Birthday present

Alyssa has a lot of rigidity . Mostly due to autism but I strongly suspect she has OCD but hasn’t been formally diagnosed .

She is so rigid that you can’t move things . Touch anything that is in her room or hers , or she thinks is hers . You can not take anything out of her room , or put anything in there . In her mind it doesn’t belong .

This has carried over into stores and other places outside our home .

She will not allow me to buy anything for her . She will get very upset and put her arm out , protest and even put it back .

I have been trying to break her of this for about two years . I did get her to pick a dog from the black dog in Martha’s Vineyard this past summer by giving her a choice . She has done this a couple of times .

I really want her to able to choose something for herself . Something she wants . I don’t know if the OCD , the processing , the prompt dependency or what that makes this so difficult .

She recently turned 24 . We were running some errands and we had to go to Target . Since it was her birthday I figured why not let her try to pick something , even though most like she won’t – I can just find something I think she will like and maybe she will pick between two choices.

I ask her do you want to go in and pick a present for your birthday ? She smiled and signed yes.
We go to the toy aisle and she stopped and I said do you want something here and I point to a few things and she smiles when I point to a stuffed Tiger ( She loves stuffed animals ) I ask her if she wanted anything else and she points to the next aisle and we walk up and down a few aisles and then she stops and smiles in front of the Sesame Street toys . ( She loves Elmo ) I ask what she wants and she just smiles . So I point to Cookie Monster and say so you want this – I knew she didn’t , she said no and then pointed to Elmo . I said so you want anything else and she said yes and pointed to the next aisle and picked a wubble ? It was a cat one . We then walked through the main aisle and she didn’t pick anything . She was happy and so was I . This was a big breakthrough for her . Something so simple and it took so long .

From the outside looking in , someone may wonder how this could make me so happy . She is 24 and picking Elmo . She should be begging me for an Apple Watch , or a new cell phone , but these things mean nothing to her .
This is a huge step for her and it coming on the same week she said a word unprompted. She is still making progress and moving forward . I am so grateful and proud of her .

I want her to be able to have a voice , make a choice express even the most basic needs and wants . Is this realistic ? Three years ago I would of said No . Now I am not so sure . I think it’s possible and I am not doing to stop trying .




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