Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Learning more about Asperger's Syndrome

Today I have the flu.  I decided to stay in bed and rest as advised by my friends and family. BUT, as restless as I am, I turned on my laptop and searched for Asperger's documentaries to better understand my son K. You see, I have been struggling with him lately.  Unlike before, he's more withdrawn and would rather not share anything about what happened during the day.  He doesn't know it, but he hurts my feelings when he says : "I'd rather not talk about it". I know that the AS makes him blind to emotions because he simply doesn't recognize them, thus making emotions irrelevant. I find this hard to deal with but it's something I need to accept and work with everyday to prepare him for life.

Anyway, allow me to share with you a video I found on You Tube about a teenager with AS. Reuben is a lot like K, being very literal, the bullying, confusion in the supermarket, self-confidence issues. Among all the videos I've seen, this is the one I can relate to the most. And I hope that by sharing it with all of you, you can understand my K a lot better too.

A.A.A.D.D. - Help!

I really don't know if there is such as thing as Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder, but I can relate to the following joke and it's making me worry a bit:

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,

I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.

So I decide to put the bills
backon the table & take out the garbage first..
But then I think,
since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,

and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the
can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks,

but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don't accidentally knock it over.
The Pepsi is getting warm

I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold..

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye..
They need water.

I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,

but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote
someone had
left it on the kitchen table..

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,

I'll be looking for
the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs.
But first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers
Quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to
remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of
Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done,

I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,
and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,

and I'll try to get some help for it,but first I'll check my e-mail....

Goodness... This happens to me a lot. So if any of you find the correct diagnosis for this, do let me know. :(

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Big Step for K!

I'm quite sure that for most 13 year olds, going to the mall, and hanging out with friends on the weekend is a normal activity. This isn't so for my son K. Having  Asperger's Syndrome (AS), K has difficulty socializing. He isn't an introvert or anti-social. He is simply incapable of recognizing and responding to verbal cues from others.  A couple of years ago,  buying his own burger and fries at McDonald's was enough to make him sweat nervously and clam up.  He needs to rehearse what he needs to say to the cashier before he gets in line to order. It takes him forever to muster up the courage to get in line.  Lately, I've been "training" him to buy the stuff that he wants so he has no choice but to do it.

I was excited and nervous when he told me that his good friend A invited him to go to the nearby mall and play network games. K, got down all the details of the "play date" and relayed them to me. I was happy that he finally had the urge to go out on his own for the first time, but I was a little sad that my boy was now turning into a little adult.  

Saturday finally arrived and noticeably, K woke up earlier than normal for a weekend. I could tell he was trying not to look to eager. When I dropped him off at Starbucks, A wasn't there yet and I was so uneasy. I gave him my last instructions: to keep his cellphone handy, to text me if they changed venue, to eat lunch, to keep his money in one place, to pay only for stuff he consumed, to make sure he got the correct change, to eat a healthy lunch, to look both ways before crossing the road, to practice his eye-contact with the cashiers...Gosh, the list would have went on if A hadn't arrived. And when he did, it was time for me to let him go. 

Things didn't go so well for me from 12:30nn till 3:00pm. I tried not to worry too much and just enjoy lunch and window shopping while waiting for him to text me to meet him and go home. He did text me when they left Starbucks to play games at Timezone, and he did text me when the had lunch at Mc Donald's, and He did text me when they were done eating and moved to Netopia to play online games. BUT I didn't hear from him after that.  And that's when I started freaking out. I called him and texted him, no answer, no reply. It was past his curfew so I decided to just go to Netopia and  pick him up. When I got there he was sitting in front of a computer with a HEADSET on. That explained it. 

Should have put the phone on vibrate...
K still has a long way to go. After his first day out alone, I realized I needed to give him a crash course on street-smartness. I have to admit,though I have my ideas on what real-life activities/scenarios I have to train him on, I'm not quite sure how to guarantee success. BUT,I will not stop trying until I can get him to buy his own burger steak without breaking a sweat.   

Friday, August 6, 2010

Green Sneakers at last!

