Summer in the City



Typical children usually enjoy their long summer break and once they are teenagers they do not need much supervision; that is not the case with people with more severe autism. Most kids with this kind of autism are counting the days till they can go back to school. 
 In the US, many such people have an extended school year, which keeps them occupied, but this does not exist in most of the world.  The US actually has a very short standard school year, just 180 days; in Japan they are in school for 220 days a year.


This year Monty, now age 15 with ASD, has been much more energetic since he started taking a little scoop of Agmatine before breakfast, 11 months ago. He now completes a lot of physical activities, by anyone�s standards.
He enjoyed running at school last year and was good at it, so I started taking him to a running track in the holidays. It is 1.2km (0.75 miles) long and runs through a forest, so it is mostly out of the sun.
The first step was to decide not to run with him; one risk of having so much 1:1 attention is that you grow up not being able to cope without it.
People with autism do wander off, they get side-tracked, they can get into awkward situations with strangers, but at the same time you do want your child to develop independence. Monty had a yellow shirt on and by standing in the centre of the running circuit; I could see him much of the time through the trees. Since the circuit has a red surface and most people are running the same way around it, it would be hard to get lost.
Monty never got lost and just counted out loud the number of each lap, as I waited at the start point. We soon agreed that running four times round the track is what he would do.  After a pause and a shower it was off for swimming and he now does this quite seriously.
Monty�s school assistants come in the summer, and they also got into the exercise program.  Monty never mastered riding a bicycle till this summer, but after two months of practise in the mornings, today he made a 7km (4 mile) circuit round a lake.
Another day he made two laps (14km /8 miles) on rollerblades.
This level of activity might be nothing special for a typical teenager, but it is a big change for Monty.  It is also very hot - 33 Celsius/92 Fahrenheit, when he is out.
It is much easier to be accepted by typical teenagers when you have some skills they can relate to, even if big differences remain.
One morning Monty was out with his assistant where a basketball team were having their training run on another circuit. These were large 2m (6 foot 6 inches) tall giants, compared to Monty. What would they make of his intrusion into their training? Monty�s assistant explained to the basketball coach and then every time Monty completed a lap and shouted out the lap number the older boys cheered.  That is what I call inclusion and everybody was happy.
Exercise has numerous benefits and where we live most children are very active; overweight kids are a tiny minority. Some do take it to extremes; Monty�s friend from the Netherlands came to visit and told us that her 16 year old sister is cycling to Rome (1,600 km or 1,000 miles). As you might expect, they are both tall and slim.





No comments:

Post a Comment

Ketones and Autism Part 4 � Inflammation, Activated Microglia, CtBP, the NLRP3 Inflammasome and IL-1�

This series of posts on ketones and the ketogenic diet (KD) is nearly finished and I am glad that I made favourable comments about the KD ea...