Friday, June 21, 2013

Spectrum Parenting Tip: Rain With Fireworks

We live in Northern California where, compared to much of the rest of the world, we don't get a lot of Weather. That means that my son on the spectrum and daughter with sensitivity issues have not had to deal with a lot of rowdiness from Mother Nature.

About 10 nights ago, an unusual collision of weather fronts took place, with explosive results overhead (see video above; video courtesy of Michael Matson). I've been through storms like this, but not here, or with my kids. As things ramped up, both kids woke up, afraid. My daughter I could hold, and explain some of the science behind what she was seeing.

My dilemma, how to communicate with James. When he gets anxious, he tends to repeat things blindly and not listen to me. Lately, his innards start churning when he gets too anxious; if that state continues too long, he will become physically ill. Both the repeating and churning were going full force. I desperately was trying to think of a way to get through to him and explain what was going on as well as to reduce his anxiety. Autism ... visual ... concrete, literal understanding ...

Then I thought of something good to try.

"Hey, James - James! Remember Disneyland? Remember the fireworks? The bright lights and loud explosions? This is rain ... with fireworks!"

And it worked. Holy cow!

Boom! From right outside our room at the Letter Q Hotel.

For him, the storm then went from scary to Disneyland fireworks, with rain, right outside his very window. What an strange reason to be glad the kids have been to Disneyland so many times. But I'll take it.

The storm was a good one, by the way. We had lightning strikes a few blocks from our house. Power went out, and the house shook. A few times the bolts and thunder were instantaneous and huge. I was up for a good 2 hours, which is freakishly long for a T-storm in our area.

Both kids went back to bed after an hour, as soon as the main show was over. Even the car alarms going off didn't really bother them. After all, they're used to that after a fireworks show, and that's what they do when on vacation at the Letter Q Hotel, right across from Disneyland.


Unknown said...

Quick thinking JM - visual and understood with happy connotations! Nana

ekozel said...

JM, inspired! Well done!!