I'd like to think that there is still something I can do to help save what's left of our dear old mother earth. I've been bringing my own shopping bag to the grocery and refusing plastic bags when I buy something from the nearest convenience store. I have been trying to reduce my use of drinking straws as much as I can (speaking of which, can't someone invent reusable ones already?) and just recently got myself a pair of green shoes. Yes, they are literally and figuratively speaking, GREEN.

Enter Simple Shoes, the first biodegradable shoes I've encountered so far here in the Ph. I was going to buy a new pair anyway and the designs were interesting so I decided to try some.

The soles of these shoes are made from the recycled rubber of tires and the laces are made from PET bottles. They use HEMP  to make the body of the sneakers (no, I did not attempt to light up my shoes) because it is one of the strongest and most breathable fibers available and apparently one of the easiest and fastest products to grow in different climates.

These shoes were made with Eco-Pure, a substance that helps the biodegradation process in usually non-biodegradable products,making what usually takes 1000 years to decompose in a landfill take only about 20 years.

 I admit the impulse buyer in me was quite fascinated by the novelty of biodegradable shoes and I'm sure that it's all part of a marketing strategy, that I finally gave in after trying on my first pair. I still have to get used to it though. The insoles are cushioned that makes it comfortable initially, although my ankles are complaining  from the constant brushing from the sides.Maybe my ankles are too big, maybe I should've gotten a pair of Hi-cuts,but over-all at price a little over than your basic chucks but less than nike frees, I'm happy with my green sneakers. I could wear them everyday. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The Recto Train
A and the LRT Ticket
I've lived in Metro Manila all my life and never been to Ongpin. Shame on me, I know. I just never had any time (or interested friends to go with) until now. So, one Saturday, Alice, Oh, Rhy and I decided to go on an Ongpin food adventure. We took the LRT 2 from Cubao to Recto. You can go through Gateway Mall from the MRT (the one that goes through EDSA) to get to the LRT 2. 

The four of us met up at the Isetann Mall close to the Recto stration and got on the jeep going to Divisoria (P7.00) and got off at the Aranque Market entrance. From here we could easily navigate through the Binondo Food Wok Map which I borrowed from my officemate Kat and find our way into the heart of Ongpin.
Thanks to my dear officemate Kat, we had a Binondo Food Wok Map to help us through to get to the heart of Ongpin.

Sights, sounds, and smells of Ongpin!
The streets were narrow, traffic everywhere, the heat was really on! But we happily strolled through it knowing that good food and unusual wares were ahead of us. Here are some of he few things we chanced on:
Entrance to Chinatown fronting the Sta. Cruz church
Luscious red cherries which I couldn't help buying for myself
Grapefruits, nectarines, peaches, and pomengrantes
Ube inspired firetruck c/o Mr. Eng Bee Tin

Chinese knick knacks everywhere
Food Trip starts now!
All the interesting sights were amusing but we were getting hungry. It was lunch time and we have yet to try the most recommended restaurant (by my friends, that is) Sincerity - famous for it's fried chicken.Yum!
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. 

Modest facade, scrumptuous food!
So much food so little time! - Shang Hai food store...
...where they sell delicious fried siopao, fresh from the pan!
 We walked around some more, and visited the Binondo church...

After saying a prayer, we sought the ever-famous Eng -Bee-Tin store.  We just had to buy delicious ube and monggo hopia, tofu chips, haw flakes, and everything else! Eng-Bee-Tin is located in the heart of Ongpin across the Binondo church.

So many choices!
It wasn't a surprise that we got hungry all over again seeing all the food stalls and restaurants we passed.  It was hot  out and we decided to get a cooler.  We chanced on Rosso Cafe' located at Sabino Padilla St., known for its specialty shakes and iced drinks. 
From left: Banana-Coffee, Strawberry, Banana, and Mango shake! Best of all, free wifi!
But, the cold drinks left my good friend Alice wanting.  Luckily for her, just across the street was Ang Tunay na Beef House.  We were all game to try eating something new,  so we went in.  And we weren't disappointed:
Delicious beef noodles from Ang Tunay na Beef  House!
Oh and Rhy couldn't help but order another serving of yummy siomai. Best of all, the hot tea was free. :)
 After stuffing ourselves with the sights, smells, and tastes of Ongpin we decided that one day wasn't enough to get a fill of what it had to offer. Binondo gets 5 stars from me!