in the middle of intense potty training, taking Kyle every 20 minutes and making him wear underwear, not pull-ups.  We bring a few extra sets of clothes for Kyle as well and at the last minute we decide to give ourselves a break and put Kyle in a pull-up before we leave the house.  So if he has an accident at a Broadway theater it won't ruin our day. 

Sunday 10:19am
Wife, Kyle, autism service dog Paula, and I all pack into our minivan (along with a bag for the theater, a bag for the car, a garbage bag for pee-pee clothes just in case, books, toys,  etc., etc.) and prepare for a 2+ hour drive to Manhattan... And we proceed to get there in 51 minutes.  My route was BRILLIANT!  And we somehow avoided ALL the madness.

Sunday 11:00am
So we are driving in the Times Square area and I had also done research on the best/cheapest/ closest parking lots to the Lion King theater and I'm looking to make a right on w45th street and we realize that you can't drive past W47th street anymore because Mayor Bloomberg made all of Times Square one of those stupid pedestrian only zones with tables and chairs.  (real New Yorkers hate that sh-t!). Just as I'm cursing Mayor Bloomberg out of the corner of my eye, I see a parking spot on the street in Times Square!  "you were never allowed to park over here before?!"I triple check the street signs and wouldn't you know it, it's an honest to goodness legitimate parking spot in Times Square and on Sundays it's absolutely FREE!!  "Thanks Mayor Bloomberg!"

Sunday 11:00- 11:30am
So now we've got 2 hours to kill in Times Square.  Kyle hasn't been to the potty in about an hour so we stop in a Starbucks to use the bathroom. We get a table in the back by the restrooms. Mommy sets up a bunch of snacks and i take Kyle to the bathroom.  He's dry. (now remember we put him in a pull-up just for today)  Big praise.  "Good job staying dry, buddy!  Do you have to go pee-pee?  Or do you need to sit down and do cockie?". Before I even finish those sentences he's pulling up his pants by himself and wants to leave the bathroom.  "Ok, I guess you don’t need to go.  Good job pulling up your pants! Let's wash hands and go have some snacks..."
We head out to the table, I attach him to the dog, and as usual Kyle's got no appetite and doesn't want to eat anything and just like at home when he's strapped in his seat at the dinner table, he's grabbing my hand to detach him from Paula and I'm saying "no Kyle you've got to eat something, you barely ate any breakfast” and I look down and he's peeing thru his pants....  WTF?!  I just took him, not 5 minutes before and he’s got a pull-up on.  How did he soak his pants?  Here’s why I think he did.  (1) Due to the potty training he’s learning to hold it all instead of piddling a little here and a little there.  So he saves it all into one GIANT pee and (2) he pulled his own pull-up on and I didn’t check it carefully so he must’ve pulled it up all half-assed… and therefore his pants are soaked. 

Thankfully mommy had clothing change #1 in the backpack and I take him back into the Starbucks bathroom  and take off his soaked pants and socks (socks? WTF?) and put on a fresh pair and we move on with our day…

Sunday 11:30am-12:30pm
So Starbucks is kinda a bust but the weather is GORGEOUS so we decide to walk thru the Times Square area.  Kyle always loves being in NYC and looking up at all the stuff.   We walk thru that new pedestrian area that I was cursing earlier and find a table with 3 chairs. 

And the 3 of us lifelong New Yorkers sit like tourists in Times Square… and it was GLORIOUS.  Then Mommy says “oooh there’s a McDonalds across the street.  You guys wait here and I’ll get Kyle nuggets, fries and a milkshake.  Well this time the timing was right and the appetite was there because that kid ate almost everything and was really enjoying his shake…until our specially trained autism service dog saw another regular dog and our girl jumped up spilling Kyle’s shake.  “Bad dog!”  See, service dogs aren’t perfect…  :-)

Sunday 12:30pm- 1:03pm
We walk to the Minskoff Theater where the Lion King is playing and now we are in our element.  Tons of kids on the spectrum, tons of volunteers in bright yellow shirts with PECS pictures strapped to their waists.  We take another bathroom break.  He’s dry.  And then we find our seats at the back of the Orchestra level.  I had purposefully got us aisle seats.  We all get settled in.  Kyle in the middle.  Mom & dad on either side, snacks ready to dispense to Kyle.

