Saria Smiles

Life with an Aspergers Child

Back to the future

I was driving Saria and Ava to school Friday morning when Saria said that she wants to keep her Littlest Pet Shop toys forever.

“I hope that I never gives them to charity,” she said. If she ever gives away her Littlest Pet Shop toys in the future, she will have to hold a college science fair and reward prizes to the first person that invents a time machine.

Saria will then use that time machine so that she can go into the future and yell at her future self, “What were you thinking?!”


I see dead people

Ava was sleeping in so long that Genevieve got worried about her and asked Saria, “Can you go check on your sister, and make sure she’s alive?”

Saria responded with, “Yeah, the thing is… I don’t really want to touch a dead person”.

The Patch


Saria has been taking Daytrana®, the methylphenidate patch, for two weeks now, and I thought it was time to post about our experiences.

Saria takes Ritalin®(methylphenidate) for her attention deficit symptoms. Without it, she’s pretty much in lala land all day and acting goofy. She still isn’t comfortable taking pills yet, so she had been taking the liquid form of the drug. Saria actually prefers the chewable tablets, but there has been a shortage on them for quite awhile.

While researching the shortage of the chewable form of methylphenidate, I discovered that there was a patch. It seemed like a good idea, because it would be a sustained release of the standard drug, and in theory would prevent any ups and downs.

I called our insurance company, because it wasn’t on our drug benefit formulary, and they said that it would be covered without a preauthorization, but at the highest tier, which would be $50 a month. Noven, the company that makes Daytrana, currently offers copay insurance that will reimburse one up to $60 through the end of 2013 each time a prescription is filled. We didn’t have the information when we filled it the first time, but plan on trying to use this benefit when we get it refilled.

The patch goes on the hip, and one is supposed to alternate hips each day. The first time we used it, there was a red spot that lasted a day, but now there’s no reaction. Although the patch is supposed to be waterproof, it did come off in the bath, and it’s probably a bad idea to have the patch wearer take a bath with another child.

We haven’t noticed any improvements over the typical drug as far as attention goes, but Saria is off of school for the summer, and we don’t require a lot of concentration from her. She definitely is not in lala land though, like when she doesn’t use methlyphenidate.

We had set an alarm to remind us to take the patch off at 5pm, but found that Saria was having problems getting to sleep, so we moved the alarm up to 4pm, and things are back to normal. It’s definitely important to set an alarm, because if you forget to take the patch off awhile before bedtime, good luck sleeping.

There are some great benefits to using a patch though. She no longer has to swallow the nasty tasting liquid form of the drug, twice a day. There is no interruption in the middle of her day to take another dose, which she hates. When school starts, she will be able to feel like a normal kid. She won’t have to go down to the office to take her medicine after lunch, and no one will know that she’s taking medicine.

Future Saria

Genevieve found a note in her office that Saria had left herself.
Genevieve found a note in her office that Saria had left herself.

Saria and Ava’s goals and rules

GreenDat 1.6

Some users of GreenDay have asked for more input on how we list goals and rules in the application. With the new log detail feature available in 1.6, I thought I’d share our list of goals and rules.


  1. Following direction.
  2. Taking a break.
  3. Being independent.
  4. Being a bucket filler.
  5. Being considerate.
  6. Being safe.
  7. Doing chores.

Yellow Rules

  1. Not following direction.
  2. Being mean.
  3. Screaming or yelling.
  4. Touching people without permission.
  5. Touching people’s stuff without permission.
  6. Other.

Red Rules

  1. Refusing direction.
  2. Violence.
  3. Tantrum.
  4. Not changing bad behavior after warning.

Although the touching people and people’s stuff may seem a little strict, Saria has a problem keeping her hands to herself which that has gotten her into trouble in school and at home.

The Yellow rule “Not following direction” and the Red rule “Refusing direction” are needed to implement our behavior plan for following direction. We ask the girls to do something, and if they don’t do it, we point and give them 10 seconds. If they don’t do it, they go in yellow, then they’re not allowed to do anything fun until they do it. They have five minutes to do it until they go in red.

Example 1

Dad: “Saria, go set the table, please,” after getting Saria’s attention.

Saria: …

Dad: Points and counts to 10 in his head.

Saria: …

Dad: Moves Saria into yellow in the app and selects “Not following direction.” Dad then takes away from Saria whatever she is playing with, or if impossible, moves Saria away from what she’s doing. If Saria starts yelling and screaming, she is placed into red with “Not changing bad behavior after warning.” If she stays calm but doesn’t follow the direction within five minutes, she’s placed on red with “Refusing direction.”

Example 2

Dad: “Saria, go set the table, please,” after getting Saria’s attention.

Saria: “Okay.”

Dad: “Thank you Saria, I really appreciate it,” after getting Saria’s attention.

Saria: “You’re welcome, Dad.”

Dad: Gives Saria a token, and selects “Following direction”.

Note: It’s very important to only give your child direction to do something that they already know how to do, and if the task needs to be done a certain way, that you showed them multiple times on how you want the task done.


photo by Essie Gilbey

Saria was going on about her best friend, and ended it with, “And sometime when I’m G-A-Y, I might even marry her, but I haven’t thought about that yet, and I have lots of time.” It’s great that she already knows that she has plenty of time to figure out if she’s G-A-Y. She couldn’t explain why she spelled it out.

Practicing breaks

photo by RelaxingMusic on flickr

Saria and Ava, and even Genevieve and I struggle with actually implementing breaks when we’re angry.

Having someone else suggest a break to us when we’re getting angry can help, but it’s also important to take breaks when you’re calm, to practice.

We’ve implemented breaks at meal time. We aren’t allowed to leave the dinner table until after we’ve practiced a break. Saria and Ava seem to alternate between the two staples, counting to 10 slowly, and taking five deep breaths. Genevieve and I usually do the deep breaths.

We’ve been doing this for a couple of months now, and it has improved Ava’s ability to take a break significantly. Saria is still unable to take a break when she’s upset, but she is getting better if we catch her early enough.

Wrapping paper

photo by The Scott on flickr

We were talking about wrapping Ava’s birthday presents when her mom mentioned using some pirate wrapping paper. Ava, who usually likes all things pink and feminine said, “I don’t care what wrapping paper you use. It’s all white on the inside.”

It seemed so deep on so many levels, and of course, super cute.

Sherlock Holmes fix

photo by John Lester

The cat has been hiding today, and Saria decided she was going to dress up as Sherlock Holmes to find him.

She has spent an hour looking all over the house for a brown plaid shirt, which no one in the house owns, but she needs for her costume.

She is freaking out, and refuses to settle on a different shirt or use a little more imagination to pretend that she’s wearing a brown plaid shirt. She is so fixated on exactly how her costume has to be, that she is never going to get around to actually doing the fun part of pretending to be Sherlock Holmes and look for the cat with her spy glass.

She is being super grumpy, as everything is annoying her now, since she can’t find exactly the right shirt. She’s been asking if she has enough allowance saved to buy a brown plaid shirt, which she probably wouldn’t be able to find the perfect one at the store, anyway, and that she would only wear once.

Saria just came into our room and said in a snotty voice, “Mom, I want my own credit card and pay my own taxes, to buy my own brown plaid shirt.”

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