Sunday, 29 July 2012
Shortly after Ryan's first birthday we took a family vacation to Seattle to coincide with a friend's wedding. That week, we noticed Ryan spontaneously doing age-appropriate things he had never done before: clapping, waving, giving high-fives, actually putting food in his own mouth. This was all pre-diagnosis, when we were blissfully ignorant about developmental delays and whatnot. We just thought, "Neat! A change of environment can do a person good."
Like many folks on the spectrum, Ryan tends to form rigid behavioral patterns, but the behaviors tend to be associated with physical spaces, so taking him out of his usual environment sometimes jolts him out of those routines. So as much as I feared moving would stir up all sorts of problematic behavior, the move has actually shaken up Ryan's routine in a good way.
The last year we lived in our apartment, Ryan's favorite pastime was hiding his toys, then forgetting where everything was hidden - an activity Stu and I called Stupid Ball™. Since moving three weeks ago, we haven't played Stupid Ball™ at all.
For the last several months we lived in our apartment, Ryan's favorite toys to play Stupid Ball™ with were the plastic fish from one of those Let's Go Fishing games. Sometimes he would hide all 21 fish, but more often he would select one of each of five colors and camouflage them - blue fish in Blue Blanket etc. Since the move, only three of the fish have come into play, and nobody has been hidden.
Of course, with the new house he is developing some new routines. Our first week in the house, the balls on the pool table had to be arranged numerically at all times. Last week was all about hurling household objects into the pool and arranging Christmas decorations in the basement by the light of a flashlight. The major players this week have been six tiny rubber monsters.
Force Ryan out of his usual environment and he can really surprise you.