Taking the Scenic Route

Sunday July 22, 2007

22nd July 2007

Sunday July 22, 2007

http://www.autism-pdd.net/forum/default.asp

http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/index.html

 

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20th July 2007

Friday July 20, 2007

Call me shocked.  Call me amazed.  Call me HAPPY!  The SpEd coordinator called me already.  WooHoo! 

I relayed a brief version of what we have been through, trying to emphasis that I knew not everybody was like that, and I just wanted to work with the team to get Zane in the best position possible.  He wants to talk to some people, including a Clinical Educator for ST, who he has worked with before, and then get back to me.  (I made it clear that I wanted him to talk to her because I know she will be able to communicate exactly what he needs to know about Zane, without the extra “mama fluff” that I will inevitably throw in because I am his “mom”, and not a professional)  For one thing, a mom, who’s child has never been in the school system, who comes to him saying “he is really bright, even though he can’t really communicate very well” is going to naturally be met with skepticism.  A professional saying that is going to have more credibility.  He has a long way to go in some very important areas, but he is really bright too, even with his delays, which complicates the issues a bit.  It will be an interesting balancing act keeping him challenged in the academics while working on his delays in communication.

No, we will not be starting school when the regular session starts meeting, but I don’t think we will be pushing the deadline as hard as I feared either.  Although I legally have the option of just dropping him off that first day, I certainly don’t think it is in anybody’s best interests, teachers or students, and definitely not Zane’s, which is my primary concern.  I am just so relieved that I am finally being listened to. 

 

In other good phone calls, last night Zach’s dad called him.  He got out of the hospital the day before yesterday.  It sounds like it happened on Saturday-Sunday instead of Friday-Saturday, and the appendix burst during the surgery, as the Dr. was removing it, not during the exam.  Still really bad and it took a while for them to clean everything up, but it could have been so much worse.  He is, understandably, very tired.  I did find it rather….interesting….that he called instead of her, but I am mostly just glad to finally hear his voice and know that he is doing alright.  (or as good as he can be.  abdominal surgery sucks, I ought to know. ) 

 

It would be the perfect trifecta of phone calls if the company called back with a second interview offer for Zach.  We have a few more hours before business closes for the weekend.  There is still time.  Keep your fingers crossed.  edited to add:  no such luck.  Ah well, another weekend waiting for Monday again.  *sigh*

 

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19th July 2007

Thursday July 19, 2007

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Waiting with his ST while the other student does an activity.  (turn taking and following directions activity).  He did really well again, even following a 3-step direction at one point.  That is the first time he has done that, so I was really excited about it.  I am also amazed at how much he looks like a “boy” instead of a “little boy”.  When did he decide to grow up so much?  I can’t keep up. 

Yesterday, when Zach took him to his Heartsprings appointment, he ran up to the desk and said “Hi”, Danette (who knows him really well and is Zora’s snuggle buddy) was at the desk, and gave him a surprised “Hi, how are you?” back.  Much to everyone’s surprise, he answered that he was “Fine.  How are you?”.  Despite her surprise, she kept the conversation going, asking him what his name was.  For once, he quickly answered “Zane”, and she asked who he was here to see, and he told her “Carrie”.  Everybody about fell over. Not only did he finally get the skill in the Friendship group, he generalized it to a place outside WSU ST.  Unfortunatly, he still had to be heavily prodded to say hi to Carrie, but it was great to see the skill used at least once.

I found out the new ST at  HS is one that used to work with the Clinical Educator we work with at WSU, so there is a comfort level between them, which is a good thing for Zane because they can communicate more freely between each other.  Since Zane is improving, there is a much wider variety of things to work on, so having the coordination between the two helps with getting him to generalize things and just make sure they are on the same page (or at least the same book.  lol).  I am really going to miss Carrie when she leaves in August, but I feel better about it knowing that it should be a good match for Zane.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start though. 

I called and left a message with the SpEd Coordinator for Zane’s school.  They aren’t expected back into the offices until next week, but I wanted to be higher up on the list of ‘people to call back’ because I have a feeling he will have quite the list when he walks into his office.  From everything I have heard, he is a great advocate for kids and I am lucky to have him as a resource.  I have no reason to doubt the person I heard this from, so I look forward to finally getting somewhere with the school system soon. 

