Life Skills Lessons #1: The Air Mattress Oops | My Autistic Family Life

By Eve Reiland

Life Skills Lessons #1: The Air Mattress Oops

Quite often we use an air mattress at our home for sleepovers. It’s a noisey situation that sends me to the opposite end of the house behind a closed door wearing my noise-cancelling headphones. Bill, my spouse, is the one that does the set-up and deflate routine.

My youngest son has watched Bill do this process for a few years now. In the past month or so, he’s been very focused on learning how to do it himself. He’s eagle-eyed and memorized Bill’s actions, and then had Bill guide him hands on through each step until the mattress puffed and ready for use.

This last time though, my son announced that he was ready to tackle the chore himself without help. He told Bill, “I got this.” So Bill stepped back and watched him work. With confidence, and perhaps a bit of bravado, my son got the mattress stretched out on the floor, plugged in the air pump and turned it on. After that he took the hose of the pump and placed it on the floor next to the mattress. Then he stood up, crossed his arms and waited for the magic to happen.

Only it didn’t.

Bill said to me later that watching Tory’s expressions go from confidence to confusion, while the air blowed on the floor leaving the mattress flat, was comical. You could see the whole process work itself through until he realized the mattress was just not going to air up. He turned to Bill for help and was reassured that he got all the steps right, but was just missing one final last step … plugging the hose into the mattress.


Bill talked him through the last part and then there was success and laughter. Both of the guys were still chuckling about the life-skills lesson the next day as they shared their antics with the rest of us in the family.

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