Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Video time!

Breaking away from the history segments I've been taking you on of late with Maya and our early forays into the land of autism, I thought I'd give you something a tad more current. I have two little videos to share with you as well as a story about Maya from yesterday. Nothing spectacular, just some little cute things but they show the ways she (and Kurtis) are no different than other children in their own age range and yet, they will also show a little bit too of the differentiations that DO exist there as well.

First, here's a little video Maya's half-sister, Kate, better know here as the "sixteen-year-old," made with her little digital camera she got for Christmas. This was Maya back in February and I know that because I see the flowers sitting on the kitchen island that Mandy received from her Dad for her birthday and the other bouquet she got from Bill for Valentine's Day. I don't remember what "party" Kate may be referring to though -hard to say. But I just thought it was a really cute little clip and you can see from it when I talk about Maya and the way she frequently just "skips" through the house -and life, too. (If they ever do a remake of the Wizard of Oz, I'm betting she could pick up the dance that Dorothy and the Scarecrow and company do as they skip along the path to the Emerald City.)

And, here's yet another little video Kate made of Maya. On this one, Maya was playing with the little bitty ($10) camera I bought before Christmas to try to get myself kind of acclimated to digital cameras and such. It did work but not anything in the way of quality photos and Maya does love to play with it too so as long as it won't hurt her, what's the harm in letting her play with it then. She was definitely hamming it up for Kate on this video though, as you will see.

The next video is one I did yesterday of Kurtis. We just discovered on Sunday while up at my son's house that he is afraid of the grass! He also has a lot of trepidation when he walks on the sidewalks too. Yesterday, Mandy and the kids and I had taken them for a walk -each in a stroller although Maya usually would prefer to walk. However, when she saw Kurtis was riding, she insisted she had to ride too even though her feet would have been dragging on the ground if she hadn't kept them up on the foot thing the entire time. Such is the bull-headedness of children when there is also just a tad of jealousy creeping through, ya know. But, anyway, when we got back to the house, Maya wanted to run a bit in the yard and Mandy figured it would do Kurtis good to get accustomed more to being outside on the sidewalk, also maybe a little more exposure to the grass too. He just ran up and down the sidewalk though and before I did the video, he was very, very cautious, almost as if he knew that old children's line "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." as he would either stop completely or at least slow down at each crack in the sidewalk. Notice too, when he goes back up to the steps, the ritual he goes through of touching the post, then touching the step, before he turns and runs back towards me.

And, to give you a little idea of some of the things that go on around here, I've a story for you that happened just last evening.

Mandy had to go to a church council meeting but when she leaves the house for work or to go see her girlfriends or anything at all, if she leaves Maya behind, I am generally stuck with a child who is extremely sad, often very angry too at being left behind. The emotions that come through from Maya can be anything from soft crying, a little sobbing -even tears -to louder wailing, and can escalate to screaming, shrieking, kicking, stomping, throwing things -a full-fledged meltdown, can also take place. But throughout these events, she also intersperses her rants and wails with questions -or even commands. "Where Mommy go?" "Where'd the car go?" "I go to meening (meaning meeting, here) with Mommy." If you repeat these same questions over and over again for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, you will get the same sensation as I get when they start up.

Last night though, Mandy had been gone for at least 10 minutes before Maya realized she wasn't present and accounted for and then the crying and questions began - lasted for a good 45 minutes last night but at least they didn't go full-blown, nothing thrown, no massive tantrum. As she started to calm down a bit, I realized Kurtis needed some drastic attention as there were some really strong odors emanating from the little guy, so when I took him to the bathroom to change him, I got Maya to go along with me. Ok, for a child who refuses to use the commode for anything other than to "put her water in there." she does have a strong fascination with what things other people put in there so when I dumped Kurtis' little package into the water, she was right there, studying it very closely and telling me all about it then too. And then she started her own series of questions for me.

Maya: "How you spell poop?"
Gram: "P.O.O. P."
Maya: "How you spell poopie?"
Gram: "P.O.O.P.I.E."
Maya: "Where's the 'ess'?"
Gram: "What?"
Maya: "Where's the 'ess' sound?"
Gram: "Tell me what you mean?"
Maya: "How you spell Poopies?"
Gram: "Oh, ok. P.O.O.P.I.E.S."

