Autistic “Play session” at Habilitation

In June, we were sent a little print-out from a woman named Karin at Habilitation, who told “Gubby” in the little “letter” that she was the one who would play with him on the 10th September and that she would try to meet him once before, so he would feel comfortable with her. Assuming that he is a very autistic child who can not handle new people and change. Well, she assumed wrong, which she realized on the 28th August, when she went to visit him at pre-school. She walked towards him to introduce herself, expecting him to shy away, and instead he walked straight up to her and hugged her.

Today, was finally play observation time, which we have waited for, since March, when he got his diagnosis. It’s when Habilitation, will play with your child, film it and decide what they can help the child with. We were supposed to have been in a mirror room, where the psychologist and I would sit behind the mirror. But three children arrived at the same time, to play, so we had to be in another room. Interesting to watch the others in the waiting room. The one Muslim couple, arrived when we did. As all immigrants, they ignored the handicap signs on the parking places, right by the place one is going to, and parked there. It’s not the first time I observe this and it makes me wonder what sort of country they come from, where they steal the handicap parking places from people who really need them. If a meter maid came by, they would have to pay a hefty fine. But it seems like they all have the money to pay the fines with, because I have seen this happen too many times, and it makes me feel angry, since I have been raised to respect the law.

So, they parked in an illegal spot, and just walked in without paying parking, while I tried to squeeze our big bus in to a small parking place and walked off to pay parking for an hour and a half, just to make sure. Suspecting we would only be there for an hour. When I arrived at the parking machine, this other man informed me that it seemed to be  out-of-order. He said we had to go to the other one, further down the road and I did not know what to do. I had told “Gubby” I would be just there and soon be back. I looked over to the car and waved and saw him wave back. I started to walk off to the next machine and turned to see that he was alright. He had got big eyes like saucers. As you can imagine, not a great thing. Luckily that machine worked, I paid and ran as fast as I could back to the car, but “Gubby” was alright. I still explained that the first machine was broken.

He thought it was strange to walk in to another building and not up to the neuropsychiatric department where he was tested. I had forgot that this was HIS first visit at Habilitation. But he got excited when he got inside and saw the little play area in the waiting room. The Muslim couple, woman in Hijab, had twin boys about “Gubby’s” age and one was like a whirlwind and threw himself down head first on the slide, which scared “Gubby”, so we walked in to the little play kitchen area instead. It was pretty obvious that twin number one had ADHD because he was climbing the walls. I guess the father, who was an older man, thought him very amusing, since he was laughing the entire time. I would NOT have let my ADHD son behave in the manner this boy was! The other boy must have been autistic since he was just sitting whining. Perhaps he was retarded as well, who knows? It upset “Gubby” to listen to the whining and not knowing why  the boy was so loud. At the same time, “Gubby” had a fun time setting the table for a meal, so the whining did not interrupt his play. He set a place for me and one for himself, with pots and lots of plastic fruit and food, for us to pretend eat. He had me sit on the “Lille Skutt” chair and he chose the “Skalman” chair. I have LOVED “Bamse” since I was a child. Still do and my dad loved it too, which has made me very sentimental about the cartoon! For years the clothing chain Lindex has been selling “Bamse” clothing and “Cookie” and the boys have worn “Bamse” clothing from the time they were newborn till they haven’t been able to wear size 116 cl anymore. For the life of me, I don’t understand why children in Sweden are not allowed to dress like children anymore, past the age of six or when they reach 116 cm. It is very sad, since it is then that they really become aware of the cartoon and come to love it. When there no longer are clothes for their size with the characters!

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(I am sorry but I am not being lucky with finding pictures on the net of anything that I am mentioning. Not Habilitation, not the chairs… But imagine the above characters as chairs. Their feet sit at the end of the chairs’ legs, the back of the chair is the character. Very cute! Adorable! Next week I am off to Habilitation again, to discuss what they decided after the play session today. I will try my best to bring a camera so it can all be documented. Especially for “Gubby’s” sake. “Bamse” is in front and they did not have him as a chair, perhaps broken? Then comes “Skalman” his inventor friend, who has to nap at all sorts of stupid times, when his help would have been needed. Then comes little “Skutt”, “Bamse’s” best friend who is always scared. And finally the mean wolf. The last three were represented as chairs at Habilitation.)

