Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finding Mason...


When I speak to people about how my son Mason gets "lost" sometimes. I am usually given a half blank stare followed by the same old question.. "What do you mean Mason gets lost?"  Or,  "What do you mean you lose him?"  Getting lost is not a technical term relating to Autism, rather it is my way of describing a very real symptom. I managed to capture Mason's journey in some really poor quality photos this morning and would like to help you understand what I mean when I say, "Mason was lost," or "we lost him."

I walked into my kitchen this morning to find Mason standing on a chair staring blankly at nothing. The technical term here is perseveration. This is when a child get's "stuck" on something, or in Mason's case it would seem that he gets stuck "somewhere."  I like to explain it as Mason has gone into "Mason's world" where things are normal for him. Where he can more easily digest a complicated and over-stimulating world. At any rate, I saw that Mason was lost when I came into the kitchen this morning and reached for my camera to try to document with photos my journey into his world, and his travel back to ours.


This is Mason... lost. He wasn't staring at me, his is how I found him when I came into the kitchen. I know he is lost, because he does not 'snap out of it' or even so much as blink when I repeatedly call his name. He was in "Mason's World" internally. Externally, he was staring at nothing. I stepped in front of him, to put myself in his direct line of sight and began my journey into his world.

We have been working for a year now, on finding Mason when he gets lost. The episodes happen less and less frequently these days. Usually, no more than a few times a day and he is relatively easy to pull out of it. A year ago.. this was his constant. It was all but impossible to pull him out.

I start by positioning myself in his direct line of sight, and I sing. I vary my pitch, my facial expressions, the words and sounds. I move slowly within his line of sight. I sing songs that I have made up for Mason. Songs that I know he enjoys and that make him smile. I clap my hands and make clicking sounds with my tongue. I touch his face gently to let him know that I am here.

His softened facial expression lets me know that he is not so deep into his world as he was when I first began my journey. He is hearing, feeling and possibly even seeing me. I have made contact with him, on his terms, in his world. Now, I have to gently pull him back to ours. This may seem like a silly routine. Silly to speak of luring Mason back with songs and such. But this is a part of Autism, and of what works for us. A big part. The more time Mason spends in his world, the less likely he is to want to be a part of ours. It is necessary that we be vigilant in keeping Mason here.. with us.

I continue with my songs, my soft and welcoming smiles and my gentle caresses. I decide to test Mason.. to see if he is progressing in his journey back with me. I move slightly out of direct line of sight. His eyes shift toward me. He is now definitely seeing me, and I have gained his attention. The songs have worked again. *tears*  He is following me with his gaze. I keep on with the songs gently until I am sure he is comfortable in MY world. I continue until I know he is okay here and will not regress back into "Mason's World." It only takes a few seconds and I know...

I got him. He's okay.







10 comments:

Stacey said...

He is so adorable! I can't believe the change that I have already seen in him in just the last year..you are doing such an amazing job with him...he is SO lucky to have YOU as his Mom!!!

Susan Dupre said...

I can't believe how he is growing up so quickly. He is losing that baby face. :( I have to frown because I miss Hayden's so much. I am so happy he is doing better that this time last year. He is so fortunate to have a pro-active mother. Btw, how's it going with him and Matani?

Helen said...

Oh K!!! Firstly...how much has your little man grown!!!!!!!! He has lost his baby looks and is a real little boy. Secondly...a year! Yikes! Let me just say, I teared up reading your entry and think you are one amazing mother.

paulien710 said...

Oh my Krissy.... tears here too...
Thank you for sharing this pictures with us, it does help, to understand a little more.
He is just soooo cute, and you are such an AWESOME mom!!!!!!
I love you for that!

paulien710 said...

Oh my Krissy.... tears here too...
Thank you for sharing this pictures with us, it does help, to understand a little more.
He is just soooo cute, and you are such an AWESOME mom!!!!!!
I love you for that!

Sasha said...

Wow Krissy you made me tear up girl .. what a great post, and the pics are adorable.

xox
Sasha

Tracey said...

Fascinating insight into Masons world, AJ often loses concentration and disappears for a few seconds, we say he is on planet AJ, obviously not anything like what Mason goes through in his daily battle to comprehend our world and cope with his sensory overloads, you are one amazing mom and Masons progress is testament to your hard word and loving guidance, much love and thanks for sharing XXX

MamaSnapped said...

Hey! This is Lori from the photo challenge blog. I teach preschool Special Ed. and have some resources or roads you can take to get help for Mason. I read your profile about the insurance deal. What a pain!! Please, email me at lori@urisp.net.

Wendy said...

Oh Krissy what a wonderful way to explain Mason's world to us. I felt your pain with the diagnosis of Autism and feel the joy that these moments are fewer and farther apart, Yeah!! You are such a WONDERFUL Mother and I am so proud to know you!! Mason is so blessed to have you!! Hugs -Wen

mosbarger said...

Awww...he might be "lost", but he's darn adorable!!!!!! Beautiful pictures, and very cool that you documented this!!!!