Scripting and Podding

Monday, 10. February 2014 1:17

SCRIPTING

At an early age, Ellie exhibited echolalia. Mostly repeating a few words from a show or something I’d said. She has, over the years, woven this skill into an intricate tapestry of scripting. To the untrained ear, it might appear she is quoting from her favorite movies, and who doesn’t love when someone can do that artistically?

For Ellie, she now substitutes something close to what she knows she should say, with a script she pulls from her infinite “dreamlite”. A name she dons her internal iPhone-like device that allows her to capture moments with her mind, and call upon them when needed. Here are some of her more recent (and my favorite examples):

Knowing she reached the limit of questions for asking me if her tea was ready, she said this (in an AMAZINGLY accurate voice)…
* Sally, is my soup ready yet? (The crazy duck scientist from Nightmare Before Christmas)

Responding to the mandatory sampling of my white chili and knowing she needed to use kind words, if unfavorable…
* I’ve never cared for your spinach puffs. (Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove)

During a standard good-bye which became too long for her knowing what to do or say…
*Begone…or, uh, y’know, however I get rid of you guys. (Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove)

When reminded not to complain about being asked to put her shoes away…
*As you wish. (Wesley from “The Princess Bride”)

Her response to me while muttering to myself while trying to locate my keys…
* It’s a duck’s world, my friend. (Quack from Peep and the Big Wide World)

Whenever she uses chapstick…
* Lipstick taser. (Lucy from Despicable Me 2)

Her response to finding her kitty sleeping in full-on, cute, otter-cat position…
* It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die! (Agnes from Despicable Me 2)

After performing a disgustingly long and loud gastreous moment…
* Did you hear that?! (Buddy from Elf)


PODDING

Scripting and Podcasting (or Podding, as I’m apparently referring to it now) have nothing in common other than ending in “ing”, and dammit, that’s good enough for me!

My new friend, Kelly, at Kid Gigawatt who is awesome and nice and awesomely nice, invited me to do a podcast about Autism and trying not to lose your shit keeping a sense of humor. It was so much fun and she made me feel not dumb or too “ummy ahhhey”. You can listen to it here. Click on “Kara Wilson” (that’s me).
She also wrote a lovely, which you can find here.

Thank you Kelley!! [geeky, full-on, double, over-the-top, wave]. MWAH!

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A Girl can Dream

Saturday, 1. February 2014 18:08

Me: Ben, I don’t know if I’ve actually vocalized this to you or if I’ve just kept it inside all these years, but I want to make sure you are aware of my wishes.

Ben: [looks at me with one eyebrow raised]

Me: If I am ever lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to receive a wish from the “Make a Wish Foundation”, I want to spend a weekend with Cloris Leachman. I adore her.

Ben: Maybe you could just write her a letter asking to be President of the Greater St. Louis Area Cloris Leachman Fan Club. Or, “like” her on fb.

Me: Hu. I never really considered that. I’m glad I talked to you about this.

CLORIS, PLEASE BE MY BFF!
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Sheldon Cooper is In

Saturday, 1. February 2014 2:33

Today was Ben’s last day of work at the Federal Courthouse. It is bittersweet for so many reasons. He met amazing people, learned a lot, and got to work directly for several amazing Judges, specifically, the Sr. Federal Judge who was sworn in by Ronald Reagan and retired this month at age 88. Others in his chambers had been with the Judge for 15 or more years and were met with some amazing celebrations as this meant retirement for them as well.

As Ben returned home, I told Ellie that she should give Daddy extra hugs and congratulatory remarks. She asked why she should congratulate him because it’s not like he won anything. I explained that while he didn’t WIN anything, he did a great job at work and he will miss the people he got to know, and because of that, we are really proud of him. “WE? Why are you saying WE?”, she replied. I told her that I was proud of him and that she should be too. She sighed heavily at the weight of trying to understand my point and left the room.

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Sing Like No One Listens

Wednesday, 29. January 2014 15:38

A simple thing like breaking into song and dance with my girl, normally creates much angst and aggravation (granted, my Elaine-like moves can be slightly disturbing, but still…). After several attempts, I just quit. A life without music and silliness is depressing. But, worse than that, is upsetting the even keel that keeps Ellie off the edge.

Lately, there has been a shift. A joyous, glorious, beautiful shift. Ellie is starting to enjoy music. Over the last week or so, we have been singing. She hasn’t groaned at the spontaneity or stomped off or screamed at me for not doing something according to her script. We are giggling and lip synching and singing and dancing and having the BEST time. This is HUGE.

As Ellie was brushing her teeth last night, I shared this fun tidbit with Ben. Ellie’s bionic hearing zoned in on our whispering and she ran into the living room demanding to know what we were discussing. I told her we were talking about how much fun I was having singing and dancing with her. Then I broke into “I Believe I Believe I Believe I Believe in Love!” waiting for her to jump in to verify my claim. She glared at me familiarly and shook her head while telling me, “We’re NOT doing that now and that’s NOT how it goes.” Ben said nothing. He didn’t have to. His smug “Autism just ruined your street cred” face said it all.

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Oh My Gah

Saturday, 6. July 2013 14:58

Ellie’s not aware she’s on the Autism spectrum yet. Frankly, there are brief moments when I forget. Sometimes that’s nice and sometimes that bites me in the ass. I’m expecting more from Ellie and challenging her socially. She can do it and it’s my job to help her. I’m patient with her most of the time. But, I can do better.