We were eating away when a little boy came in to the “kitchen” play area, saw our play and got upset that nothing was left in the little stove except plastic animals. He told his dad but the dad ignored his complaints, iPhone being funnier!  I could not determine what was wrong with that little boy because his speech sure was not behind, like “Gubby’s”, and he did not have a visible handicap. Nor was he climbing the walls. But habilitation is not for ADHD children, only Autistic ones and physically handicapped children.

Soon, we were called in, when we had eaten our plastic food twice, and “Gubby” trotted off as happy as can be. We got in to this big room that I really should have photographed! Half of it was an indoor playground with a gym carpet on the floor so you will not hurt yourself if you fall. We all took our shoes off, but the funny thing was that they did not have to tell “Gubby” to do so. He just said “I am taking my shoes off” and so he did. Then he ran over to all the “pillows”. This place had two swings made like pillows. One looked like a boxing ball, hanging on a string and you are supposed to cling on to it with your legs around it, holding on to the rope. He could not quite get the hang of it and I could not help since I was supposed to be the quiet observer, as was the psychologist, who was filming it all. The other swing was like a board made like a mattress, with a half-moon pillow on top. Everything so the child will not hurt itself. I really wish I could have taken a photo because it is difficult to put it in to words.

In a pile, in the corner, where these “pillows” made in different shapes. Everything made in a vinyl fabric and with mattress material inside of them, so they are stiff and can be climbed on and jumped on. He started to build an obstacle course with them. A green staircase, the top of a castle sort of piece, cubes, tunnels… I guess the best way to describe them all would be to say that they look like building blocks in gigantic format and made to be soft. He could have built a castle with all of them. Now, the task was not just to observe what he built, said and did, like running and jumping on the things after he had finished creating the course. But the main thing was to see if he 1) acknowledged that Karin was there to play with, 2) if he included her in the play and  3) if he asked for her help. And he did it all. But he could not say  Karin  and said Rakari instead, which she did not understand meant her. So he started saying “you there” instead. I had to bite my tongue.

After a while she wanted him to come over to the table and sit down to play. He did so reluctantly but soon sat nicely on a chair and looked at the cards she showed him. Something was nutty with each picture and he had to explain what was wrong with it. He was really good and saw exactly what was wrong with each picture she showed him and I was delighted in how she really tried to understand him. He doesn’t have the correct words for everything, but if you are patient and think outside the box, you will understand him. And she did go that extra mile, gave him the time and she did have a broad mind, so he did good. He uses words which make sense, so he is really not difficult to understand if you just decide that it is alright if a person does not use the “fancy” words for things. Down to earth, that is his melody.

Soon he discovered this box behind him which caught his interest and he asked if he could play with it. It was difficult for me to see from where I sat, what it really looked like, but I have found a picture on the net, that looks like what I could seeimage from where I sat at the other side of the room. It is a board full of holes and the child picks little pieces to make a pattern or whatever they want. This is what he did. And then she took out a picture and asked him to make that picture on the board. He worked hard and I saw how she tried to trick him. He sat and looked for a leg piece and she said, “it’s missing, can you not take another colour?”, but he started to look for it and demanded she open her hands and she had hid it in her hand. He is not stupid! If he sees a picture he want it to look exactly the same way, colour and all.

Then she took out a balloon game that I guess he has actually played many times before at pre-school, because he knew exactly how it was to be played. At first she thought he knew the colours but during that game, she discovered that he does not, when he called all colours green. I don’t know why he can’t crack the colour code, but we are working hard on it. One day perhaps? At least he knows that grass is green, sky is blue and so forth, so when he colours, he chooses the right colours. Even if he doesn’t have the names down. Yet.

Finally, she asked him to draw. She gave him a sheet of paper and let him draw what he wanted to draw. Water he said and took an light blue coloured pen and made imagesome waves. Then she asked him to draw his “mamma”. I could not see what he did and when she asked “is it mamma?” he said “no, it is Arthur and the Minimoys”. She did not get that but after the filming was over, I informed her that Rakari is she, Karin. And both the psychologist and myself, informed her who Arthur is. By then she had asked “Gubby” if Arthur is a friend of his and he had not answered her for obvious reasons. He probably thought she was silly for asking. When he felt finished with the picture, above, she told him he could give it to me and then play by the swings again, which he had pleaded to get to do. He ran over and gave me the picture and then he asked me to help him on the swing. I looked at the others to see if it was alright and they nodded, so I helped him till he was done with the swing and wanted to run around a little.