Then a few minutes later, back in the living room, she started telling me that we needed to go someplace and in a half-whine, half-crying voice, insisting "We go inna van to grocey store?"
Gram: "No, Maya. We aren't going anyplace tonight."
Maya: "Yes, yes! We go store, inna van!"
Gram: "NO! Maya. NO! Not tonight!"
At this point, Maya came over to me, puts her right hand on my left thigh and says:
"We go to grocey store now, inna van. Okay, Honey?" And with the last two words, she leans down and looks directly up into my face as she she says the "Okay, Honey?"

I don't think I have to tell you I lost it -laughing like crazy at her insistence and also, her manipulative mannerisms there too!

Just another day in the life of a child on the spectrum -but much of this could also be titled as just another day of life with a typical four-year-old too as the meltdown issue and the repetition of the questions are really the only things that I think would earmark this episode as being typical for a child with autism in that age range.

Now pray for a nice sunny day, not too warm -just comfortable -no rain, please -for Saturday, April 12th when our team "WE ARE for Kurt and Maya" will be participating in the Penn State Autism Speaks Walk/Race! It's not too late either, you can always come join us Saturday and register at the site in front of the Borough Building in State College -just down from the corner of Allen and Beaver Avenues! We'll be one of the noisiest groups there I grant you that!


Dianne said...

"Okay Honey" killed me!

I'll be thinking of you and the whole team on Saturday. In fact, on Friday night I'll go out back and do a Sun Dance.

Travis said...

She's quite the little character!

Sandi McBride said...

And does anyone have a problem with that little gal? I should think not! What a character!

terri said...

I'm amazed that Maya asked about the "ess" sound. I doubt there are many four year olds thinking that in-depth!

fermicat said...

Maya is lucky to have an awesome grandma like you!!

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

They are both such cuties! I agree. They are so blessed to have a wonderful grandma in their lives!

Mima said...

What lovely stories, and I really enjoyed the video clips. She looked so cute when she was dancing! It is great to hear about everyday life, the good as well as the bad as that is how those of us without direct exposure to autism learn about it, so well suited to this month!! And I really loved the Okay, Honey - so sweet, and obviously learning from what is going on around her!!

All the best of luck with your race, I will be thinking about you.

Mima said...

I got so involved in reading your blog that I completely forgot to say good luck with stopping smoking. You can't get the drugs to help here until you have tried and failed several times which is why I am using the patches! I am really pleased with how it is going so far though (but slightly disappointed that I have had the odd one here and there).

It was a man that scuppered my last attempt as well - I had been off them for three months at the time!! This time that shouldn't be a problem though for all the wrong reasons!

Minnesotablue said...

What a gradmother you are. Great videos. Keep them coming.

Raven said...

What sweet babies they are... and how lucky they are to have such a wonderful grandma and family. I think you're right - they are typical kids even if they are not.

Raven said...

Sorry to comment twice... I forgot to say "Good Luck" on Saturday. I hope the weather is perfect and the day along with it.

Mushy said...

Nice clips...thanks for sharing.

Debo Blue said...

With fingers clenched as tightly as possible, "no rain tomorrow, just great walking weather!"

Good luck!

OHmommy said...

And I thought MY kids were great dancers. GREAT videos!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

loved the videos honey!

smiles, bee

Mary said...


I watched the videos of the children. The one thing I noticed was when you told Maya to smile, she gave the typical Asperger's/autistic "smile," the mouth stretched and definitely posed.

Separation anxiety is often present in all children, but it seems those on the autism spectrum have a much more difficult time with it. No matter what you do, they will not cease the questions and meltdown until they are ready to do so. When Brandon was younger, I've seen him lay on his bed and kick, sob and say the same thing over and over for an hour. It is very frustrating for the person who is caring for the child, as we feel so helpless and nothing that we do seems to work. Our behavioral specialist told us to just let him have his meltdown, but that is hard to do as well.

The kids are adorable and very lucky to have such an awesome grandma.