Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Call It Therapy

I recently wrote about the fact that David has given up watching the garage door close. While it may seem like a remarkable achievement, he has certainly not abandoned his fascination with doors altogether. In fact, on a recent trip to the zoo, he managed to find every retractable gate, elevator and automatic door. Who, besides David and possibly every other kid on the spectrum, knew that there were so many doors at the zoo of all places?

And while on the subject of quirky behavior, David is still walking backward to the bus. He has not missed a day of walking backward since the first day he rode the bus. I really don't know why he does it. Is he making a statement or is he just teasing me? I do know that he has gotten very proficient at it and can walk very quickly. I read recently that walking backward is actually quite good for you. You expend more energy walking backward and it reduces strain on the knees. There is also evidence that backward walking, also called retropedaling for short (yes, it is two characters shorter, I counted), is really good for the brain. I won't bore you with the details because, frankly, I don't remember any more of the details, so you will have to take my word for it. Just know that David has developed his own backward-walking therapy. I have not seen it on any list of recommended therapies for autism, but anything that exercises the brain is worth a shot—especially something that David devised all by himself.

I am glad that David has not given up all of his behaviors—not all at once, at least. For now, they are part of what make David, David. And I must say that I cannot suppress my smile as I walk with him to the bus, although I choose to walk the old fashioned way. I have noticed that the surly bus driver refuses to crack a smile and pretends not to notice. Just give him time.


  1. The walking backwards thing is too cute. From my experience (my son is 13 and autistic) when one of the behaviors (or stims or obsessions)goes away, another usually replaces it. Sometimes it's better and sometimes it's worse.

  2. Brian walked backwards for about a month from the van to the house everyday...then it just disappeared....who knows?

  3. Are there any busdrivers that are not the devil's spawn? Not in my neighborhood.

    I love how we get official words for our kid's behaviors...retropedaling...ha!