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Quick Clicks

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Here are some articles I found interesting from the last few weeks.

I related a lot to this article. Having taught (general ed) for almost a decade, I still knew next to nothing about autism.

Lego therapy seems like something that would be right up our alley!

This is Our Autism

Inclusive classrooms and language boosts I still have feelings of wishing we had just powered through with kindergarten and this article makes me think the exposure to 25 other kids could have been so good.

Dumping the Diet

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Well, it’s been a full year gluten-free.  We have had many moments where it truly seemed that it was working, helping, or whatever.  A moment came, back in the fall, when we felt like “checking” to see if reintroducing would make a difference or not.  Within one week, bad behaviors were ramped up significantly and he was completely out of control.  His stomach seemed to be suffering as well.  So we went straight back to cutting all gluten (which supposedly takes about 6 weeks to fully remove for your body).

Fast forward to now…there have been several “slip-ups” where he’s gotten some regular food item (and I am pretty sure that he was being given regular snacks at his summer camp), so it seemed like as good of time as any to dump the diet and see what happens.  It has been a full week, there have been no dramatic changes in mood, actions, vocabulary, or anything else for that matter.  So maybe we are ok.  It would certainly help our budget to not have to buy specialty foods!

The Road to Mainstream Kindergarten: Neuro-Psych Evaluation

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We were referred by the school district to a reputable private testing group to just be sure that we weren’t missing any little pieces to this puzzle. We were able to get in for appointments shockingly fast, which was great. This consisted of: a preliminary meeting with the psychologist, a 2nd appointment that included just our son being tested for an entire morning, and a 3rd, follow-up appointment to receive results and recommendations.

Hopefully there will be some good ideas that will be helpful and constructive as we move forward in the academic world.

The Road to Mainstream Kindergarten: Evaluation

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Most schools have some kind of intake evaluation they give to their incoming students.  We were contacted last week by the elementary school to schedule a time for us to go in.  Honestly, we weren’t sure how effective of a reading on C they’d get considering he doesn’t always respond to people who are talking to him or asking questions.  

Getting in the building yesterday was a treat with all 3 kids and a Sit ‘N Stand stroller, but we made it….through 2 sets of doors, and then an elevator (have I mentioned this school is enormous?).  C wouldn’t ride the elevator, so someone walked him up the stairs for me.  He wasn’t very receptive initially, but did sit down.  I walked in the room (even though I wasn’t supposed to) to tell him to listen and sit, and after a few more minutes, he did.  I couldn’t hear anything going on once back in the hall, but the occasional “good job,” or “that’s right” kind of comment. 

Twenty minutes later, one of two women who had been working with him walked him out.  “He’s very high,” she told me, and I nodded back.  “He was zipping through the words…I’ve only had one other child do that so far and he was way faster than she was” (Internal horn tooting going off in my brain at this time).  I just said I hoped that we would be able to get the behavior part under control so that he can do the “school” part, because we know he’s so smart.  She said,”You can totally work with this….He knows more now than some outgoing 1st graders.”  Phew.  I was certain he wouldn’t be able to show what he knew, but he did!  Small victories….

Autism Awareness Day 2014

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Another year down.  One year since we shared our news with “the world.”  It seems like nothing has changed and everything has changed at the same time.  In many ways we are still exactly where we’ve been with all of this for the last 3 years, but in stepping back a little bit, can see all the changes that have happened.

Since 2014, we have noticed more speech.  There’s more conversational skills, though most speech is still an attempt to get someone’s attention or get what he wants.  There is more interaction, in general, and he loves to check what his siblings are doing, say good morning to people when he wakes up, greet family and friends when he sees them….it has been so nice to see that developing.  He responds really well and usually right away to commands and requests.  He’s able to do simple chores, and clean up after himself (even without reminders!).  Overall, there is more self-control, but things can still spiral very quickly when frustrated.  He still wants what he wants when he wants it, but is able to keep himself from a full meltdown if he tries really hard.

At school, he has been working very hard on behavior (as the academics are still coming very naturally and easily to him).  We had to come up with some new tactics to manage behavior because he was having some very strong reactions to being told no and also transitioning to another activity.  The changes made have all worked really well and he is having very successful days at school with minimal time outs or correcting needed.

Another change (and this is a biggie!) is news from the potty training front: he is fully daytime potty trained.  WAHOO!!  The process that started in November of 2012 has finally rewarded us.  We still aren’t sure what finally clicked or why, but it doesn’t even matter because it did.  There was a real chance for back sliding as a fast and furious flu bug hit our house less than a week after he started using a toilet all the time, but he maintained his new skills and we couldn’t be happier!  He has even been ok at school, which takes a HUGE kindergarten concern off our plates.  I don’t even care about night time training at all at this point because I am so glad for the full daytime undies.

Other big changes are the addition of glasses, as we recently found were necessary, and the beginning (FINALLY) of ABA therapy sessions!  We are really looking forward to see how these 2 things especially help our baby grow and thrive.  Luckily for all involved, he loves both the glasses and therapy quite a bit!

We have seen some great triumphs, shared many grins, giggles, celebratory treats, hugs, and high fives in the last year, but also had setbacks, heartaches, and challenging moments that felt like they could swallow us whole.  There’s still a huge gap between our son and kids his own age, and that is sad and difficult, but it is our reality.  Many of the fears we had a year ago still are fears today, and new ones creep in all the time.  For example, we have tried to really focus in on him being able to respond to questions like “What is your name/address/phone number?” because if something were to ever happen, we were separated, or he eloped from home, he has to be able to answer those clearly.  Scary, but at least he has been gaining ground and has them mostly memorized at this point.  We are also working diligently to help him be as socially and behaviorally ready for kindergarten, which is just a shocking 4 months away.  As always, there’s still work to be done!

On this World Autism Awareness Day, we hope everyone takes just a moment to think about the many people in our world who are living with or affected by autism.  We also hope that people don’t just spread awareness but also acceptance.  And if you feel so inclined, Light it up Blue!

RELATED LINKS ESPECIALLY FOR TODAY:

1. 30 Days of Autism Action Ideas to Help Friends and Family

2. Stats about Wandering

3. “Not So Different” article and song

4. 68 Things

5. 33 Resources