Although Noah doesn't have an official diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder he has lots of autistic type behaviours, he also had infantile spasms as a baby which is strongly associated with autism. We brought back a fantastic DVD from the states which hasn't yet come to NZ called "Temple Grandin" it is about a very intelligent woman who is autistic and is able to explain many of the behaviours and misunderstandings that autism causes.
So as a toddler and younger school child Noah was fascinated by bead toys (we especially didn't buy one for home until this obsession was lessening, as it meant he was always quiet in the paediatric waiting room which had a big bead set!)
He also used to like strings to trickle through his fingers and loved us to arrange the hosepipe round the garden so he could run along the path.
The behaviours have now changed into looking at maps and mazes and turning on the hosepipe and wetting everything whenever he can, but the past few days the behaviours have led to some difficult issues (for us - never for Noah!)
On Saturday I let him sit with the ipad looking at Google maps - he likes to find a long road and just keep following it along. I didn't check on him for too long a gap and so he got bored and peeled off and screwed up the life time guarantee Zagg screen shield that we had specially bought while in America and paid to have put on (a very fiddly job and a wait of 24 hours before using). So we were left with an Ipad that we couldn't let the boys use - and Isaac (who actually talks a bit when he's using the Ipad) was suffering as much as Noah.
Next morning, Sunday I decided to give the boys a bath before church and was puzzled that the water was only trickling out the tap. Paul had the bright idea that maybe Noah had turned the hose on and went downstairs to check. He found Noah had indeed turned on the hose which he had put through the garage window so the garage was slowly flooding. Thank goodness we discovered it so quickly, with the only damage being a few damp Christmas decorations!
We got to church, without of course the Ipad to keep Noah quiet (he doesn't go to the chidren's programme because of his behaviour) and luckily the pages of the Bible were just the right consistency for him to run through his hands (and it looks much more holy than the telephone directory his other book of choice!)
I managed to find a Zagg screen cover and an otterbox case for the Ipad on trade me so was very pleased (both these are essentials for using the Ipad for children with special needs and both are hard to get in NZ) and Noah was supposedly punished by being told he couldn't use the Ipad for 2 weeks (I hardly know why I do this as he learns nothing through consequences - it just makes me feel I am at least making some attempt to impose discipline)
Today Noah hadn't arrived home from school 25 minutes after it finished (we can see the school over the back fence and it is less than a 5 minute walk). I knew he would be thinking about maps and walking along routes he had planned but still got quite worried, phoning the school and Paul and sending Hannah out to search the roads for him. A teacher found him by the main school entrance, but when we talked to him he had crossed a main road twice and gone down an alleyway to a nearby crescent.
I have tried to tell him off and will collect him from school from now on (hard tomorrow as I'm at the hospital with Isaac) but its hard to get him to understand how worried we get when he disappears because he thinks we can read his mind and just know what he is planning.
It is so good to just talk to other parents of children with special needs sometimes just because they understand how different and much more stressful and expensive life is living day by day with our kids.