When Mom Is Busy

I had not planned on posting this song, but in our current coronavirus quarantine, I thought it could be useful to many families.

This was written at the request of and with guidance from a mother and father of a teenage boy with autism. To protect his privacy, I will rename this boy Tommy. Tommy loves his family. There is a common misconception that individuals with autism don’t care about anyone but themselves. This is just not true. Individuals with autism may have difficulty expressing themselves to others and may struggle to see things from other people’s viewpoints, but they certainly do care about other people.

Tommy loves everyone in his family, but especially his mom. He is a momma’s boy – in the best sense of the word. He loves spending time with his mom. His favorite activity is drawing pictures with her. However… sometimes mom is busy. Even before the virus, mom worked partially in an office and partially at home. Tommy has difficulty understanding that mom is not available to play with him 24 hours a day.

I don’t have kids. I love working with kids, but afterwards I can go home and have some alone time. Many of my friends have kids. When these kids are at home for extended periods of time, my friends seem to go nuts. This does not mean that they are bad parents. Sometimes kids can drive their parents crazy. Sometimes a spouse can drive their partner crazy. Sometimes an individual can even drive themselves crazy.

So, this song and video were created to keep mom from going crazy and to teach Tommy the independent living skill of keeping himself amused when no one else is available to play with him.

Tommy is an excellent reader (though he struggles with comprehension) so we use the printed lyrics to practice the song in sessions.

After we’ve practiced the song, then I will ask Tommy yes/no or “wh” questions with either the lyrics or supplemental visual aids for assistance.

Finally, right when we get to the part of our schedule when Tommy earns a choice, I will open up a complex and boring looking Excel spreadsheet and tell Tommy that “I am busy.” He does not get his musical choice until he selects and engages in an alternate activity all on his own.