Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday Night's Alright...

So I knew I had booked Saturday kind of full, but really, what choice do you have? Msk is a man of routines, so Saturday morning means practice with his Special Hockey team - the Baltimore Saints. This Saturday was the last Saturday in the build season of First Robotics season, so the high school students, me, and probably hubbie needed to spend some time in the robotics lab in said high school. Roller skating is an every Saturday routine for msk and behavior-dude. I had gotten tickets for a hockey fundraising game in the evening. Msk would play a single period, then he and I and msk's behavioralist (b-d) and b-d's significant other and her autistic client would watch a Hockey 4 Hope game between Caps alumni and police/firemen.

It was a packed day. I had not slept too well in anticipation, but reality was different.

I dropped the HSS (high school students) off at 9:00 and waited for the coach to open the door. Then it was off to hockey practice. The goal for the day was to avoid skating into the net during practice. Msk is totally drawn into enclosed spaces. A hockey goal and dog's crates seem to suck him in. We had worked out a plan where he could go in before and after practice, but not during practice. This seemed to work pretty well, with him shooting lots of goals and avoiding skating into the net - much to the goalies' relief. Unfortunately, after a correction (msk has a hard time with corrections) he skated into the goal two times. Still, he did a lot better than last week.

Next stop was picking up b-d and dropping him and msk off at the roller skating rink. Because of the evening's hockey game they were going to have to cut an hour off of roller skating. Unfortunately, this meant missing the birthday song routine (there are always lots of birthday parties on Saturday afternoon at this rink). Msk started getting upset, but I knew that b-d would handle it better than I could so I headed back to the robotics lab.

The stress was turning up at robotics, and I tried to figure out what I could do to help out after I had checked in with my HSS. Not long after I got a call from the Baltimore County police. My pulse started racing. "Can you describe your son?" I started to flip out with worry. Eventually I found out that someone had decided to call the police because msk was upset.

One of the joys of having a significantly autistic kid is that everybody seems to notice his behaviors and come up with a story that matches their judgement. With me, it's usually a matter of "why don't you discipline that child?" With b-d, who is a 6'3" African American male, the question turns into "Why are you kidnapping that cute little white boy?" My husband has put up with the sexism that says men shouldn't be around children - he's a stay at home dad. Add to that the whole racism of our society...

Anyway, b-d was pretty upset and my heart was still racing from images of msk getting hurt. Luckily, msk had calmed down by the time the cops got there and he didn't flip out. I felt pretty bad, but figured the day would get better.

The robot had other ideas. A shaft connection cracked and motors were overheating. It started to seem a lot like the stress of work with hard deadlines looming. It was getting towards the time I needed to leave so I called my husband. I explained that I was leaving our daughters and that he should plan on coming to help out as well as pick them up.

I quickly drove from the high school to the roller rink. Msk was fine (he had listened to the you tube of the birthday song). B-d was pretty bummed. A mixture of anger over racism and defensiveness towards msk's right to be upset if he is upset. We drove home to meet-up with b-d's significant other and her client to drive to the evening's hockey game. A little venting and listening to a Gil Scott Heron CD and everybody seemed to be ok.

We started driving to Laurel. The wind was fierce and I noticed some strange clouds after we drove through the Harbor Tunnel. After a while the traffic got weird and turned into stop and go. We were early so I didn't think much of it. Even when they forced us off I-95 I figured even if we were a little late everyone else would be too.

A car with two autistic young men could be a disaster, but with two behaviorists, an iPad and an iPod touch, we did fine. We eventually got to the road that the ice rink was on (phones with GPS are great!) only to be told the rink was closed.

We found a nearby Outback and had a uniquely autistic dinner. Not long after getting home husband arrived with the HSS. The robot was still being difficult, but better.

A long, strange day was over. I'm not sure if there's any point to this post. Sorry, guess I'm just rambling.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I'm always surprised at how easily and quickly people seem to call the police in the US, Wouldn't happen here I don't think.

    As b-d thinks, msk, like all of us, has a right to express how he feels (I tell my in-laws to stop trying to use "distraction" techniques when D is upset, if he is upset about something he is expressing his feelings at that should be acknowledged).

    Certainly sounds like a very busy day, and the robotics sounds fascinating.

    The reactions of others which are generally based on stereotypes are appalling!

  2. Hi Emma. Thanks for the comment. You know, I don't think anyone would have called the police if it weren't for the racism that underlies so much in the US. I don't think there's anything like that in your neck of the woods, is there?


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