Things That Go Creak in the Night
Consider this a warning: There is a certain "ick" factor to this column. As the thought of this column began to blossom within me, I myself was overcome by a certain degree of "ick." How can I possibly write this? If Cameron ever reads this, will he ever recover from the embarrassment? Well, I apologize in advance, to readers and Cameron alike. But for the sake of cutting edge journalism, I will trudge on.
So, Cameron's bedroom is in the finished attic, which puts his bed directly above the master bedroom. (Are you starting to see where I'm going with this?) Occasionally, as I am trying to drift off to sleep, I hear ... certain sounds. Certain creaking sounds. Ewww, right? But the last time I heard this sound, I was like, wait a minute ... Wasn't it last Thursday when I heard that sound? And the Thursday before that? Does Cameron actually have this on his schedule?
Cameron schedules things that most people wouldn't consider schedule worthy. He wears collared shirts on Tuesdays and Fridays. He keeps inventory of his shirts by brand. If he has two shirts of one brand, he rotates wearing each, so that they get equal wear. If one of them must drop out of the rotation, it's a cause for worry. Cameron eats certain things on certain days. During his bus commute to school, he listens to music on his iPod on particular days, and watches videos on the others. I'm sure there's a particular order in which he listens to playlists, but I haven't dared to delve that deeply into his routine. Without fail, whenever I discover one of Cameron's rituals and ask him about it, I'm met with that "Well, duh, of course I do that!" look of his. It all makes perfect sense to him. Doesn't everyone do it his way?
As I start to ponder Cameron's routines, I've started to think about them in terms of skills. (This does not apply to the sounds in the night routine, by the way.) But really, some of these little idiosyncrasies could be conveyed to employable skills. For instance, Cameron is the most punctual person I know. If you tell him to be somewhere at a certain time, he will be there precisely at that time. Employers appreciate that trait, right? And his tendency to create patterns in everything from how he eats to how he dresses means he may thrive in a workplace where what may be considered mundane tasks by some would be completely fulfilling to Cameron. I think (and hope) that some of what makes Cameron unique will benefit him in the workplace one day. I think (and hope) that he will be gainfully employed one day, and be self-sufficient. I think (and hope) more and more employers will start to recognize and value the traits of the ASD population in general, and maybe, just maybe, this group will find employment beyond the end of the check-out lane at the grocery store.
Leave it to a mom to find the bright side of the nighttime activities of her adolescent son.