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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2017, 02:39 AM
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Impressive work.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2017, 04:53 AM
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thanks, bud!
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 06-30-2017, 07:30 AM
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for decking, we decided to go with 2 x 6, instead of the typical 5/4 decking boards. they shrink too much, split, splinter, and warp. besides, everything so far is kind of overbuilt, so we're keeping it husky.

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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 06:16 AM
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I love this project! Are you building in Virginia?
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tortolabob2 View Post
I love this project! Are you building in Virginia?
thanks! and i am, in suffolk.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 02:56 PM
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as i've mentioned here before, my son has autism. among the various aspects of his development are some struggles with anxieties, fears, and hangups, some of which this treehouse challenges head on, as i try to do in varying doses with many of our activities.

additionally, a very typical concern for children with his diagnosis (though i should point out the spectrum is wide, and no two face exactly the same struggles) is the difficulty of social interaction. beyond the common language difficulties, people with autism often struggle to detect and join the "rhythm" of social interaction. picture your first school dance and you can't dance and you feel awkward as hell and everyone can see it and you maybe you can feel how out of sync you are by the second, or maybe you can't, but you are painfully aware that you often come across a little off at these things. oh, and that's your everyday, all day, because instead of school dances being the weakness, it's most all social interaction, which for most kids is pretty much most of their life.

it's stressful, exhausting, frustrating, and many of these kids swing and miss, a lot. my son does, and as we've figured out what his comfort zone is and isn't, we use that information to toe the line on a daily basis, constantly seeking to be in arm's reach of the comfort zone for when he overloads, but also constantly venturing off into those areas of discomfort, to build daily a tolerance and ethic for pushing himself, being brave, polishing skills in weak areas.

so, what does any of that have to do with this project?
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 03:16 PM
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a lot. when i started this project, i'd see my son swinging and missing on the playground. when he meets new children, his conversation is strange to them, and those always-awkward initial meetings that are the basis for every friendship are even more awkward. many times, i'd see a child approach my son and try to play with him, and my son would be trying to interact, to find that rhythm, but would answer questions in such an unusual way that they were mostly nonsensical answers to someone who didn't know him closely. or he just wouldn't understand what was being said, and the children he was playing with, they didn't have the skills to slow down and rephrase and better explain what they were getting at. they're just kids, too. and usually, being at a playground, and there to play and all, they'd just move on.

we work hard on the skills it takes to play with other children. countless scenarios are designed in therapy to teach empathy, to build a script for an initial meeting, to develop a growing arsenal on conversational techniques, from canned answers, to more complicated and spontaneous responses. but it all requires practice, practice, practice. and, not just with adults. that's not the same. he needs that social interaction with peers. and new ones, constantly, in addition to the friendships he builds with kids he sees regularly at school and therapy.

a cool ass treehouse, then, can be a pretty helpful tool for getting that practice. one technique used by the people who work with children like my son is to give the child who struggles most socially a "preferred toy," something the other kids want, so that they will approach him, engage him, ask for it, interact with him. it's a similar setup with having a cool treehouse, i think. this can be a tool to help him for years. more reason for parents to schedule playdates. more reason for children to spend time playing with him. a reason to try a little harder when conversations stumble along a bit. more opportunities for my son to get the practice he needs to find his rhythm in future conversations and other interactions.

it's been the driving idea behind this project for three years now. even so, i've had my mental health and emotional maturity questioned hard for my obsession with it. and for those who know me, of course those concerns are valid. but i've persevered, long after the partnerships along the way fizzled out. from decking this thing on 105 degree days with steambox humidity while i had neck glands swolled like plums from mono... to 20 degree days climbing icy walls to fit and refit roof joists alone with burning tendonitis... i've felt like noah building an ark. an oddity, an insane obsession with a plan that seems to only make sense to me, but sense so clear and so important that i don't give a rat's ass whether anyone else gets it or not.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 03:18 PM
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and there have been some of those days. they turned out to be good ones for he and i to venture on up and taste the solitude a bit (is it solitude when there's two of us?), to face a fear of heights, to find our "tree legs."















.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 05:19 PM
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damn poop, your kid is lucky to have a father like you!!!
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-2017, 06:18 PM
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Smile

Just signed up to say damn dude. That's something special. I hope it helps your boy.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 07-02-2017, 09:00 AM
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thanks for the kind comments, guys.

more progress on the decking, with a little focus on the fitment near the tree. space if left for tree to expand some. boards cut faithfully to the contour of the tree really give the project a pretty, organic feel.












.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2017, 01:22 PM
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Your son is adorable Poop! Thank God he has a father such as you to guide him.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2017, 07:27 PM
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thanks, man. i'm lucky for the front row seat to something so special.

decking finished:




edges cut straight:




posts reinstalled:




and this one straight cracks me up. full pee wee. treehouse playboy, contemplating all the ass he'll pull up here one day.

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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2017, 07:36 AM
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so, the progress pretty much stopped for a few months from there, while i focused on my son's transition out of a special education classroom and into a private pre-school with "neuro-typical" children. it was a roll of the dice, and a somewhat controversial decision, but we had worked hard to get him to that point, and the goal all along was for him to be able to do that by kindergarten or first grade.

he was able to do it his last (3rd) year of preschool, with a good bit of support. he was in a classroom with a teacher not trained in special education, with no experience with a child with autism, but determined to do the best she could. he finished top in his class academically, and made friends with several children without special needs, further closing the gap we've been focusing on.

so, in the meantime, lunchbox and i did frequent the platform numerous times to smell the fresh air, eat a fast food lunch, and just chill.













.
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-2017, 09:18 AM
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so...

after a few months to pull everything together for my son's transition into a typical classroom, iron out the wrinkles that came with that, and maybe catch up a little on work, too...

it was time to take trump's advice, and build some fucking walls. these were going to be the best walls, magnificent, trust me.


















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