One of the things that I find fascinating about Jasan is what he ends up watching on YouTube. He has studied a million washing machines and agitators, hospital equipment, IV’s and medication, all about app ad revenue, vending machines, bill acceptors on vending machines, kids dumpster diving for electronics (oh my…) SO MANY ELEVATORS, elevator parts, elevator animations, getting stuck in elevators, keypad deadbolts, research on cell phones of ALL KINDS, computers (obviously,) how to program thermostats, cash registers, hotel tours, computer logos, LED signs, electronic fails, screensavers, Zach King magic, windows software videos, Microsoft blue screens of death, fire alarms and exit signs, golf cart racing, iPods, appliance unboxing videos, the science max guy, getting scammed on eBay, cell phone battery low alert tones, weather radios, tornado warnings, baby monitors, Lutron lighting switches, refrigerators, dishwashers… and all of this is just compiled from looking through the last 6 months of his YouTube history! Interestingly enough, arcade games made the list. He has been watching these two channels (Arcade Warrior and Arcade Matt) and they video themselves playing all the games and winning tickets at arcades near them. The claw machine is a big one.
The fascination with the claw machine surprised me for some reason. I guess I have never thought much about them and haven’t been a big arcade person myself. But let me tell you; you can find people in the world that are obsessed with anything and everything. Claw machines are major.
I love how he studies the claw from all angles, just like the guys in the videos. Because he is the master of memorization, scripting while playing is always a must.
(Scripting is a form of stimming. By definition: “Stimming is behavior consisting of repetitive actions or movements of a type that may be displayed by people with developmental disorders, most typically autistic spectrum disorders; self-stimulation. A coping mechanism.” I like to describe it as the INCREDIBLE ABILITY to sound EXACTLY like someone or something you have heard before. And, maybe it just makes him feel good!)
I wish he could meet these YouTube guys sometimes. They would be amazed at the knowledge he has of every little move they have made and words they have said in their videos. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.
If it makes my guy happy to take a five bucks to the quarter machine (another highlight) and get a handful of coins to practice his claw skills, I say, “Let’s find more arcades!”
Then there are the home versions…
A few videos for you… Jasan took the last one. Now that he is a bit older, he takes his own photos and videos ALL. THE. TIME. I love it. It’s cool seeing his perspective.
It’s been some time since I have sat here, at my computer, alone. It’s nice. Time to gather and get out many thoughts I have been having about a big subject; INTERACTION.
Woodfield Parking Garage
IT’S TIME FOR ME TO SHUT UP. I didn’t realize how much I fill in the “empty” spaces in conversation or explain behavior when Jasan is communicating with other people. If he is having a meltdown of some sort in a store and someone that may be nearby makes eye contact with me, I whisper, “He has autism.” It makes ME feel better. Basically, I need the other person to understand that I am not a shitty parent and that’s WHY he is acting out. I blame it on the autism. I know, I know. I should’t care what anyone else thinks. But damn! That is really hard to do when it feels like you have a hundred judgmental people giving you the evil eye while your child is hitting or yelling at you; especially times when I have been on the floor trying to restrain him. That brings looks for sure.
As he is getting older, I have been more aware of my behavior when it comes to these situations. I make a point to keep this thought forefront in my mind:
“The people around me don’t matter. My son does. He needs ME and my CALM voice. He needs me to be 100% present for him in this moment.”
It’s been working very well for me. The awesome thing? It’s interesting when I keep my cool and focus how many parents walk up to me and say, “I get it. You are a great mom. Don’t worry; it will get better.” Wow. Talk about different energy attraction! When someone says kind words in a moment of stress, it takes that uncomfortable feeling away. It confirms that I am doing the right thing for my boy. What’s better than that?
Most recently, with Jasan’s elevator obsession, we have been frequenting many different buildings. I give him a time frame and let him do his thing to his heart’s content. The interaction that goes on between him and others in the elevators is fun, but also not so much at times. As happy as he is in an elevator, there is a level of anxiety that also occurs for him. He gets very wound up and on edge. It’s hard to explain. Almost as if he can’t control his excitement, but certain chime sounds or the impending “nudge mode buzz” (when the door has been open too long and an alarm sounds) scare him to death. He will cover his ears and push buttons with his elbows when he thinks nudge mode may happen. People stare at him strangely. (This type of moment is my usual cue to mouth to other people “he is autistic.”)
But guess what?
His mama is not going to be standing over his shoulder all of his life helping people understand his sometimes odd behavior. He is growing up and the “he’s a cute little guy and no one cares if something seems off” effect is slowly working it’s way out of situations. Now he may just be the strange kid.
We have been a good team, I have to say. I am a really quick with comments to ease situations. I have surprised myself in that regard; I never thought I had that in me. He says something that makes no sense to anyone (but him and me,) and then I say something witty and people laugh. It all makes sense then. My embarrassment (which I hate to say even exists) goes away.
