Sunday, January 11, 2009

At Home with Chef Z - Continued

As promised, the vids.

Here's the first one:

Now I wasn't planning on adding any commentary.. after all, how about just enjoying a good thing as it happens eh?

But I HAVE to comment. Did you all notice how HARD Salamander is working at peeling that apple, and how he maintains focus, despite me asking him questions? And that the apple peeling using that peeler is not always going so smoothly for him?

But he keeps at it, does NOT give up, does NOT get frustrated. Even as recent as a year ago, he would have hurled that peeler through the kitchen after the first time he had a less than successful 'shave'. And truth be told, even as recent as a year ago, I wouldn't have felt comfortable letting him handle anything that was sharp and could be used for less than 'tranquil' purposes. And there continue to be days that I won't let him get near anything that's sharp, and I am still apprehensive about letting him use any tools (like a hammer or a saw). And I continue to fight his dad on letting Salamander have a pocket knife. And I am not admitting to that to have you think less of him. But to simply be honest about his less than 'tranquil' tendencies.

See, I don't see the need (anymore.. and I don't think I ever did feel that need) to sugarcoat the fact that Salamander DOES have aggressive tendencies. It always irks me to no end when a certain persuasion within the autism community gets all 'huffy and puffy' at the mere suggestion that kids with an autism spectrum disorder can be violent. They immediately go '"but that's not true. Kids with autism are these kind and gentle souls, they wouldn't hurt a fly."

Bull Sh#t...

That to me is as ridiculous as saying that every child that's battling childhood cancer is 'brave and courageous and strong.' Well, some are, and some are not. Just like some kids with autism spectrum disorders are violent and others are not.

That doesn't mean that Salamander as a person is a violent psychopath hellbent on inflicting hurt and pain. He's not. When he is in his good space (and TG he resides more and more in his good space these days) he is an extremely kind, gentle and emphatic soul.
But on days that a mood storm strikes? Well, that's when his frontal lobe packs its bags and takes a vacation, that's when all those executive functioning skills deficits hit full force. Once his emotional processing hits a certain threshold, the volcano simply blows (you'll actually find a lot of references to 'lack of emotional filtering' or 'they have no emotional filter' in books that talk about kids with bipolar disorder and bipolar tendencies). And there are plenty things that have happened here during 'eruptions of the anger volcano' that are pretty horrific.

This is, however, part of Salamander's package. And it has resulted in the early days after diagnosis in him being refused admittance to the well known, specially geared for Asperger's, HFA, NLD kids, camps and social skills classes in this area. It's a lot of fun to be told by professional and well known and well respected organizations that you turn to for help, that they won't touch your 6 or 7 year old kid with a 10 foot pool, despite claiming being 'specialists' in how to work with affected kids. At least the Challenger Camp in my own town was not run by a bunch of sissies - they were willing to take Salamander on, and have done a beautiful job over the 5 years he has attended that camp. There have been outbursts and situations, absolutely, but we have always been able to work through things.

At least these days, he has a lot more self control (and all the vitamin D, vitamin K, rosemary, sage, 5-HTP and a whole bunch of other supplement tweaks have helped a lot too). But I do not take for granted that it's going to stay that way, especially with puberty now entering the mixture.

Which is why I am enjoying moments as reflected above even more. Because they re-enforce that, when Salamander's metabolism (especially the neurotransmitter piece) works like it's supposed to, amazing things happen. And they also re-enforce that, when sh#t hits the fan again, that it's not as simple as 'well, he's just a poorly adjusted, mean kid that needs more discipline'

Off my soap box now.

Here's the second vid. This one could have been great, but the batteries in my camera died....


At 10:49 PM, January 11, 2009 , Blogger K Fuller said...

So very cool. Lots of attention and patience. Did he make the soup also?

At 11:02 PM, January 11, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so impressed!

At 12:47 PM, January 12, 2009 , Anonymous navywifeandmom said...

You go, Salamander!

I know what you mean about the "so gentle and sweet" comment. Pumpkin Pie can be sweet and gentle as a lamb and likes to be hugged and give kisses - but she has also thrown her infant brother out of his crib and given him a skull fracture.

I don't know why people think that children with disabilities are automatically "gentle and sweet". Children with disabilities are like any other kid - they can have good days and bad days. And when they have bad days, it can be very bad because their emotional maturity doesn't match their body size.

The midwife who delivered my third child had a daughter with Down Syndrome who at age seven had a REAL aggression problem. You could not leave her alone for a second with a small child. And we all know how people carry on and on about how sweet children with Down Syndrome are.

Like I said, good days and bad days, just like any other kid. I think stereotyping children with disabilities as "sweet and loving" at all times is as bad as stereotyping them as psychopathic.

At 3:30 PM, January 12, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is the cutest damned thing ever! :-) Thanks for sharing!


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