Cell Phones And Autism

I never had a cell phone until December. Even after I got it, I never used it much. Actually, I still don't. However, I do try to remember to bring it with me when I go, and actually get calls and messages on my phone. The majority of them come from Kaeden, who loves his phone and has had it since his 13th birthday.

Kaeden and his phone never part. I'm not sure why he likes it so much, but it's his and it's obvious he is in love. Sometimes it gets annoying as he changes tones and we have to listen to it all for hours on end, but the majority of the time it's just with him and he's happy.

One thing I have noticed is that when Kaeden starts to get angry, he texts me. Tells me he is mad, or is going to be mad, or hates the blankety blank blank teacher. I'm not sure if it helps to calm him by texting, but I have this hunch that maybe it does. When we are home, sometimes he lets me know via text that Jari is bugging him. When I get that message I know to put a stop to it immediately. There have also been times when I have sent him to his room and sent him a text message to tell him he may come out when he is calm. He messages me back that he will come when he is calm. We don't have to have conversation which often leads to more angry words. So, texting seems to have its perks, especially for my son who has issues with anger and aggression. It seems to sincerely calm him, give him space, yet a means of communicating, without spoken words which are difficult for kids with autism.

Further, texting has helped him in his spelling skills. Often I receive a text from him and am amazed that he could write it properly. He doesn't use all the codes that I have seen other kids use, but writes exactly what he wants me to know. Such as this afternoon, when he was on his way home from school, he texted me: Mama, I am coming home now. XOXO Kaeden Or after he got on the bus to head to Judo, he messaged me: Mama, I have to take a different route to Judo. There is a market in the town center.

Maybe it gives him security knowing I am always available, such as in the above situation which can be stressful.

When I reply I keep it short and sweet, but always try to respond. It feels like some special connection with him that I don't have with him in spoken language. I am discovering that his having and using his cell phone is his key to communication, especially under stressful circumstances.

I don't know if any of you other parents of autistic kids have had the same experiences with a cell phone as I have, but for us, it seems to be a positive bit of technology in the autism world. Maybe it's worth giving it a try?


Jade said...

Hmmm Thats really interesting with K and his texting... I wonder if it is over stimulating for him to connect emotions with vocalizations...texting might allow him to keep enough distance from his emotion to convey what he wants to you without "blowing up" Just a theory.... but I'm glad its something that works for him and you. That is definitely something you can use to your advantage to stay close with him..ya know?

Hope you are doing well my friend. For some reason I thought about you a lot today..

Jade said...

Hey my friend, I was just wondering if you could skip over to my bold blend blog when you have some free time. You're someone who I'd really like their opinion on this.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Yes, it does sound like Kaeden is processing emotions by texting about them, which I think is great. And it's also great that he uses it to check in with you. Nigel has had a cell phone since September, but he doesn't text with it. I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't know how or what, but he's usually pretty good about calling if he's ready to be picked up from an event, or to ask me if he can go somewhere. It gives him a little more independence, which of course he wants these days!