The most amusing thing was when they were filming him and this man just opens the door. The psychologist wheezed at him, “Not now!”. Rude man answered “Yes, now!”. She got angry, kept the camera pointed at “Gubby” and told him “Not now, go away”. He got angry too and said “I am turning on the fire alarm now”. “No you are not!” “I am!”. “You can wait five minutes!”. He sulked and closed the door. Weird! At the same time, I felt that here is a play session in progress, they are filming, and here comes this workman and just interrupts like what we are doing isn’t important at all. When the session was over and we had explained the names etc. to Karin, then “Gubby” and I headed for the loo. We both needed to go and he went first. When I sat there, the fire alarm went off. “Gubby” asked what it was and I answered “It’s the fire alarm and we are really supposed to go outside but … no, close the door, mamma is sitting here with a naked bottom, you can’t go outside…”. He had started to open the door when I said that we really should go outside! Noone was out there though, who could see my privates, and we took our time, washing our hands before we started to walk outside. The workmen had a hole room that they were re-doing as well as the swimming pool. They just stared at us, when we walked by and then the psychologist saw us coming and asked us in horror, if he was alright? He was by now holding his hands over his ears. Had he been a very autistic child, I guess he would have freaked out at the sound but now he just thought it was very loud at the entrance.

He had asked me for ice-cream, when the session was over and I had told him that it was a wee bit early in the day to eat ice-cream, but then I thought we might as well head for the mall outside town and buy him an ice-cream since I was curious to see if I could find this new eye shadow by Isadora. So we got in to the car,image drove out of BUP’s parking area and he got upset when I did not drive straight through the lights but turned left. He knows where the hospital sells ice-cream! We have lived so much at the hospital with his kidney that he knows how I am supposed to drive to get to BUS, where to park the car and how we walk through BUS to get to the main hospital part where they sell ice-cream in a kiosk. I had to tell him that I did not want to pay anymore parking and that we would get ice-cream elsewhere. At the mall we had to run around in all sorts of shops to find the Isadora Autumn 2014 collection eyeshadow! Not fun at all. I guess everyone in town wanted to try that colour this autumn, because that particular item was sold out all over. But finally someone found me one in a stock room. Not the shop where I had 20% rebate though. Typical! I have never used brown eyeshadow before so maybe it was a bad purchase? But in a make over program I watched for a while, when we got to see the  TLC channel for free for a couple of months, they always put brown eyeshadow on people with blue eyes, saying that one should go for the opposites, not the same colour as one’s eyes. If I hate it, I know that E. will be a very happy recipient of it, so money wasn’t completely wasted if it doesn’t work out.

We had to go and buy the ice-cream next since “Gubby”” was loosing hope of ever getting to the place. Afterwards we went in to the bookshop. I wanted to see if there was any funny book for learning colours. It has to be something that he imagefinds funny, but I did not find anything. But HE spotted a puzzle he really fancied. Lately he and “Boo” have been sitting watching Astrid Lindgren’s three films about “Emil in Lönneberga”. “Gubby” just loves them. Especially how “Emil” makes the little wood figures when he has been naughty and he loves the film where “Emil” gets to raise his very own pig and the pig goes with him everywhere.

He has never looked in the books about “Emil” but he knew right away that this was “Emil” and for some reason that a puzzle was inside! So I made my little boy happy by buying the puzzle, since he loves puzzles so much, and he had been such a good sport running around to all the shops to find the eyeshadow and then waiting for the shop people searching their stock rooms for it. As soon as we got home, he wanted us to open it and he has done the puzzle over and over now. It became quite big actually. On the box it looked like the pieces would be really small, but they are not. We also bought a little cover for “Boo’s” bus card with the same image as above. First I meant it to be for “Kitty”, since “Emil” acts like he has ADHD. But “Kitty” wanted to keep his not-child-like camouflage cover. No problem though! When “Boo” saw the “Emil” cover, he wanted it for his bus card, even though “Cookie” is always in charge of it. (Below: the puzzle)

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