Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reading Interventions

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before or not but I love the fact that one of my dear friends is a special education teacher. Though she has the summer off from kids she is busy taking a lot of courses for her continuing education credits.  One of the courses she is taking is on reading interventions for children with moderate-to-severe disabilities.

One of her assignments was to video herself giving a lesson to a child.  She asked me if she could use Brian and then continued to thank me profusely.  Hey, don't thank me!  We got free intervention out of the deal!  I was super excited!

This video is longer than those that I typically post on the blog.  Yet, I wanted to share it for many reasons.

One- maybe it will give other parents ideas of how to approach the literacy piece with their children.

Two- I love sharing what Brian can do.

Three- I love to show what autism really is.

If you don't have fifteen minutes to watch, I've listed the highlights under the video.

1:13: Brian is suppose to be saying the sounds each letter makes.  Yet, when the "Z" card comes out all he will say is "zebra".  I find it cute.  Maybe, it's just because I love him so much.

2:55: When the song comes on the computer you see Brian hide under the table and then hide his eyes.  He does this a lot with favorite parts in movies too.  It's like it's going to excite him too much so he needs to filter it.

5:24: I swear he says "Look at that. Oh geesh."

6:17: Brian accidently uses a "U" instead of a "Y" in "my" and Amy doesn't catch it and says "Good job"- he then exchanges it so it's right and does this laugh like, "Oh you silly adult, you don't even know how to spell 'my'".

7:28-10:49: Just skip right through this part, if you want.  It's pretty much dead air as we try to get to load!!

12:16: A teeny glimpse of a tantrum- thankfully not a full-blown one.

12:25:  After he's done with his tantrum he starts to growl.  Yes, growl.  That was a new one.

12:33:  Finished growling and you can see him look at me (I'm filming) and smile.  He thinks he's pretty funny.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How I'm Like An Elephant

The other day Corbin told me I reminded him of an elephant.
I see the resemblance.

Yup, an elephant.

Kid knows how to play dirty.

After I cried some tears (not really, I promise I held them back) and explained to him that most women don't want to be called an elephant he explained his reasoning.

"Mom, I just mean you are faithful.  Elephants are faithful 100%- they say what they mean and mean what they say.  And you always do that!  If you say it- you mean it!  I like that about you!"

Okay, that kid knows how to win over hearts.  And is obviously a big fan of the Horton books by Dr. Seuss.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Terrible Three Stage at Seven

By now everyone knows that Brian has had a hard couple of days.
Public temper tantrums.

Throwing items when he's mad.

Destroying Corbin's lego city.

Erasing data on Corbin's DSi.

Coloring on walls.

The last big screening Brian had done he came out about an 18 to 24 month old level developmentally.  

My explanation for the new behavior is there has been growth.  I remember Corbin at three.  I remember always saying, "Why the hell is it called Terrible Twos?  Three's are SOOOOO much worse!"  So that's it.....developmentally Brian is now three.  So's that for a positive spin on a hard couple of days with new negative behaviors?  

He never drew on walls like most he is!  Yay!  And look at those ABCs and 123s!!

Hey, just go along with me here...I like this theory and it makes for a happier mom, hence a happier home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Autism: Not As Glamorous As You May Think

I sprained my foot the other day.  Don't even have a cool story to go with it.  Needless to say, I am on orders to take it easy.  The doctor even suggested crutches for a couple days.  Like that's gonna happen.

Unfortunately, being a single mom, if I need something at the store I have to go to the store.  Today I had to go to two stores.  I laid out the plan to Brian like I do every time we go out.  There were no surprises.

In Wal-Mart I picked up the cleaning supplies and toiletries I needed and even threw in some nice window markers for the boys.  We did a toy aisle sweep-through, like we do EVERY time we go.  Brian actually does really well with it and it's one area that we have seen great improvements in.  

Today, he spotted the Harry Potter Lego train set.  Yeah, much like the Toy Story Lego train set from the other day.  We looked at it, we talked about it, and then I said, "Okay, bye train."  The same line we use every time we leave the train aisle.  The same line that he always repeats and then walks off calmly.  Yeah, not today.

Cue tantrum.  Screaming and crying at full throttle.  I tried to ignore him and kept walking.  He turned around, ran back to the boxed train set and hit it with his hand and yelled some more. I picked him up and put him into the cart.  I quickly navigated towards the checkout, blocking out the ensuing screaming and staring glances from neighbors.

All while hobbling.

Once in the car he seemed to be okay but as soon as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot he just starts screaming again.  I need groceries.  I also need to not chase after a bolting boy which is exactly what this kid is going to do in this frame of mind.

So I leave.  I don't even attempt it.  I'm at the end of my rope.  And no not just from this one incident but because yesterday this was his behavior all day long too.  And he's not sleeping again.  And when we got home he decided to throw a DVD case against the wall when I told him he wasn't watching a movie.  And it's reaching 100 degrees on the coast of Maine (unheard of).  And I know he can't handle the heat.  And I can't bring them to the beach to cool off because I'm suppose to be resting my foot.  

