Trimming Nails: A Strategic Planning Job.

Boy Sleeping

It’s ten o’clock at night. My child is finally asleep good enough for me to do it. Oh, how I hate doing this because if I wake him up I just asked for a meltdown, and that is one thing I never ask for. However, if I don’t take the chance and do it, it’s going to be bad real soon. It won’t be too long before he starts looking like Edward Scissorhands. It’s already so bad that he scratches me when he claws at me when he is mad. I’ve got to do it. It is very risky, to say the least, because I really need my sleep. If I wake him up, it is not just a meltdown that will happen. He will also be wide awake after the meltdown has ceased and will run around my house wild all night long.

What exactly am I talking about, you might ask?

Trimming finger nails and toe nails!

Oh, how I wish it was as easy for my boys as it is for neurotypical children. I remember when my boys were newborns and I just hated trimming their nails because they were so small. Now, well…it’s a different story. I would take the nerves of trimming tiny nails any day over what I have to do now to achieve this process.

I was telling someone about how the process goes to trim their nails the other day and they gave me that “deer in headlights” look. They had no idea. No idea at all that something so easy could be so hard for autism families.

It’s for real folks. I tiptoe into his room and hold my breath while I do it because I am petrified that he will hear me breathing and wake up. It’s dark. I use my phone for light and once again I am scared to death the light will wake him up. But it has to be done. I can’t let him walk around with nails that constantly scratch his coaches and me. I can’t let his toe nails start growing into his skin. It has to be done.

He is getting bigger and stronger each day and the older he gets, well, this simple process is not getting better. So, I will continue to tiptoe into his room while he is sleeping, hold my breath, and do the job. It could be worse, but it could also be better.

Every day has it challenges. Each day brings about new challenges and new worries. However, we are autism parents. Besides trimming nails in the dark, we also know how to hold our children down for haircuts while they scream and lash out. We are used to fixing and packing the same lunch for them every day during the school year. We know what happens if we don’t follow our routine and schedule. We are familiar with sensory overload and the great lengths that we have to go to every day for our children. Sadly enough, the simple task of trimming nails is one of those seemingly easy things that takes a lot of strategic planning, and it’s likely that only special needs parents can fully understand.

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A Happy Ending for Pirate the Pit Bull

As a follow-up to our story two weeks ago, “This 6-Year-Old Boy Reads to Shelter Dogs,” we wanted to let you know the fantastic news: Pirate the Pit Bull has gotten adopted! As we mentioned previously, 6-year-old Jacob Tumalan has been reading to Pirate for months as part of the “Rescue Readers” shelter program. It helps Jacob, who has autism, perfect his reading skills, and also helps the dogs calm down in the chaotic shelter environment.

Carson Shelter in California posted this video to YouTube last week. It shows Pirate leaving the shelter with his new mom, shelter staff, and Jacob and his family. Jacob was thrilled that Pirate had finally been adopted, especially because he’d helped make it happen: The story about him reading to the dog had gone viral, leading to many inquiries from potential adopters.

“Be happy at your new home,” Jacob told Pirate, after the dog was put into his traveling crate. We hope Pirate has found his forever family, and that Jacob finds another needy dog to read to.