Monday, September 25, 2006

The bionicle game...

B is officially obsessed with the new online bionicle game at the lego site, which he has dubbed "VNOG" (Voya Nui Online Game). When he's at home, it's about all he wants to do. This would normally be pretty annoying except that B's obsession with this game is not manifesting itself the way his past obsessions have... which is interesting. Most games that B gets into get harder & harder in such a way that he's alternately frustrated to tears & then elated, followed rapidly by frustration. He usually needs one of us to sit with him during the frustrating bits, giving suggestions & holding his hand. Eventually both C & I burn out & B finally gives it all up, at least for a while. He's come back to some of these games when he's older & done better, but sometimes by then they're too easy... sigh.

This game, though, seems to be challenging B just enough to be interesting but not enough to be horribly frustrating. He's hit a seeming dead-end a couple of times, & needed some help from us, but not of the hand-holding type. Sunday morning on the way to church B was describing the latest frustration (being hit by hostile critters from all sides), & I asked him if there was someplace where he could wedge himself into a corner & take them on one at a time. He thought about it & said he thought there was. When he got back to the game after lunch he tried my suggestion & it worked (he kept saying "mom, you are brilliant!" which was gratifying :). Other than the relative lack of frustration, the other difference we see in B's behaviour while playing this game is that, although he really does want to play it all the time, he is good-natured about being asked to stop for a bit & do something else. We're not comfortable with him being on the computer constantly, but sometimes it's a real battle to get him to release from a game once he's started playing. There's a timer next to the computer & in the past he's been allowed 3/ 25-minute sessions (represented by 3 quarters) a day, with the possibility of earning more quarters by riding his bike, helping mow the lawn, & the like. Having it set up very strictly has helped B transition between computer time & non-computer time without getting upset about having to stop. Over the summer B wasn't playing on the computer as much & this system kind of fell away. I had him set the timer for 30 minutes of computer time while playing over the weekend & he was pretty good about transitioning, but he's also been doing nearly as well when we haven't had him use the timer. C & I were talking about B & the game last evening & we are both pretty impressed by how well he's managing this obsession. It will be interesting to see what happens when he finishes the game (whenever that will be... it seems endless).

School is still being fine-tuned in many ways. Last Friday there was a Mudkip emergency (Mudkip being the pokemon stuffie that had come to school in B's pocket to be his companion that day). Mudkip fell out of B's pocket & went missing for a while, but B finally found him in one of his safe places (a broom closet... not sure I want to ask why he's hanging out in a broom closet...). I am still trying to figure out just how Mudkip managed to fall out, since he fit pretty snugly in B's pocket, but it seemed obvious that we needed a new system. So I suggested that B go back to wearing a belt pack. For a lot of last year B wore Rufus in a belt pack at school & just took him out at free time. I had been concerned that if B held Rufus under his armpit all day (his usualy place), he might at some point need 2 hands to do something & set Rufe down somewhere & leave him, with hysteria resulting, so B agreed that the belt pack was a good idea. Today we found a newer one & B put Plussel & Minun (more of the pokemon stuffie gang) in it, plus some pokemon cards to trade with his friends. That he was still wearing it when I picked him up was a good sign :)

When we got to school B & I sat down with Cherie to continue brainstorming ideas to help B with the transition from Spanish class to Music on Tuesdays & Thursdays (not much progress there). Cherie also mentioned that the all-floor meetings on Friday afternoons are not going well for B, since the noise & crowd of people seem to be overwhelming him. B was all for my picking him up early on Fridays... I was more interested in finding a distraction that might allow him to be there & peripherally hear what's going on, like reading a book. B became rather grumpy at this idea, so Cherie said they'd keep working on it.

I had a quiet day while B was at school. Did laundry, printed some full-sized pictures of garden flowers to use as origami paper, watched a movie while finishing a knitted rug for the bathroom. I'm feel like I'm going to be processing my father's death for a while, so I'm taking it easy for a bit. One thing that I'm excited about is having gotten a date to do a service at church... I've been thinking all summer that I'd like to speak about autism advocacy & our personal journey with B in a sermon at church (we have a lay-led service once a month), & I finally spoke to the friend who schedules the lay-led services about getting a date. She was very happy that I wanted to speak & gave me November 26th, so I'm officially on the calendar. I thought about sermon titles all day & I've tentatively settled on "Greetings from Autismland: myths & realities of raising an autistic child". I hope you don't mind my borrowing "Autismland", Kristina! It's a lot more descriptive than "Greetings from the New Republic"... :) I have a feeling that this sermon is practically going to write itself... I have so much that I want to say!


At 8:48 PM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

I am more than honored---you must share your sermon---wish you could be at the Oct. 27 autism and advocacy conference in NYC!

Charlie has just the same pattern of obession and frustration with games and toys. Things are too hard and need my help (not really wanted by him) and then too easy and boring. Kudos to you for figuring out what to do in the game---Had never thought of origami-ing print-outs of flowers etc. Look forward, too, to those results!

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Lisa/Jedi said...

Mega-thanks for your kind permission, Kristina! I will post the sermon after it's written :)


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