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18th July 2007

Wednesday July 18, 2007

  1. Drunk/High drivers go to jail the FIRST time and be an automatic felony.  There is no good excuse for drunk driving.  Ever.  People that think “everybody who has done it at one time or another” are in denial.   I honestly don’t think you should be driving with even one drink in your system, but I can concede that point.  If you hurt somebody, you should stay in jail until that person is recovered, and then the clock starts on the sentence given.  If you kill somebody…bye bye. Guess you will never see the light of day again. 
  2. Fleeing from the police in a high speed chase should be treated like drunk driving.  It puts people in the same kind of danger because you are not thinking rationally and putting everybody on the road in danger.
  3. There should be a law that government has to spend at least as much on Education as they do on Defense.  Teachers should be paid as well as executives and ALL students should have IEPs so that everybody has access to a good education that fits their learning style. Funding needs to increase so that class sizes can be smaller and teachers and paras can have better training. 

I am not sending the MEME to anybody, because I am not always in the mood to do them, but I would love to hear others ideas, so let me know if you do this!

 

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17th July 2007

Tuesday July 17, 2007

One good news, one not-so-good.

First, the Good News!

The really great news is that my cousin, the one who is 6 weeks to the hour younger than me, became a dad last Friday.  He and his wife gave birth to a baby boy, with a long, mostly French name.  I think it is De’von, except that I don’t know where the little accent mark goes (and I can’t read my writing very well where I wrote it down.  lol)  She ended up with am emergency c-section, but everybody is doing well last we heard.  (They live in France, so there isn’t the level of communication between everybody that I wish there was).  She is a few years older than me and I gather that the pregnancy wasn’t easy on her, so I am sure she is very glad to be holding her babe in arms.  Pregnancy is so much more work when you aren’t in your 20s.  lol.  I am so excited for them. 

They were here last year (probably around the time of conception, vaguely) and seemed like the sweetest couple.  Her English was shaky (but a whole lot better than my French, that is for sure) so most of our conversations were heavily supported through my cousin.  I don’t know any French (beyond food and counting) so she was the one who had to do all the work. (I felt like the lamest American right then, the lack of second languages as a norm is just horrible, but I have a terrible time learning other languages…have no ear for it at all).  She just seemed like the neatest person and I wished we could have had more time together.  He seems to be very much his father’s son, very laid back and go with the flow type.  That is one lucky little baby.

 

On the not-great-news front

Zach has been trying to get a hold of his dad the last few days to let them know the shirts he sent as a birthday present had arrived.  Today he found out, from his dad’s administrative assistant, that he was in the hospital with appendicitis.  Would have been nice if somebody would have let us know.  We still don’t know what is going on, but are going to try and get a hold of his brother to see if he knows anything. 

 eta:  talked to Zach’s brother and their dad is doing fine.  He started feeling bad Friday night, went to the ER Saturday AM and his appendix burst while they were doing the exam.  He was in surgery for 5ish hours, but is recovering well.  He isn’t up to talking to people though, so we aren’t likely to hear from him and he isn’t taking calls right now.  The brother is technically Zach’s half brother, from the second marriage.  They share a dad, but his mom is dh’s step mom, which is probably why they all know and we don’t.  I am still fairly ticked off that she didn’t let us know what was happening, but at least somebody is communicating with us. 

 

On the no-news front

Still no word on the job.  *sigh*

 

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17th July 2007

Tuesday July 17, 2007

This is his last week of summer “friendship group”.  It has been a successful summer for him.  His ability to share and take turns has gone up a significant amount, his ability to wait for somebody else to complete a task has seen a major improvement, and he is starting to be able to do “hi, how are you?” type questions. 

Here are some quick photos from today

Ready to go

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Little man on a mission

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We missed him holding the lightsaber “correctly”, but he was playing with the two boys in thw waiting room to a degree.  Athough he wasn’t whacking them with the lightsaber or rope or pretending to stab anybody (or pretending to die) he did pick up the saber and swing it and hit them lightly.  There was much giggling and chasing among the three boys and he seemed more aware of what he could do to join in.

