Finding Ourselves on the Autism Spectrum

Posts tagged ‘games’

Try, try again

Busy weekend. Alvin went to a movie and sleepover birthday party at one friend’s house and now has another friend over to play video games after seeing a different movie with him. Theodore went to a friend’s laser tag birthday party. He was supposed to have a second party to attend after that, but the second friend isn’t feeling well today, so they had to reschedule.

Simon is off without us at an all-day robotics event. He left the house at 6:15AM and won’t be back until after 6:00 this evening. He went on his own with his robotics team, a cell phone, and some cash for lunch. For most kids, it’s pretty carefree day of fun. We’re just happy Simon sounded OK when we last spoke to him on the phone. This is actually the second day of a two-day event, and the first day wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.

Our boy has come such a long way. The idea of him being able to attend any function at all on his own is a relatively recent development. He has a parapro with him all day at school, and my husband and I have generally been with him everywhere else. Occasionally he can be at a friend’s house when the parents know him pretty well, but we still make sure to be on standby and listening for the phone. His dad still takes off work every year to attend various scouting functions and goes with the boys to summer camp for a whole week.

In seventh grade Simon finally found a club where he was comfortable. It was a strategy game club, and that year it was being run by a friend of ours who knows him very well. Simon loves strategy games and is annoyingly good at them, so he really enjoyed the activity. Plus they had snacks. Come to think of it, pretty much every activity I’ve been able to get him to attend without having to twist his arm has provided him with food on a regular basis. Whatever works. 🙂

This year Simon started high school, and he’s tried quite a few different activities on his own. He’s had issues with at least half of them, but he’s also found a few keepers. One is the game club, which not only offers strategy games, but now Simon finally has people with whom he can play Yugioh without having to enter an official tournament. And he loves GO club. GO is an ancient game involving little black and white stones placed on a board to try to gain and take over territory, and Simon is developing a reputation for his playing ability. Hubby is annoyingly good at most games, too, but he can’t beat Simon at GO, and it pisses him off.

Simon also joined the school robotics team. This is much more of a time commitment, plus it involved some financial investment. Simon has had some problems with frustration over tasks in which he is less interested (he mostly likes programming), dealing with people who don’t seem to know what they are doing some of the time, and – since the build season started – sensory overload from all of the noise. Though he’s been attending fewer of the meetings, he’s hung with it, and he decided to go to two of the team’s regional competitions, the first of which started yesterday. He got to take the day off of school, which was a plus. He still has to do all the homework. And he still had to get up at 5:00am yesterday and today to ride the bus an hour away.

We weren’t sure Simon would be allowed on the bus yesterday, because he hadn’t attended the last meeting, which we found out later was supposed to be mandatory, and because he hadn’t been there to receive his team shirt. But they gave him his shirt and let him on, and we let him go. There aren’t any parapros for optional team trips, BTW. Hubby said he’d be available to go retrieve the boy if needed, and I made sure Simon had a cell phone to call me. We knew the noise level would probably be a sensory nightmare, but Simon’s tolerance has increased over the years, and we hoped the promise of food and hours of mechanical competition would be enough to compensate. It wasn’t. At least it wasn’t yesterday.

The teams took a break for lunch around 1:00pm, and I got a call from Simon saying he was feeling like he’d had enough. The place was an hour away, so I needed for him to hang on for a bit. I did my best to try to find out what was happening and how I might be able to help while I also contacted his dad, who had really been hoping to not get this call. It was hard to hear while trying to have a phone conversation with Simon through all the background noise, so we started texting. Over the course of the next hour I got messages from him saying he was exhausted, he couldn’t concentrate, he couldn’t find the food, and he couldn’t think clearly. At least he could still text. In between bouts of kicking myself for letting him go in the first place, I sent back messages suggesting he find some water, asking if he could see anyone he knew, and finally just asking where he was so his dad would be able to find him.

Turns out Simon didn’t do badly at all. Besides having the sense to call and ask for help, he stayed with his group and did his best to remain calm until help arrived. He also lost the money we sent with him and his new team T-shirt, but at least he kept the cell phone. 🙂 His dad and I decided the best plan would be to try to help Simon find food there and experience some recovery before talking about leaving. Hubby helped Simon to get food (which was on very large tables right out in the open that Simon was just too stressed to be able to see) and taking him out to the car for a quiet place to eat and regroup. Hubby did such a good job being flexible and supportive in the face of his own frustration. They discussed options, and a now fed and calmer Simon decided on his own to go home and try again in the morning. By this time, it was about 3:00 in the afternoon.

This time we sent Simon off with a backpack containing a water bottle, plus some extra cash in case he lost track of what we’d given him in his wallet (the loose cash from the day before never was recovered).  We also sent along two sets of earplugs to help him manage the noise level.  I couldn’t reach Simon during the morning today, which wasn’t making me happy in light of yesterday’s difficulties, but I also knew he might not be able to hear his phone, and he doesn’t always notice it on the vibrate setting.  He called at lunch to say he was doing fine , and he seemed in good spirits. No mention of wanting to leave early. He found out where his missing T-shirt ended up, and he knew where to find the food. I’m having trouble reaching him again, but by now the event should almost be over. So now I’m just waiting to hear.

