Friday 10 November 2017

Sofa shopping

This week it definitely felt like we achieved something; a trip to the sofa shop! 
This was after half an hour of trying out sofas. I think she'd had enough by this point...
We moved house earlier this year and are in desperate need of new sofas - we had the old one for over 15 years and it did us proud all through those baby projectile vomiting and pen scribbling years, but it is now WAY past its best before date. 

Since June, when she was last able to attend school, Sasha has been a pretty much constant shadow by my side, and this has made it difficult to get things done which need doing. Even while in the house, the attention she needs regularly stops much progress of house and blog work, but it has become somewhat of a challenge of late to tear her away from her toys and technology, and get her to agree to leave the house. 

So I'm counting this outing as a small victory. We drove (Sasha's not a fan of being in the car) to a big retail park which has sofa and furniture shops in it, oh, and a toy shop, funnily enough. 

You see I work on the premise that there has to be a reward. Working out what will do the trick is a bit of a balancing act  with Sasha; some days it might be the promise of some fries at the end of the trip, some it might be a small blind bag whereas others (like today) it can end up being a not very cheap £10 treat. I'm well aware that we can't afford for this level of reward to be expected every time we leave the house, and luckily Sasha never suggests this herself as an incentive. 

As a very young child Sasha was not materialistic at all - we could walk around a toy shop where her eldest sister would be begging for every big and small toy, whereas Sasha was perfectly happy if she could just have the Peppa Pig chocolate lolly from by the till point. To her it was mostly about the routine, not about how much money was being spent. Despite having a limited understanding of lots of things when younger, she just seemed to accept that bigger gifts were not everyday purchases. As she has got older, her interests have increased and so there is more of a reason to buy items - Pokemon, Skylanders, Shopkins and My Little Pony obsessions have all fuelled plenty of purchases. 

So if I have somewhere I want to go that I know Sasha really doesn't want to go (that could be anywhere which involves a car journey longer than ten minutes), then I try to keep her interested by dangling the proverbial carrot. It doesn't always work, and that's a key characteristic of Sasha's type of autism (PDA). If Sasha absolutely doesn't want to leave the house for whatever reason, if she's anxious about something or not feeling on top form for any reason, then even the promise of something she would really, really like doesn't make a difference. 

This time, however, it did. The promise was an LOL doll - that has been the routine a couple of times previously this year when we've been to this particular retail park. Only trouble was, the toy shop was out of stock of LOLs! Disaster. However, now Sasha is a little older, she is sometimes able to cope with disappointment a little better, and on this occasion she admirably proposed that as long as she could find something of equal value that she was happy with, it would all be OK. So it was that we gained a new Pokemon plush to bring home.
Sylveon, I believe...

There's a whole other issue linked to this - the sibling issue. It can be difficult to explain to Sasha's older sister why she hasn't been gifted a toy of such value. There is an argument for the fact that we aren't actually able to spend money on Sasha in the way we can for her older sister - I'm thinking out of school activity classes such as drama and dance, or school trips abroad etc. Of course that's difficult to justify in a tangible way for a tween and so there's some amount of careful treading to be done. As Tamsin has reached an age where pocket money is of great importance to her, but for Sasha it's still a concept which she hasn't fully grasped, that's where the point of difference lies for now.

As the sofa we need to buy will be placed in the room which Sasha uses most often, I felt it only fair that she should be involved in the purchase decision. It will be difficult for Sasha to let go of the old one, as she's so used to sitting in a certain position. Bringing in new furniture requires some thought and some advance planning to try to help her visualise and hopefully accept it. Fingers crossed we have got it right for her!

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