Sunday 1:03pm- 3:55pm
Ok so the play starts at 1:03pm, 3 minutes late. That didn't bother us or Kyle but I'm sure there were other ASD kids who noticed that it didn't start on time. :-)

The play itself?  It's great!  It's the Lion King on Broadway.  What’s not to like?  I've seen it before and it's beautiful and I didn't notice anything different about this performance... On the stage.    Big difference in the audience!  Lol. Lots of talking, yelling, stimming, etc. 

I recorded some audio of what the audience sounded like.  You can listen to it here.

Did Kyle like the play?  He liked some of it. He had a hard time about 1/2 way thru the first act. He wanted out of there. And he let us know that by kicking the chair in front of him and trying to grab the man’s head in front of him.

And in most situations that would mortify us. Of course, we apologized, but this time the man, a dad to a teenage asd boy sitting next to him said "no problem, we’ve been there" and we knew he meant it.

By the way, his kid, the ASD kid in front of us was having a BLAST!  It was obvious that he knew the lion king music and every time he  heard a song he knew he would LIGHT UP and sign something to his dad to the effect of "I know this song!" and the dad would smile back and nod "yep!"

Anyway after he almost hit the nice dad we left our seats (which you would NORMALLY would never do at a Bway play) and were immediately met by a volunteer who escorted us out of the theater and to one of the "quiet areas" they had set up with chairs, toys, coloring pages, etc.   Very Nice Touch. They also had the play viewable on monitors.  There were numerous families out there and there seemed to be no pressure or stress from the parents that their kids were missing the show.   It was a vibe like, my kid needs a break, we'll sit out here til he's ready to go back in.  Kyle wanted no part of the “quiet areas” he plopped himself in front of a big window that overlooked Times Square and just looked out at Manhattan… and so did we…  About  15 minutes later we went back in and caught the rest of the first act. 
Took another potty break during the intermission.  And the second act he made it all the way thru without having to leave the theater.  Did he love it?  Was it life changing?  No… but Kyle seemed to enjoy a some of the songs.  There was one point when he was being particularly loud / verbally stimmy.  (Normally at home we are fine with this.  It’s nice to hear his voice sometimes.)  And he wasn’t the only kid being loud… but he was being pretty darn loud in the orchestra of a Broadway show.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a volunteer starting to walk towards our row and I’m thinking  that they are going to ask us to try to keep Kyle a bit quieter.  The volunteer whispers something into my wife’s ear and then hands her something.  I’m like, “What’s that?  What did she say” and my wife hands me a small sensory ball and said “she asked if Kyle would like a sensory toy.”       NICE TOUCH!

Sunday 3:55-5:00pm
The play ends around 3:55pm.  Probably the strangest standing ovation these actors have ever gotten.  J  And I’m still on HIGH TRAFFIC alert.  The wife’s trying to convince me to stay in Manhattan and doing something else while we are here.  And I’m always like “quit while we are ahead” plus we got lucky on the way in but we could hit major traffic on the way home. 
So we get to our car, in our amazing parking spot.  It’s still there…with no parking tickets on it…  And I proceed to drive home my “secret” way and again I get home in no time. 
We get home by 5pm and realize that we are EXHAUSTED, but Kyle is up and has 4 hours to go til bedtime.   “What do we do now???”  Maybe we should’ve stayed in Manhattan!
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That's the end of my bizarre timeline.  Hope you enjoyed reading it. 
All in all, it was a very nice experience.  Everyone in the theater seemed to have a good time.  You heard a lot of stimming but you didn’t hear a lot of meltdowns.  And as parents it was GLORIOUS to be in a warm environment where anything goes.  Instead of a strange look when your kid is being loud, or kicking the seat… you got lots of warm smiles and knowing nods from parents who are just like you. 

This whole experience got me thinking what other parts of our lives could benefit from an “autism friendly” makeover?   They already have autism friendly movie screenings… How about autism friendly restaurant seating’s , or autism friendly flights, or autism friendly supermarket times… just a time of the day where ONLY asd kids and their parents are welcome, none of those TYPICAL families….   :-)  I’m only kidding…but a guy can dream can’t he?  Just kidding again… Or am I? 

THE END!!

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