Most of the differences that surface with autism aren’t life altering for us. In fact a vast majority of them weren’t even Autism connected until after we had the diagnosis and I began to remember or see them with different goggles. Before his diagnosis, we would just kind of see the differences as Obie being Obie.
With that said, Obie has one challenge that does impact him and the people around him in a profound way. He loses things. And that’s not a big deal- So what! I lose my keys about every third day! But when he loses or misplaces things he cannot move on. He can’t be distracted, he can’t be persuaded, he just can’t move on until it has been located.
We are trial-ing some suggestions from his therapist coordinator, but for now it is just tough. Imagine a house, with four kids, and small toys with tiny pieces or accessories. Now imagine a tornado has swept through the house- that was Beasty. Now imagine a boy who remembers every detail, can’t always convey what he’s looking for, and nears meltdown stage when he can’t find it. Friends, I know kids do this all the time. I know some kids have a harder time learning how to move on. But before you tell me it’s typical, just wait until it happens on your watch.
The word to describe this action, which manifests itself differently (or if at all) in a person with Autism is perseverate. Perseverating is, in essence, focusing on, saying, or doing anything past the point of it being effective. Kids are masters of persistence. Take any of them with you to the grocery store and you will marvel at their persistence. Perseverating is that, on steroids!
For us, it is usually object related, usually something he knows he had and can’t locate it. Oh, and just for fun, it’s usually super small- hand held type of items, that can be lost ANYWHERE!!!!!
And sometimes you run across people who just get that. They get that this is Obie and they do things like put penguin binoculars up high in a place no one will find it until Obie comes back and can have that toy that he loves so much. Friends who search high and low and for way too long so we can go back to what we were doing before the treasure was misplaced. Family members who offer to drive items to us, just to spare Obie the stress of losing something he wants.
And just like he knows what I’m talking about he has started to look for his construction guy. In the moments when Obie is yelling at me to help him find something, or having a super hard time with the fact that we left it somewhere, I have to remind myself that as hard as it is for me to distract him, it is way harder for him. It’s an inconvenience for me, but it is a stressful event for him. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll pour out the toy box for the 100th time this week 😂