In a time long ago, I use to hit the casinos quite a bit. What can I say? The idea of becoming an instant millionaire appeals to me. The games are fun and the little bells going off...exciting! Once I even won $850.00 off of $20.00 on the Wheel of Fortune game. Steak dinners for everyone!
Anyway, one evening while strolling through a casino in Tunica I noticed a slot machine that had been roped off by yellow caution tape; the type that is used at a crime scene. I had to ask. One of the attendance on the floor told me that a gentleman had just died there. Oh my...how? why? Well, he had sat there so long playing the machine (probably drinking and smoking at the same time) that he had a heart attack.
What does this have to do with autism?I am convinced that Chucky Cheese exist to teach little children how to gamble. It reminds me of a miniature casino. The same atmosphere exist; games with lights and bells, food, drinks, excitement for little children. Let's face it...video games are fun. We all play. My current favorite is Spider Solitaire. But there is a time and a place and a limit, unless you are autistic or unless you are Sir Dantes.
He will not leave his computer games alone.
Okay, I know I have bragged about how much he has learned using computers and the games. I know how much I have bragged about his ability to navigate websites. I have bragged about how he knows how to reconnect to the internet if he has a service disruption. I know, I know...but, sometimes...leave the damn computer alone!
About a week ago Sir Dantes' daddy took his laptop out of his bedroom and set him up a desk in the living room. He was just always in his bedroom because that was where the computer was. We thought by moving it he would be forced to have more personal interaction with us. Wrong! He is zoned! No matter where the computer is, he is there.
It has gotten so bad he will not sit at the table any longer to finish a meal. We are constantly having to call him back to the table. I have shut it off...he runs back over and turns it on. Today it was beautiful outside. Usually, he meltdowns when I have him come inside. Today, he was having mini-meltdowns because I kept making him come outside. Yesterday morning I brought the toothbrush out to him at the computer to brush his teeth. Crazy!!! Maybe we should take it away for awhile?
I posted a link to the Autism Epicenter facebook page the other day about a group of autistic adult working for themselves doing computer tech work. I found it very encouraging especially since Sir Dantes loves the computers. This group of young adults are actually making money by reviewing programs. With so little career opportunities available for autistic adults, I felt some pride in Sir Dantes' ability to navigate websites and this gives me hope. Just today I posted another link to facebook about autistic savants. Could Sir Dantes be a savant when it comes to the world of technology? Maybe...so I have tolerated his time on the computer.
We, as parents of autistic children, know that our children have obsessions. Some autistic children can rattle off the complete history of our presidents. Others know which day of the week September 24th was twelve years ago and they will know which day of the week September 24th will be ten years from now without having to consult a calendar or an almanac. Some can do mathematical calculations that most of us would spend years trying to figure out, and maybe never could.
But, watching him today, I had this brief thought of horror...What if he has a heart attack right there in front of his computer? Just like the guy at the casino. He does not want to leave it to eat or play. I have made my decision. No computer tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes.