A thorough desensitization plan is an essential tool for many parents of autistic children. The key to success is both consistency and persistence with a healthy dollop of patience and encouragement. It’s a recipe for success around here and after many long years of practice we are now the very proud, temporary custodians of an ex-neophobe. This is not to say that my youngest son actually enjoys very much of the food in his new diet but he does eat it.
For many months now we have been fading the reward, the chocolate pudding, until it finally fizzled out about a month ago. However, chocolate pudding is a very good way of getting high calories of fat and protein, which when you’re very skinny may not be such a bad thing. As a consequence, I decide that the reintroduction of chocolate pudding might be one way of packing on the pounds, after he has eaten dinner and after he has already eaten some vile fruity dessert of my own concoction. My difficulty is a practical one, remembering to make it in advance. Chocolate custard is not a recipe that can be rushed. I reach the obvious conclusion, I ask the chap with the very big memory to remind me himself. What better motivation could there be to increase communication between me and my youngest?
I share my cunning plan with him, or at least the pertinent parts.
“So……when we get home, could you remind me to make your pudding? I always lose the post it notes?”
“Sure……you have gotten dah right guy for dah rememberings.”
As we drive home from school we chat in the car, or rather I ask questions, and everyone ignores me as the word bank is officially empty after a whole day of school. We run through our usual routine. First the 20 yard dash through the back door with a finely pinched nose to avoid being gassed by the perfume from the Jasmine, practice our favourite words of the week, namely ‘suffocate / double helix / partial / social worker. Then after a snack and some downtime it’s onto the nightmare of homework. Hours pass in this one hideous activity until we are all thoroughly drained. We pack up, prepare pack lunches and then on successful completion they are all free to indulge in thirty minutes electronics time. This in turn gives me 30 minutes to get supper on the table unhampered by demands as they tune out. As I prepare nutrititious cold salads in the 95 degree heat I contemplate how I can possibly bribe him to eat any of it? Chocolate pudding! I forgot again. I dart after my son engrossed in his game.
“Hey weren’t you going to remind me?”
“I asked you to remind me to make something for you.”
“Do you remember what it was?”
“What was it?”
“Make chocolate pudding.”
“Yes but you didn’t remind me!”
“You did! When did you?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t remember you reminding me?”
“Look at what?”
“Dah post it note.”
“What post it note?”
“Dah one dat I am writing dah chocolate pudding.”
I dash back into the kitchen……..sure enough, there is a post it note stuck to the saucepan together with his own unique time stamp. Now that’s a heck of a lot of reciprocal exchange!
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