Autism, Dominic and elevators

Cathy Blatnik

One of Dominic's "gifts" is definitely knowing his way around a computer. He taught himself how to get into YouTube and about this time last year, he seemed to be watching a lot of videos about elevators. They all seemed to be narrated by the same person. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the gentleman narrating them has his own website, and several videos on YouTube. It turns out he has Asperger's Syndrome.

Even now, one year later, Dominic is still super fascinated with elevators. During this past summer, we decided to use his love for elevators to our advantage. Going to weekly Mass is very important to our family. Since Dominic was about a year old, we have been sitting in an area of our church, where you can still hear the Mass, but are behind a glass window. For many years, both the hubby and Lauren kept encouraging me to let Dominic go inside the church. Anytime either of them even mentioned going inside, I would instantly get stressed out and give myself a headache, stomachache or both and tell them no. For a while, we didn't even take Dominic to church, which in retrospect, was really doing him a disservice.

After two years of special needs religious education classes taught by an awesome, gifted and loving teacher, Dominic made his First Holy Communion this past May. Shortly after that, we decided that it was time to start making the "transition" to being inside the church. We decided to use the parenting "technique" of first this, then that. For example, your child wants to watch television or play on the computer, but has homework. You say something like, "first you do your homework, then you get to watch television or play on the computer." Given Dominic's fascination with elevators, we decided to tell him earlier in the summer, "first you have to be good in church and then you get a ride in the elevator."

It didn't take Dominic too long to understand what we were requiring from him. For a while, only the hubby was "allowed" on the elevator rides and then Lauren. Last Saturday night, it was just Dominic and I going to Mass. He did great and when we sat back down after getting Communion, he whispered to me, "so proud!" I was like, "yep, Mommy is very proud of you!"

After Mass was done, he said, "elevator ride." We got on the elevator and went all the way to the top and then down to the bottom, then back up to where we got on. I don't foresee his fascination with elevators going away anytime soon. Given Dominic is so social and he loves elevators, he would be an awesome elevator operator, like in a fancy hotel, wouldn't he be?!?!?!?!

Courtesy of Bountiful Plate

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