I don't know if it's the combination of electricity and steam jolting my brain into (temporary) lucidity, or if my thoughts are lulled into a hypnotic (...oh, OK, bored then) trance-like state, allowing Deep Thoughts to rise to the surface.
Luckily, I don't iron often. My brain might melt.
Anyway, the Deep Thought I had was that I finally feel comfortable with the way I am helping Bob along his path.
We have the luxury of being almost 3 years post-diagnosis, so I am well past the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes stage. These days Autism is such an integral part of our lives that we don't even notice that sometimes it's Really Really Hard...it's just the way it is.
So Bob was in the bath, while I was ironing on the landing beside him. We were "chatting" and I was getting him to pour the water from a jug to a cup, partly to stop him drinking it (no need for laxatives in our house) and partly because our OT said it was a good way to develop fine motor precision.
"Wow! OT and ST have become such an ingrained part of our lives that we just do it informally all the time".
This was a really big light-bulb moment for me.
Three years ago I was almost demented trying to find a space in my house to transform into a sensory/education room where information would be magically absorbed by osmosis into Bob's brain.
Well, it would have to be magic, because I realized that even if I did have all the coolest equipment and the best education programme, that I didn't have the skills to actually teach my son.
Oh, and I wasn't a Speech Therapist, or an OT or a psychologist either.
And even if I did have all the cool stuff, that I would need to staple gun my child to a desk to get him to sit for any longer than 15 seconds. (I never did find that damn staple gun...I think my Social Worker recognized the crazed look in my eye and hid it).
At the time, I was desperately trawling the net for something, anything, that would help me help my child. My head was a swirling mess of floortime, ABA, Teacch, diets and all the other stuff we cram into our consciousness in those first awful months. I was paralyzed by the belief that everyone else seemed to have strict teaching schedules and nifty educational programmes. I was convinced that I was failing my son because everyone else was doing important stuff, while I was doing the funky headless chicken dance.
As the months and years moved on, and Bob progressed from preschool to Outreach, I was being drip-fed the skills I needed in a way that I could use them.
One week the ST might say "hold the biscuit up to your nose so that he has to look at your face" , and I would do that so often that it became normal.
Then the teacher might write in Bob's journal that he works really well when his reinforcer is clearly visible, as he understands that he can't have it until his work is done. So we do that without even thinking now, and it works like a charm.
The OT might mention that working on his upper body strength is a vital part of developing writing skills, so while we're playing I'm aware that it's helping his penmanship.
Now I finally understand that I can tackle Autism Bob-Style, and that there is no right or wrong way to teach our children. I don't need to beat myself up anymore.
My style is informal, slow and fun. Sometimes it means a little desk work, but mostly it's making him hand me a PECS strip to ask for peanut butter on toast, or coaxing him to say "ready, steady....GO!" before pushing him on the swing.
If my Autie style was a person, it would be Samuel L. Jackson.
It took me a long time to reach this point, but I invite you to consider what your Autie Style is, and above all to remember that your style is your own, and you and your child and your personal set of circumstances have created it.
Gucci may suit you, but Prada might be my thing. Ain't we looking good on it???