Moving Past Normality

Last weekend we had a 3 1/2 yr old little boy with us. I knew what I was getting into, but his foster parents didn’t when they said yes to the placement call. 3 1/2 sounded good. According to the social worker, there was a “slight possibility” of autism. The diagnosis hasn’t come yet, but autism seems fairly certain.

The little boy is vocal (makes noises) but non-verbal (doesn’t say any actual words). He’s much like an 8mth old in the body of a 3yr old. He can run, climb, and maneuver around. But like a young baby, there’s no consideration or comprehension and everything goes in his mouth.

bedtime snack after the splash pad

bedtime snack after the splash pad

It was challenging but we made it through the weekend. Monday I got a call asking me to take him for 2 1/2 weeks at the end of August while his foster family are on vacation. With nothing else coming along, I said yes.

Today his foster mom called the social worker begging for some extra support. He’s only been sleeping a couple hours each night. That wouldn’t be so bad if he stayed in his crib. But he climbs out and escapes from his room. Obviously it’s not safe for him to be wandering around alone. So his foster mom has been up with him all week.

He’s back with me this weekend so she can get some sleep.

Forgive me, if you saw me at the splash pad this evening. He loves water. It’s the only thing that captures his attention for more than a fleeting moment. Jake* did really well running and playing. Periodically he’d check in with me as I watched from the edge.

Then I shifted position to say hello to a lady from church. After a while Jake began looking for me. He rarely responds to his name. Words seem to float outside of his comprehension. So, after saying his name I clapped. Gasp. It generally works in getting his attention. Like a typical, healthy 3yr old he can run like the wind. Not wanting him to bolt, I tried to get his attention. And I did. Please forgive my method.

Raising unique children, often I need to move past normality. I wouldn’t normally clap or snap at a child. But for Jake the clapping works (not great at the splash pad where there are lots of other loud noises, but at home it’s effective.) Snapping works great with Raine. Sometimes she’ll get herself in a tizzy where words can’t reach her. Then I snap and she can hear me again.

Sometimes in this life/job the rule book has to go out the window.

*name changed

6 thoughts on “Moving Past Normality

  1. I don’t believe there’s any reason to apologize. Whatever works works. Sometimes my boys (4 & 6) get so wrapped up in whatever theyre doing that a sharp clap of my hands is the only thing that brings them back to me and they’re not autistic. All kids are different and react and respond to different things.
    I love your words and am amazed by the journey God has sent you on, but you seem to be the person to do it. Praying your weekend goes well.

  2. Someone has to write those rule books you know, and I am glad someone as thoughtful and creative as you is there to do it. You have given me some ideas for connecting with my nephew and niece. Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Bobbie…..you are absolutely wonderful with children. And what a gift you are giving his foster mom. Sleep! I agree there is no need to apologize for clapping. I have used that method before as well, particularly when they are young or there is the potential for danger. Happy that I’ve figured out how to read your blog again!

  4. I had never thought of that. M has ADHD and I’m always looking for ideas of what will work to get his attention. I will have to try it. Any other ideas welcomed please.

    • You’re likely already doing it, but when telling the kids anything important I have them stop what they’re doing and look at me. Helps heaps in making sure they actually comprehend what I’m saying.

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