Friday, 16 May 2014

Spiderman, and the Amazing Ted and Monty

Age-appropriate behaviour is not something you can really teach a child with autism.  In the toddler years, so many other children are behaving "badly", that nobody is really bothered by other toddlers with their autistic behaviours.  As children get older, the limits of acceptable behaviour change and it is then that many kids with special needs gradually get left behind. 

Monty, aged 10 with ASD, has a classmate from Angola called José.  Monty’s big brother, Ted aged 13, goes to the same high school as José’s big brother Eduardo.
Yesterday was José’s birthday party and so I decided to ask Ted if he would go to the party and look out for his brother.  Prior to this Monty always has had a parent close by, in full view, in case of need.
It turned out that the plan was to go to see a movie, Spiderman 2.  Ted had already seen it and said that it is really long; nearly two and half hours, and he thought that no way was his brother going to sit through that.  Also, it is not a baby cartoon film, it is PG13.
So we turned up at the mall as agreed at 5.30 pm, but it turned out that the film started at 7pm and before that the kids were to roam around a toy store before food at McDonalds.  That meant that they would finish at 9.30pm.  How was Monty going to survive 4 hours of big boy’s birthday party, with no Dad?
Ted is a typical teenage boy and so hanging out, in public, with an autistic brother is not something he wants to do.  In fact, he complains if I ever bring Monty to collect him from school.  I keep telling him that there is no need to feel embarrassed; the other kids just say “hey look, there’s Ted’s brother” and then some of the girls usually come and hug him.  There are no silly comments.
So for the first time ever, Ted would be alone with Monty, and for FOUR hours.
Ted did have a mobile phone and I was always in the building, getter further away, as the time past.

The result
Monty roamed the toy store with the gang of kids, had his Happy Meal at McDonalds, then the all-important birthday cake.  Ted made sure Monty visited the toilet and then all 15 of them went to the multiplex.  Ted bought his brother popcorn and they went inside.  At 9.30pm they all emerged with smiling faces.  Monty was happy, Ted was happy and nobody was embarrassed.

This is quite a step up from seeing the matinee performance of Rio 2 with Dad the weekend before; I think you could call it age-appropriate behaviour.
Without the Polypill, this would not have been possible, and we would have been home by 7pm, or even worse, we would have said “far too late to have a party, on a school day”.    

So it was a case of the Amazing Ted and Monty, rather than the Amazing Spiderman.

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