Reality: What a concept

This week I attended a quarterly meeting to see how Alan is progressing toward achieving his goals.

We had mostly really good news. We finally have a good staff mix for Alan, and he is responding well to the people who have direct contact with him. He is getting up in the morning, showering, shaving, brushing his teeth. All without prompts. His room is staying tidy - again without prompts. What I glean from this is: He is happy, and his happiness is manifested in his desire to have a clean and tidy environment.

But, with an autistic adult (or child for that matter) there is often a disconnect from reality, as there is with Alan. He sees something and wants it, even if it does not belong to him. The fact that it does not belong to him only enters his mind AFTER he has taken it. Lots of his friends have lost their soft drinks this way. I know that this can lead to him taking things in other settings, which could potentially be very problematic for him.

He believes that all people he knows are there for him, whenever he sees them. One of his staff members works with another client on Sunday, but Alan believes this staff member is there for him. He becomes angry or upset when his staff does not take him out to eat, or to go get some coffee. Last weekend, Alan called me and told me he didn't want to come home on Sunday, because his staff would take him out that day. Of course, this did not happen, and Alan called again at 2:30 in the afternoon wanting us to come get him and take him out to eat. I said no, he would have to eat his own food, but I would stop by with some new clothes I had bought for him and visit for a little while.

I suspect once Alan understands that he has no staff person on Sunday (since that is usually our family day) he will once again want to come home. For now, he will continue feeling befuddled because his staff did not spend time with him on Sunday. Understanding will take a lot of time. Alan does not let go of ideas quickly. We'll see how long it lasts.


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