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Waiting.  See, he can wait now!

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Saying hi

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In the room.  After some sit down time they went out to the hall and ‘played’ to practice following two step directions.  At the beginning of the summer, he couldn’t do that, but today he did it several times after being given the directions once.

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I am so proud of my little guy!  _heartbeat

 

 

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14th July 2007

Saturday July 14, 2007

There is an interesting discussion going on at one of the parenting boards I frequent, and one of the arguments for it being against genetics and for environmental insults was that Amish don’t have Autism. 

I tend to disagree with this.  I would think it is more to do with it being underdiagnosed because of their lifestyle choices, especially since Amish kids don’t tend to go to mainstream schools and have that avenue of intervention the way most kids in the US do.  I also think, in general, older-style communities are, in some ways, more tolerant of people being ‘different’.  Not in every way, obviously, but I think there is a better acceptance of quirks because there are fewer people and more of a need to learn to live with other people because you don’t have as many options of just finding somebody else who fits your idea of “ok”.  I experienced this just because I went to a small school.  In a larger school, I would have had a lot of cliques to chose from to find the one that fit me the best, but in a small school, you just are much more up close and personal with people who are different than you.

Here is a portion of my post that talks about some of my observances of why Amish might not be as diagnosed:

I also think that the Amish lifestyle is going to mask a lot of the typical problems that autistic people face. For one thing, the life is very structured and very defined roles. There is LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of “heavy work” and other things that help with proprioceptive and other sensory issues. There isn’t a lot of variation in textures/smells/sounds/lights that would cause them to be as overwhelmed. They wear the same clothes/kind of clothes all the time, they don’t have lots of loud unexpected noises, they don’t tend to sit around and chat the way a lot of the rest of us do because there is too much to do. If a person doesn’t really speak, that might be one of the only things that would be noticed as dramatically different because so many of the sensory issues and difficulty with transitions is eliminated because of the way they live.

Plus, things like plowing, planting, milking, ect, are not social things. Anybody that has ever spent an entire day going back and forth in a field almost NEEDS to have some autistic traits to handle it…you spend the whole day watching where one row is so that you can line the plow up to make the next set of rows. It is really hard to do unless you have excellent spatial skills, which is something many autistics excel at.

I know when ds started OT, my first thought on almost everything he did is that it was a sanitized version of things we did on the farm all the time. I have to wonder if our move to a more sendentary lifestyle has as much to do with the rise in diagnosis as anything simply because there are a lot of people out there that aren’t getting the sensory input they would have if they worked all the time as kids used to do.

I noticed that most of what I mentioned had to do with boys who would grow up Amish, but I think a lot of women’s tasks are also very much “heavy work”.  You are likely to run into more problems with some of the social things, simply because the nature of women’s work often had groups of women working together, where men tend to work more isolated, but it is still filled with things that are pretty predictable. 

This isn’t a well thought out extensive argument, just some observations.  However, I find it really hard to believe that Amish don’t have Autistic members.  It really seems unlikely to me.  I think it might not be seen as a disability the way it is in more mainstream culture though.

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14th July 2007

Saturday July 14, 2007

Want a chuckle?  Here is a stroller Zach wants:  http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=664333709&context=photostream&size=o from http://starwarsblog.wordpress.com/2007/06/29/diy-at-at-baby-stroller/

 

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13th July 2007

Friday July 13, 2007

_bananaFinally, the long awaited paycheck.  _banana2Thank goodness!  We paid our rent, and all of our immediate “gonna cut us off” bills were paid yesterday with the loan from my parents.  There isn’t much left, but I think I can make it stretch.  I am SO relieved.

In other good news, we got Zane to wear his glasses for an hour or so today while he played the Gamecube grandma had us go get when she babysat for him on Zach’s birthday.  He is a happy boy right now.

