Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cutie's Mental State and Summer cautions

The past few weeks have been really hard on Cutie.  My Husband has had a different work schedule- we are used to him being home a heck of a lot more as he normally works long hours, but fewer days.  I have not written much anywhere, nor have I been keeping up with any of my Facebook, Twitter, Amplify or Websites because Cutie is bored.

Normally, I wake up in the morning around 0600, write a new article and by the time he wakes up I am adding photos and getting ready to publish.  Then we play together, eat, do some therapy exercises etc  and eventually, when he does his workbooks and reading I sit next to him and do the promoting for that morning's article- then we play outside for the rest of the day and I check on things now and then for the rest of the day.  If my husband is home, I spend an extra hour or so on the computer while they spend time together.

Lately, Cutie has been acting depressed.  He has had issues with bullying, now that he is no longer near his tormentor he was very excited to spend the summer playing with friends in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, they are rarely available to play.  He waits all day for his friends and usually, they never come.  He knocks on doors hopefully, and walks away a little bit more teary each time.

I think that Theory of Mind is playing a significant role in his disappointment- he expects everyone to be available because he is available.  I have tried to alter my schedule so that if they are playing in the morning we can go out earlier, but they rarely are out there at all.

Cutie spends nearly every day in tears.  He is now crying about everything which is concerning as he is a child who so rarely cries that he was actually hospitalized for NOT crying....  If things do not turn around soon, we may have to intervene.

The other thing he is not understanding about the  situation is that it is incredibly hot.  Too hot to safely play out doors for very long and way to hot for heavy activity.  Every time he tries to play basketball, I am terrified-  FYI did you know that two of the leading causes of death in kids with autism are...

Drowning (especially dry drowning hours after swimming)
Thermal dysregulation (Hyper or hypo thermia)

Both are frightening because they seem so innocuous.  If you go swimming with your child and watch them carefully, use floatation devices etc, would you think that afterwards a simple tummy ache or fatigue 4 hours after getting out of the water could indicate that your child is actively drowning?

Hyperthermia and Hypothermia are of particular concern with kids who have autism as they tend to not dress appropriately and despite their incredible hypersensitivity to everything... they seem to be oblivious to the fact that they are over heating or freezing cold.  They may not notice that they need water.  It is important that you be extra vigilant during extreme weather and remind them frequently to take breaks and dink water and help them to dress appropriately.

Another concern with Hperthermia is that somehow, the body does not always regulate itself correctly in many  people with autism-  extreme heat may NOT even be present when a person with autism suffers heat stroke.  There have been numerous reports of early teen year kids with autism dying from hyperthermia during strenuous activities (even hiking) when the ambient temperature was only in the mid 80s.

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