I don’t like saying that I am embarrassed of him (sometimes) because I totally, completely love who he is. Difference is, now I am getting used to being quiet. The buffer of opening my mouth so that other people understand the whole picture, is now gone. He doesn’t need a “team” anymore. He is 7 years old, and he must learn how to deal with people on his own. If they don’t understand and give him an off-putting look, then so be it. (He most likely won’t care in the slightest.) On the other hand, he can soak in the compliments from people who think he is the cutest “elevator man” ever. He is so polite and courteous; asking which floor that they are going to and letting them know he is pushing the door open button when they come in and go out.
One of the traits of autism is echolalia (repeating.) He used to copy my language before he was able to have conversations. Now he memorizes, down to every little detail and sound, the elevator videos he loves to watch on YouTube. He imitates what these guys say while we take rides. I know EXACTLY what he is talking about when he does this and I am amazed at the accuracy in which he mimics these guys! It’s crazy good.
An example…there are a lot of videos he watches off of one YouTube channel and the videographer is from Sweden (but speaks English.) In Swedish, the word “elevator” translates to “hiss.” “People” translates to “personer.” These two words are all over signs in elevators in Sweden (of course.) He will use these Swedish words when talking to people and they are very confused, obviously. Again, I am used to stepping in and explaining, but I have to stop. It is just going to be weird and that’s it. I am going to sit with it and change how I feel about it!
New perspective: It is going to be very interesting to see how he matures and learns how to respond/share his thoughts/information with people. As he gets older, more oddness will come forth in casual chat and he will learn to navigate. His mama is a pretty good conversationalist, so I can always give him tips on the side. 😉
I am very excited to have a growing Elevator Series of Following Jasan photography. I envision an elevator fan book down the road…
*Our favorite YouTube channel is the original, very first (of now thousands) elevator videographer. Andrew Reams, aka DieselDucy. He is a great guy that has Asperger’s syndrome (which is on the Autism Spectrum.)*
2295. That’s what Jasan and I term the office. This is the building where I work. I have a new job and I am loving it so much. Because I can’t entirely work a full day yet, (single mom, no daycare, the boy is done with school and off the bus at 3:15 pm,) I came up with the brilliant idea of working Saturdays.
I remember very clearly the couple of times I went to my dad’s office when I was young. He was a graphic designer in my early years, and he had the coolest office. Just the whole office environment was pretty darn awesome in my opinion. It felt so “adult” and it was a chance to, for a few hours, be part of someone else’s everyday reality that wasn’t mine. Obviously because it was my DAD’s reality, it meant a lot to me. Plus, being the artistic little girl that I was, I could not get over the massive marker set that he had. I’m not talking about Crayola or Sharpie kind of markers, these were the “professional artist” Prismacolor set of markers. Not to mention, I was not drawing on typical copy paper, it was those artist pads of special “drawing”paper. ha. (This was graphic design before computers took over!)
Now, with my son’s love of computers, and anything mechanical really, I figured he would love coming to the office I work in.
I was SOOOOOO RIGHT.
This Saturday will be week 5 of this experiment. I knew it would take a couple of Saturdays of just exploring with him and that I would not get any real “work” done. I was very correct about that. 🙂 But now, he knows what he wants to do when we go there and he LOVES it! (And, I can actually be productive.)
I am hoping to create a fun memory for him.
Oh man. The Canon. This puppy is a BIG hit. We hardly EVER use this tank of an old copy machine. But, Jasan has provided it some love lately because it is his new object of affection. I keep a special stack of “Jasan paper” that we keep reloading for his use. He does not care what is being copied. It is all about the sounds and the mechanics of the machine.
And then, Mama’s headset. (heehee. It’s just cute on him.) He was quite mesmerized by it at first. We call Grampie from the office every time and Jasan will mumble about turning computers on and off and Canon and copying, etc. (We are still not quite versed with talking on the phone. It’s pretty much a mystery to the person on the other end what the heck Jasan is saying, but it is adorable none the less. He is really trying!)
The conference room is way cool too. The computer in there is viewed on the big screen which is very handy when watching Wall.E videos on YouTube! He wears his noise canceling headphones because we also have a fancy coffee machine that is a bit noisy when you turn it on. And off. And on. 🙂
Because it is pretty much just us in the building on Saturdays, we can run down the hallway to the lunch room. Putting coins in the vending machine to get chips and Oreos (ha…his favorite!) is always a thrill. There is a key code to get into the restroom, and of course we have to spend a few minutes there each time as well.
I like that we have our Saturday “Mama’s office” routine. It fills him up with his time to explore, and I can get a few more things done that I wasn’t able to Monday – Friday with my limited hours.
And……..we are together. I love that more than anything.