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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wii chronicles and does it ever get easier to hear about your kids deficits

Ok, Ok, we'll work on something
else today, no more Wii. I get the point 
I think maybe we should give up trying to teach J to play Wii. We had another AWESOME morning working at it today. This morning I didn't get physically maimed, don't worry. We actually tried  (well tried to try) another video game system. A really wonderful generous friend gave it to us when I expounded on our Wii troubles with J. She gave us her son's V-tech with ten games. It's much more skill level appropriate for J. Her son has Autism too and had the same trouble with learning to play Wii.  Although I'm pretty sure she hasn't received any facial wounds trying to teach her kid.

After much ado with wiring and near TV destruction via dropage the game system was ready to go. We even gave it a go round without the therapist to check out the features and get used to the functioning. He actually did fairly well even though he didn't exactly win at Scooby-doo logic ball. All was well unnntttiiillll I tried to get it going this morning. I turned it on and it flashed this glowing bluc logo at me 

aaaaaaaannnnnnnnddd that was all it did for the next fifteen infuriating minutes. So I did what I always do when something breaks and I cannot fix it by getting gas, I called the hubby. He seemed to be able to get the thing working when we last tried. What do I get from him, "I'm busy". "I'll be home in a fifteen minutes". To give him his credit he was actually at work but the therapist is sitting on my couch billing me for EVERY MINUTE while I fiddle with this stupid thing so I'm feeling a certain sense or urgency.

At this point I pull J into my lap hug him and joke to J that video games aren't going to be his "thing". I tell him "you'll cure cancer or be an astronaut but you'll never learn to play video games" (so forget the flight simulator, its crash or fly for you kiddo, don't worry I didn't really say that). The therapist jokes that the universe doesn't want it to happen and part of me agrees with her and universe.

Suddenly J says "Mario Cart". I'm like "you want to play Mario Cart"? He says "yes". So with no small amount of trepidation, I step it up. Of course by time it's set up Hubby comes home. The therapist, Hubby, and myself try, gently to persuade J to switch back to Vtech. The idea is the more success he achieves on a simpler system could build towards the harder system and of course he doesn't want anything to do with this, of course.

We do a few rounds of Mario Cart with some success, this time he mostly pushes one button without lots of prompting. He's also holding the steering wheel nearly independently (but not steering). He's also not sliding down our bodies trying to evade this unpreferred activity, screaming or throwing (moving up in the world). So at this point my job (or who ever the adult that is helping him) is too give simple verbal directions (turn left, we are turning left now, etc, etc, etc), help him steer, give lots of verbal praise and remind him to push that one freaking button when it slackens under his grip. Since Hubby is home he took a few turns "coaching".

All the while the therapist is sitting watching. She gives us verbal directions while we give him verbal directions. She thinks we should give him only two choices of characters, which I think is stupid, those choices are half the novelty and fun of the game. J asks Hubby for Bowsers castle, which is a really challenging course that the Hubby traverses without J so much as touching the buttons. While she lectures me on how this game is too complicated. How its to much sensory information to process. She reminds me  that cognitively he's more like a two or three year old. All of these points  are reminiscent of our conversation shortly after he walloped me in the face during our last Wii session.

You want WHAT!
 I have to admit I'm frustrated. We want to him to learn to play Wii. Kids his age play Wii. His peer group and the kids that are around us all the time play Wii. His brother plays Wii. And most importantly he WANTS to play Wii. Last year two weeks before Christmas, he suddenly overnight became obsessed with Skylanders. Long story short after Mrs. Claus had prepared for Christmas she had to return the "preparations" and re-prepare with Skylanders. Of course Christmas morning we popped it in and tried to get him to play and the rest is history.

Here is what happens now, Daddy and brother play while he watches. Lately he hasn't even been watching. He'll get on or go build Lego's quietly in his room, by himself. He doesn't even get to play the game he so desperately wanted. When we have playdates he is pushed to the side. He can't play and they know it and so they don't include him. His brother is five, he doesn't want to tutor his older brother (or any other kid for that matter) on how to play video games.

As game time ends I contemplate all this. I drive J to therapy at our local church where our therapist will work with him one on one teaching him tasks like holding a pencil correctly and following three step directions. I come home to work on my various domestic tasks (and online BS). Later Hubby shows up for lunch and says to me "How much did that sting"? Hearing that he is two to three years old cognitively. Of course I've been hearing things like this for how long now? I said "yeah, now do you understand why I'm afraid of putting him in a first grade inclusion classroom"?

No answer.

I'm so wishing it gets easier. I want to believe someday I won't have to hear he is less than half his age cognitively speaking. I want to believe that not only can he cure cancer but that he can play video games too. Is that too much to ask?

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