Friday, April 4

Show & Tell Friday and More about Brandon's Autism

It's time for Show and Tell Friday. If you would like to participate, drop over to Kelli's at There's No Place Like Home.

I'm not sure if I've ever told you that I love roosters - not live ones so much but I love rooster collectibles. One day last summer I was at the dollar store and saw this beautiful rooster. It was the last one and I really wanted it. I looked at it for several minutes, knowing that this guy would look GREAT sitting on my side porch railing and then sat it back on the shelf. The owner of the dollar store saw me do this and offered me the garden ornament for less than half price. That was exactly the price I could afford and the rooster had a new home.

Last fall, I asked hubby to put this guy in the basement. I thought he had done so, but when I went looking for him this year, I couldn't find him. Hubby says he never put him in the basement. Well, I can bet your bottom dollar that he is down there, but since we have to go outside to get to the basement, I haven't been down there all winter. One day over the weekend I will take a look and I bet I find him. If not, he has found a home at someone else's house.

I want to tell you a bit more about Brandon's autism. Have you ever been in a store and saw a child throw a gigantic temper tantrum. I have, and before Brandon was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, I always thought, "If I was that child's mother..."

When Brandon was about just a baby, he began throwing what we thought was temper tantrums. Sometimes it would seem that it was over nothing. We couldn't figure out why he was doing this. Once he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, we knew that he wasn't throwing a temper tantrum, but was "melting down."

The first time I ever saw Brandon doing this, Grandpa and I were taking him out. He was about 7 months old. He was in his car seat in the back and he began screaming. I talked to him and tried to get him to stop, but it only got worse. Finally, I told my husband to stop on the side of the road so I could figure out what was wrong. I opened the back door - it was a hot summer day - and Brandon was soaking wet because of the heat and of course because he was screaming. I checked his clothes to see if something was picking or biting him. Nothing. I was bewildered. Finally I took off his shoes and socks, thinking that maybe his shoes were pinching him. Immediately he stopped crying. I thought this was odd, but though possibly it was the shoes.

Over time, we came to realize that when Brandon screamed like this that he was too hot. Though he seldom has a meltdown anymore, if Brandon gets too hot, he is always in a bad mood. For years he didn't know how to communicate his feelings. A simple, "I'm too hot" never came out of his mouth. He just acted out. It took us a long time to figure out why he acted like this.

When Brandon was about eight or nine, I was watching the boys one day after school. Brandon had been "acting out" for a few days. Michelle and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. It was a guessing game and a little like mind reading. When Brandon started acting out this particular day, my patience grew a little thin. (Yes, I am human.) I said, "Brandon, you have to tell me what is wrong." I was very frustrated and my voice very stern. He answered, "This hair! It's driving me crazy," and he pulled at his hair.

Because Brandon has a problem with heat, Michelle has his hair buzzed in an attempt to keep him cool. When Michelle came home, I told her what had happened and the next morning she took him and had his hair cut in a brush cut. That was the end of the acting out. His hair was literally driving him crazy, just as he said. Today when his hair gets too long, which can be only an inch on top of his head, he asks us to take him for a hair cut. He is now communicating his feelings.

It has been difficult to always know just why Brandon was "acting out." I have many more stories to tell, but they are for another day. So the next time you see a child throwing a temper tantrum in a public place, don't be too quick to judge. Yes, it may be an old fashioned temper tantrum, or it might be a sign that this child has a problem communicating his feelings and is "acting out."

Be sure to stop by Mary's Vintage Flea Market to find out what treasures I have up for sale this week and be sure to visit the other Friday Flea Market participants.

Have wonderful weekend and take a moment to do a random act of kindness. Sometimes all it takes is a smile to brighten someone's day. ~Blessings, Mary~


  1. Great message - dont be quick to judge. I find the publics attitude one of the hardest things to deal with. The latest 'in' thing is teenagers filming my son on their mobile phones. Im sure you can imagine how that makes me feel.

  2. I'm afraid that I was too quick to judge many times... when I saw kids acting out in the grocery store...or elsewhere...I just thought that the parent's were not making the kids mind...I have come to realize that there are always extenuating circumstances...
    thank you once again for opening our eyes to life....

