Sunday, November 9, 2008

Little red caboose chug chug chug

Today we went to the MSU pavilion because there was a giant train show. We have gone to this before but it's been a few years. It is HUGE! When Todd asked Daniel this morning if he'd be interested in going he screamed YES!!! It opened at 10:00 am so we were going to get on it and get there early. Which we actually did!!

Let's give some background. For those of you who are not familiar with autism, I have never met a child on the autism spectrum who did not LOVE trains. Love love love. I can't explain the love. At one of the very first autism conferences I went to the Dr. talked of this fascination. His theory is that they love linearness (is that a word?) OK, things lined up. Little kids on the spectrum are always lining things up. Trucks in a row, whatever it is. I find they are the same type of item. For example, hot wheels cars, dinosaurs, etc. (all also favs of kids on the spectrum!) Trains are naturally all in a row on their very own. And they MOVE. When Daniel was little he would move a car or something from just outside his peripheral vision then across his eyes. It is a stimulation. Occasionally he still does this with his hands. Not too much though. Here he is at the show doing this in a somewhat natural way.

His face is close to the glass and he is waiting for it to travel through his field of vision. This was his favorite table as they had "the best tunnel". And even greater excitement is watching a train travel down the track all neat in a row THEN watch it enter and exit a tunnel! Wow now THAT is excitement. He was almost shaking! We of course ran into one of the boys who is in his group speech therapy that we attend on Monday nights. There they mostly practice things like conversation etc. He did insist on running over to say hello to him and his dad. So this should be a nice conversation at group tomorrow!! It was NOT too surprising that we saw someone from the group though! LOL!

Here is my sweetie in front of one of the first exhibits we saw. The trains were quite large and one of them had smoke coming out of the engine. (on purpose!) He really enjoyed this. They had mats around it that you could kneel on and look. Unlike the last time we were at this show, Daniel did a GREAT job "looking only and not touching". He would have his hands shoved in his pockets so he wouldn't be tempted. These guys are very serious about their trains and they don't want anyone getting too close or touching. Daniel was even really good this time if something happened to one, like it came apart or they had to stop it to adjust it. He wouldn't get mad or upset. He understood they had to do that sometimes! Now that's progress! We even saw one train enthusiast inadvertently crash two of his trains. He didn't realize they were on the same track! While this was somewhat disturbing , he handled it well.

This was a huge exhibit made entirely of LEGOS. The trains, the buildings, everything. It was amazing. Now while a LOT of kids on the spectrum love Legos, especially the Asperger kids, Daniel does NOT. He appreciated the fact that this was entirely built from Legos, but they are not his thing. In fact. . . . if loose Lego pieces are laying around he GAGS at the sight of them. Does anyone else have this or any other inanimate object that makes them gag? I'd like to hear from you! I have something stored deep in my brain that this happens sometimes, but I can't quite remember. Now don't tell me it's because he choked on one as a little kid or something. That is not it. There are some things he just gags with. Usually it's a food, and usually he has never tried it, but it's the smell of it. But Legos, that's a whole different thing. . .
The train show was a success. Daniel found a $5 DVD he wanted BAD! That will probably be the best $5 I have ever spent. It is trains driving around on tracks. He'll spend hours and hours over the next years watching it. OK maybe in the next weeks, but I don't want to admit he may watch that much TV on the weekends! Zachary desperately wanted a tank he saw? I bought it for him. I even had to talk the guy into letting me write a check, because I was out of cash. I talked him into it. In fact it was such a success, it has me thinking, do we want to get a small electric train kit for the basement? Would he go nuts if it had to keep being readjusted? I think he'd be better than at any time ever before. All he'd need is a circle with a tunnel and I THINK he'd be set. Hmmmmmm. Just maybe.

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