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It’s after 8pm, and my boy is finally back home.  Simon said he had a great time even though his team got eliminated in the quarter finals  and that the medal he is now sporting around his neck is a special engineering award given to his team.   He was talking on the short drive from the school back to our house about underdog victories and mascots and other things he found very entertaining.   Now he gets to relax and stuff himself full of ravioli and garlic bread here at home.  He’s a pretty happy guy and very glad he decided to give this another try. 🙂

 

 

 
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Nothing in particular

I want to post something today, partly because I’m all about momentum and don’t want to lost what I have going, and partly because I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about finding this wonderful community and just want to say hi and I’m very grateful you are all here.

Just us Aspies

The neurotypical family members have all gone out to a hockey game, and my oldest and I have the place to ourselves.   Other than me checking in with him once in a while to make sure no surprise problems have developed, we’re mostly off in our own spaces doing our own things.  We both enjoy our alone time and the peace and quiet when no one is trying to get us to do something interactive that’s supposed to be more fun than what we actually want to do.

Limited attention

I haven’t yet figured out what time setting my blog is on – I can only handle learning a little at a time, but I’m writing in the middle of evening, and my deeper thoughts processes just don’t function by this point, especially when I was up early this morning getting the oldest up and ready for an all-day activity.  I have trouble convincing my husband about this time of day thing about me, as he seems pretty much the same all through the day.  If you want to discuss something important with me, it had better be before I mentally shut off  for the night. Also when there aren’t too many other things going on at the same time.  You may think I’m taking it all in, but it’s likely that I’m really not.

The thing that happened

I did something silly last evening.  My ASD oldest son was waiting for a turn on the basement PC and decided it might be fun to beat mom in a friendly game of Blokus.  We bought this for the 7-year old, because the teenager wouldn’t like a gift in a box that said ages 5 and up, but we knew it was more along his line.  He commented on the fact that someone had restuck the sticky parts on the sides of the box that keep it from opening when it’s still in the store.  Odd, but life around here is usually odd, and I don’t ask too many questions about things that don’t seem to present a significant problem.  The little plastic pieces were still sealed in baggies inside the box, too.  This was surprising and we both commented that we thought the game, which was a Christmas present this year, had already been played by the other family members on a previous evening.  I especially remembered this, because as I was leaving to take the oldest to another activity, the comment was made by my middle son that he’d enjoy a chance to play the game and maybe even win once while his big brother was away.  My oldest doesn’t lose many games of anything, especially when there’s a definite strategy to winning 🙂  So we decided maybe we were mistaken and moved on.

Playing games

So we played our game, and since I had never played and had no idea what was going on until I could already see that I was way behind , he crushed me.  I did get better towards the end, when I knew more of what was going on.  I have to actually see a strategy played out to get it.  Middle son requested a bit more time to finish what he was doing on the PC, so the oldest asked to teach me a simplified version of a  game he really likes, which is called Go, while he waited.  At first I refused, because even my hubby gets completely frustrated trying to play this kid in Go. (Hubby doesn’t lose many games, either, and is having trouble adjusting to the fact that he just can’t beat this kid 🙂  If Hubby can’t take him, I’m just going to get pummeled, and we already did that once.  But he really seemed to want to teach me, and we actually end up having a very nice time, because he’s really quite pleasant in teaching mode.

Remembering

Fast forward to today.  I was straightening up just a little – because I’m the only female in the house, and it’s the only way anything is getting picked up EVER – and I noticed the Blokus game sitting out.  As I put it away, I noticed another Blokus game sitting under a pile of our other games.  And Then I Remembered.  Hubby had bought a second Blokus game weeks ago, because the price was just So Good, and he planned to hang onto it as a possible gift for someone later.  When my oldest was opening the sealed up Blokus game, it somehow never dawned on me that maybe this was The Second Game.  Understand, the males in my house are packrats, and I long ago stopped being able to keep track of what all is in our home at any given time.  Also, I’m going to go ahead and blame my husband for not stashing the second game somewhere that the kids wouldn’t come across it.  But still, this doesn’t reflect particularly well on my mental faculties.

Amusement

It was over an hour before I sensed the right casual moment to tell both my Aspie boy and my husband what had happened.   I couldn’t even say it without cracking up when I was only partway through.  At first Hubby just stared at me.  Then, in a disbelieving voice and with a quizzical look, he says “You didn’t.”  And Aspie boy and I both started cracking up.  Hubby was perfectly accepting of the whole thing, but we both know he’s going to be giving me a hard time about this for quite a while to come, because that’s what we do.   Once again, just because I  look like I’m with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am 🙂

I’m tired, and the guys are  back from their game.  Good night all.

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