  3. Mary, to say you're a blessing would seem somewhat cliche and yet it is true. You ARE a blessing! I'm sure Michelle appreciates you. Have you ever thought of putting this information into a book. I believe you could help a lot of folks both those with children with Asperger's and those who interact with them. What say you?

  4. Mary,
    That is one cocky rooster! Hope you find him....

    Thank you for further explanation of autism....though we don't have any family members with autism we have friends who have a grandson with it...

    Thanks for visiting with me...Betty

  5. I see that, and I also see that the parents are quick to judge sometimes also. I think now to myself, that perhaps the mom/dad/or both don't fully understand the concept of a special needs child!! They too have their wits grow thin and react in a very wrong way!!! If only you could have EVERY parent/grandparent read this, you'd fulfill a great need for us to understand better.

    LOVE the rooster. My daughter has a friend who collects roosters too, and her house is loaded with them, everywhere you look. Too much so, that while you're sitting there in a room with her, you can actually hear them cackle. I know, I know it's just my imagination, but I'd rather see roosters outside. rofl

    Have a great Friday dear Mary.

  6. Mary
    I like roosters too but have stopped the urge of collecting them. I would truly like some real ones roaming the hill but MIL does not like the idea so I will just take my McMurray Catalog and dream about a grand flock of birds.
    I will truly look at the child acting out in a different manner. Thanks for sharing. Peace

  7. Thank you Mary for all the info on Autism. Some of it I wasn't aware of.
    Maybe the Rooster carried himself to the basement!

    I love babies, too. We have none in our family at the moment. I would love to work in the nursery but that job always seems to be taken.
    I'm thinking of sending the journal on to you very soon. I haven't been as creative with it as I wanted to be because of feeling bad.
    Have a great weekend.
    Mama Bear

  8. Good post and very informative. I love the way you use real life stories to teach.

    I do hope your rooster has not found another home. ;)

  9. Mary,

    Good post on autism. I think putting all of this down in a book is a good idea. It would help many parents cope and understand about children not communicating whether their child has been diagnosed or not.

    I have a rooster almost just like yours that resides on the top of my fridge.:)

  10. Goodmorning Mary,
    Sorry I hit the wrong button and deleted my blog.Denise got me back on line again.
    I wish to thank you,for the very nice card and the words.
    God bless

  11. Where can I get one of those autism ribbons to wear....Mary

  12. Our son did some very very strange things when he was young too but was never diagnosed with anything. He is all grown up now and doing great!! He threw tantrums from 21 months to 7 years...then they just stopped!! He says he does not remember them. They were always directed at!! I have always wondered what was wrong!! Sandy

  13. What a great post today!! I have missed you so much!! Nancy got her stitches out and she thought it was going to hurt and was a mess by the time we went in to the room but we kept telling her No it wasn't going to hurt!! and it didn't !! So she is fine now!! Love you, Carolyn

  14. Very pretty rooster, Mary.

    I have never known much about autism, so thank you for writing about it, Mary. Thanks to you I feel I have a little better understanding of it.

  15. What a wonderful post and we should never judge. Thank you for sharing such helpful information.
    Your show and tell is cute and thank you for stopping by my blog! I will to save your blog so I can visit again:-)

  16. Thank you for teaching us some of the signs of autism. I too used to be very quick to judge when I saw a child in a store 'acting out' not knowing that this may be the problem. My neice works with high school age autistic kids and it has been a real eye opener for me and a much needed learning experience. We never should be so quick to judge but it seems to be a trait in so many of us.

  17. Hi Mary! I came over here to let you know that the metal wall pocket that you are interested in is still available. If you are interested let me know and I will send you a Paypal invoice for it. But once I got over here I began reading your blog. Thank you for sharing what you know about autism. You never know who may need this information to help them somewhere along the way.

  18. Thank you for sharing Brandon's story with us. I worked with two girls in school who have Autism, they are lovely and I learned so much from the experience.

    Love the rooster by the way.

    God bless.

  19. I definitely am a stickler for behavior and set the bar high for my older son, who is quite obedient and handles himself well in public. When my son Connor with autism came along, it was a whole new ballgame and meltdowns can come without warning. I realized that I cannot take him into certain stores because of the lighting or the noise. I learned that the hard way as I got many hairy eyeballs from other store patrons. I am learning to keep my chin up and not worry about others. It's hard.

    What a terrific post.