Social situations are anxiety-producing for Ellie. From the time she was nearly newborn, being only with me away from people has been her source of comfort. Perseverating is a way for her to handle stress and bringing me into that helps her not feel isolated. When I put a time limit on the perseverating (may it be a memory she wants to retell, a story she’s creating, methods of handling social situations, or the welfare of an insect), it often ends with her going to her room in a huff of anxiety. This is a big improvement from melt-down central, however, it can be emotionally draining. I can do better.

I’ve learned to predict these situations with the precision of a special ops agent. And, in handling them, I’ve learned how to mentally prepare and charge myself. I didn’t do that with as much grace and patience I’d hoped during a get-together last night with neighbors we’ve known for five years. It was a time I was wishing to just ease back and enjoy, especially since we were at our house. I can do better.

The night ended as it so often does. Ellie goes to her room when she’s had enough and doesn’t say goodbye. That part, I’m okay with. I understand it can be overwhelming. It’s the working through things when all has settled that is the roller coaster. I geared up. I was prepared for the storm of emotions. I knocked on her door and heard her tiny voice wish me in. She was sitting on her floor writing. She looked up at me with a big smile to show me what she had been working on. It was her name in beautiful block letters in the middle with phrases of things she likes about herself surrounding it. Things like, “I’m good. I’m prite. I love you. I will always rumembur you. You are funee.”

When I told her everyone had gone, she said, “Whew! What a relief!” with a SMILE. A SMILE. Then she walked out to hang her picture on the fridge. I stood motionless and speechless. She returned to her room and I came to my senses to let her know how great it was that she could take a break and do something that made her happy. Then, my amazing, five-year-old girl told me this:

“It’s really scary to me when people come over. Don’t you think it’s scary? It’s loud. I don’t know what to do. People confuse me and I actually feel like they’re from some place else. Like the woods. Grown ups are easier than kids. I can’t tell if they like me though. It seems like they want me to take care of them but I don’t know how.”

When it was a time for me to rise above, it was my girl who did better.

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Does a Bear Eat Ice Cream

Tuesday, 30. April 2013 1:38

It was a beautiful day in the Lou. A perfect day for a local delight – Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard. While enjoying our treat on an outdoor bench, I noticed that the car parked in front of us had the license plate “VATICN”.

Me: I didn’t know the Pope was in town.
Ellie: What’s a Pope?
Ben: It’s someone who shits does stuff in the woods.

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Sound Advice of 6-Year-Old Saves Friend

Saturday, 16. February 2013 21:26

Ellie is playing with her friend Lucy. I love listening to their conversations. I could hear the girls stomping up the steps toward the living room.

Ellie: My Mom is SUCH a liar. I’m going to tell her that TOO!
Lucy: Wellllll, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I told my Mom that one time and she was NOT very happy about it.

When they arrived at the top of the steps, Ellie said to me: Mom, I’m not sure the idea you had is working out for us.


Nicely done, Lucy. Ellie is allowed to live another day.

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Hey Now

Saturday, 9. February 2013 15:52

I was up at Ellie’s school the other day waiting for some testing. While seated on a bench at the intersection of two hallways, I got to watch a lot of cuteness. I was also witness to something straight out of a sitcom. A special ed teacher’s aide was walking down the hall with her arm around the shoulders of a fourth grade boy. Her other arm was behind her back. I wouldn’t have really noticed until the two of them rounded the corner and I watched them walk away. The boy kept moving his hand from around her waist, south, to her buttockal region, her hand strategically placed for its gentle removal. Time and time again.

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The Language of Love

Friday, 8. February 2013 16:28

We recently had an IEP meeting. Who doesn’t love those? They make my pits a little juicy even though we are in the fortunate category of not having to fight for any services. Ellie went into Kindergarten with only push in services – so, fully integrated.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same kid who, at the age of two, was fascinated with our local St. Louis map. Like for two hours at a time fascinated. She’s also the kid who refused to go to a park if other children were present, didn’t make eye contact, and showed little emotion other than screaming for three years. She would scream in the doorway of her bedroom for sixty solid minutes (sometimes a few times a day) because I would leave the room before her. Or not unbuckle her baby seat the same way. And, she was a bit of a poltergeist (see the parade of objects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), and well, you get the idea.

This is also the girl whose first word was at nine months. And, it was “pretty”. She had a vocabulary of 250 words by twelve months. 500 words by eighteen months. She could recognize/demonstrate the ASL alphabet, knew all her colors, differentiated her lower and uppercase letters by twelve months. She knew more about bugs by the age of three than I ever care to know.

This is also the same girl who didn’t pass her language assessment last week. I’ve seen first hand how Ellie reacts when not understanding directions or conversations . She wants to understand. She knows she’s supposed to understand, and since she doesn’t, she compensates with the verbal virtuosity of a Michael Jordan. “I’m not sure…Well, let me think…It could be that one…It’s not?…Oh, I see what you mean…That makes sense.” It’s really quite impressive and high-five worthy.

Luckily, her team at school SO gets her. It’s easy for people who don’t spend a lot of time with Ellie to be dazzled by the cuteness and smoke screens. She will be having a more in-depth language evaluation which will then be compared to her I.Q. score to see if she qualifies for language services. It’s another point, in my opinion, to the importance of early intervention. Ellie has made strides that never fail to impress me and it gives me a lot of encouragement to see her with a team of professionals who all understand Aspergers. They are dreamy. I love them and I want to marry them.

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A Vision

Saturday, 26. January 2013 2:08

Here is my Petunia in her glasses. She did great with her eye exam. The only glitch was that her mother, unaware that five-year-olds need glaucoma tests, didn’t include the eye puffer as part of the social story. As a result, Ellie’s posterior clenched the upholstery clean off the chair she was seated in. And, I think it serves them right.

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