Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 15, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 18, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fireplaces, Candles, Backpacks, Garage Doors and Ski Pants

Children diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome often suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

With my son Nicholas, his OCD has manifested as a deep love for some very unusual objects. Some of his favorites include: fireplaces, candles, backpacks, garage doors and ski pants. Our home has become cluttered with large collections of most of these items.

Nick's precious candle collection
As a parent, I struggled at first to understand the basis for these obsessions. Then, pretty soon, I learned to embrace the behavior, realizing that it is truly these simple things that give my son the most pleasure in life.

I find these things to be very helpful transition tools, like when we are in a rush to get into the car. I simply ask him to pick out a backpack or candle that he would like to take with him. Usually, this avoids any tantrums, meltdowns or I don't want to go's! Unfortunately however, sometimes just picking out his favorite item can take a long time and I have now defeated my own purpose of getting him into the car quickly.

Just a few of his favorite backpacks
 These obsessions can also be very funny... like last year during Halloween. Nicholas, dressed as Jeff Gordon, would go to each house and ring the doorbell.

"Ding Dong"

Some unsuspecting home owner opens the door.

"Trick or Treat" shout Weston and Nicholas in unison.

The homeowner reaches for the bowl of candy. This usually satisfies most children as they bury their hands greedily into the bowl of chocolate and sugar. Weston is no different and he digs around looking for the Kit Kat bars. But Nicholas on the other hand......is just not interested (not yet anyway)

Suddenly the small voice in the Jeff Gordon costume asks...

"Do you have a fireplace?"

The electric fireplace Santa brought for Nick last year.
Caught completely off guard, the homeowners answers,

"Ahhhhh, yes."

Still not satisfied with the information, Nicholas continues,

"What color is it?"

This is when I stand back and smile as I watch the dumbstruck homeowner try to answer this most unusual line of questioning.

"I uhmmm errr well it is red." they usually try to answer.

Nicholas continues......

"Do you have a garage door?"

"Uhhhmmmmmm, yes" the owner replies

"What color is it?

And this was pretty much how we spent all of Halloween night last year. My only regret was that I didn't bring my video camera. Some of the confused expressions from puzzled homeowners were priceless!

I am anxious to see what kind of questions this Halloween will bring!


Nicholas and I have a game we like to play.

He likes to raid my hall closet, looking for ski pants he can try on. We have amassed quite a few pairs over the years.

He tries them on and pretends he is going to work like Daddy.

Unfortunately, this leaves my hallway and closet in constant disarray.

He pulls them out.......I put them away.........he pulls them out....I put them away......and so it goes!

1 comment:

The Henrys said...

Take the video camera this year, that would be great to watch!

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