Zora is sort of a mess this evening.  _twitch  Zach is trying to entertain her a bit right now.  She wouldn’t nap today (except for about 5 minutes) and she is not coping well at all.  Doesn’t want to be held, doesn’t want to be put down, doesn’t want to eat right now, nothing makes her happy.  She needs to sleep but she is fighting it with a fierce stubbornness.  At least she doesn’t have Zane’s talent for staying awake for days straight, so we know she will pass out eventually.  Hopefully she does so soon AND sleeps all the way through to a reasonable time in the morning.  I can’t imagine where she gets it from.  _bag

In sad news, Zane’s first speech therapist is leaving.  She is going to run the autism classrooms at Rainbows (or something like that).  I think she will be really good at that, but we are going to miss her a lot.  She has been such a central part of our lives for the last 16 months or so and it will be really weird to not have that anymore.  They are lining us up with another therapist.  I hope that Zane handles the change ok.

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12th July 2007

Thursday July 12, 2007

My Mom came up and watched the kids so that Zach and I could go out this afternoon.  We went to Granite City and split an appetizer, he had a luncheon burger and I had a cup of the best soup I have ever had in a restaurant.  (the only soup I have had in a restaurant, but it was still really good.)  They have a cheddar and ale soup there that doesn’t have onions in the base, so I can actually eat it.  Yum!

Then we went to the local movie place and were able to get balcony, front row, center seats.  The balcony is 21 and over, serves everything from all the stuff from the concession stands, the diner, the restaurant, and the bar.  You just press a button and a server comes to you and at the end of the movie they leave you a check.  Zach got a cappuccino and I had a mixed drink.  (hee hee…I never do that, it was fun!).  The seats are loveseats with tables and heated seats with cup holders.  It felt heavenly.  We watched the new Harry Potter movie.  We didn’t even realize until this evening that it opened today.  lol.  We aren’t terribly observant of what is out in the *actual* theater, but we can tell you the dates a lot of movies are coming out on dvd for the rental market. 

Mom let us take her vehicle so that we didn’t have to switch around car seats for her to take Zane to his therapy.  It was nice to ride around in a nicer vehicle.  We met up with Mom and the kids at therapy.  I saw my Mom holding Zora right next to the door as I walked up, and as I walked through the door I peeked my head around to say hi to Zora.  She looked at me with the most bewildered, shocked look.  Apparently, mom had just let her press the button to open the door for the first time and she was probably really confused as to how that button made her parents appear. 

At therapy Zane hit something today that he really struggled with.  She is working on teaching him to follow body language by having him pick which item she wants by seeing where she is looking.  It is really, really hard for him.  We are going to have to find ways to integrate that into every day life to help him get that skill.

Cute Zane thing

I was talking to the OT about writing goals for him and she was clarifying that I might get some looks from others when they see his goal of writing all the letters because he is a year under when that is considered an age appropriate skill.  However, since he already writes them all, but does a lot of them functionally incorrect, it makes more sense to get the habits reformed NOW instead of fighting it a year from now when it is even more ingrained.  I mentioned that we need to include numbers too since he has some of the same issues, which lead to talking about math modifiers (plus, minus sign, equals) and how to write a fraction correctly.   She wasn’t surprised about the add/subtract, but she asked how on earth he was learning fractions and what was he doing.  I told her that he doesn’t line them up in an orderly way that makes adding/subtracting them easier.  She was just shaking her head and asked what prompted learning fractions and just laughed when I said that Zach was goofing off with him the other night and they were doing fractions…cutting things apart, adding them together…that kind of thing.  We both chuckled at the nerdiness of my dh and his son because they look at learning fractions (or any math concept) as “FUN”.  lol. 

Cute Zora thing

She is starting to do the actions to “Wheels on the Bus”.  She also understands “up” and “down” and can say “up” with enough clarity that there is NO DOUBT what she wants.  Today Zora was playing around and she sat down, and Zach commented “are you sitting down?”, she smiled, and stood up, and he commented on that too, which worked into a game of “sit down” (and she sits) and “stand up” (and she stands).  She was giggling with delight as we played the early version of “Mother, May I”.  It was astonishing to us to see that level of receptive language in such a tiny thing.  I am just not used to the pace she is taking us on.

 

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