Now imagine me doing all that while trying to figure out crutches.  I'm not that graceful.  It's why I have this sprained foot in the first place.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Word Retrieval with Corbin

Corbin: "Mom, you know that person that supposedly made all the animals?"

Me: "Umm....God?" (fingers crossed this isn't going to be a religious type of conversation)

Corbin: " starts with an "M"."

Me: "Moses?" (spitting out the first biblical name I could think of)

Corbin: "No, Mom.  It's like Mama something or other."

awkward silence

Me: "Oh!  Do you mean Mother Nature?" (trying hard not to laugh)

Corbin: "Yes!  That's it!  Oh...I don't remember what I was gonna say."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Corbin: The Autism Whisperer

The Autism-Whisperer
Sometimes when I can't get Brian to answer me or even acknowledge that I exist I'll absentmindedly mutter something along the lines of, "I guess you're in your own world today."

Corbin heard me say this under my breath the other day and answered, "Yes Mom.  He is in his own world.  He likes to go there because he is King of that world.  He likes being King and he doesn't have to figure everything out in that world.  He already knows it all.  Nothing is confusing there."

Corbin had said something along these lines before as I mentioned in a post in 2010 but at that time he wasn't able to elaborate on what he meant.

I get it now and I really like thinking of it that way.  Honestly, it makes perfect sense to me when he put it into those terms.  If I were Brian and the world was so overwhelming and confusing I would want to go where it was more calming too.  I think Corbin is on to something....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our One Way Ticket to the Cool Club

Have you seen this: The Autism Generation.?  I saw someone link to it on facebook and then jillsmo wrote a fantastically snarky post about it.  Haven't read it?  Well let me just copy & paste the one line that is having a lot of parents in an uproar.
The most likely cause of the autism epidemic is that autism has become fashionable – a popular fad diagnosis.

Fashionable?  Give me an effin' break.

Brian's stimming, flapping, screaming, not-talking, tapping, OCDness, night wakings, bolting, and everything else that goes with it is definitely starting a fad around here.  He's got kids lining up to ask him for playdates.   Other parents can't stop asking me how to get their kids to be so freakin' fashionable.  Kids want to be like him and parents wish they could have my anxiety level and dark under-eye circles.

This just deserves a good old fashioned eye roll....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Did We Just Become Best Friends?

You know how they say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach?  Do you know how archaic I find that?

Well, that's beside the point.  

Let me tell you, the easiest way to make me fall in love with you.

We saw our new speech therapist last week for the first time.

Our regular therapist is gone on a summer RV-trip with her family.

This woman played with Brian and had him saying all kinds of words.

I was appreciative of how quickly she seemed to make a relationship with Brian.

But it wasn't that, that made me fall in love with her.

It was as we were getting ready to leave and she said to me...

"Heather, I know I just met him.  Yet, I have to be perfectly honest.  I don't see an MR piece at all."

At that point I grovelled at her feet and told her how much I loved her.

Seriously, she's not the first professional to say it.  However, it never gets old to hear.

I know my son and I believe what I believe about him but it's always nice to hear it confirmed from others.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

All For You

I sat in the movie theater staring at my little boy with his eyes glued to every move of Tow Mater's.

I looked around and saw the families scattered around the movie theater- I saw familiar hand flaps, I saw Mom's arms around their child, I saw headphones, chewies, and fidget toys.

It was perfect.

I thought about how far I've come in my life.

I set up our first local sensory-friendly movie.  Who would've thought five years ago that I would be doing things like this?

Life is hard with autism.  I'm not going to sugar-coat it.  Yet on the positive side, I have grown so much as a person by having Brian and autism in my life.  I have become more compassionate, responsible, and mature.  He really has shaped me into a better person, as corny as it sounds.

It made me so proud and so happy to hear other parents tell me it was their child's FIRST movie experience. It warmed my heart to see kids sitting through an entire movie (including MINE!) because of the changes I asked the movie theater to make for our private screening.

 I looked around the room and thought, "This is for all of you.  Even though it's just a two-hour movie.  Just two hours of your life.  I hope I gave you an experience that you couldn't have had otherwise."

I looked back at my little boy and thought to myself, "This is all for you.  I would give you the world if I could."

A simple morning at the movie couldn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fireworks: Friend or Foe?

Fireworks?  Every autistic child's worst nightmare?

Apparently not.

And I'm serious in saying we were standing right underneath where they were setting them off.

Couldn't have picked a louder spot. 

This kid just laughed, flapped, yelled, and smiled the entire time.

This kid, on the other hand, started off enjoying them.

Then quickly dug out the headphones.

And told me that the fireworks were giving him a headache and were probably going to make him go blind.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How Many Wheels are in a Parade?

Another holiday come and gone.

We celebrated the fourth by attending our local parade.

We were ready with noise-cancelling headphones in hand.

Surprisingly Brian didn't require them once.

In fact if he could speak to me functionally and in sentences I am pretty sure he would've said, "I've said no to the headphones ten times already lady.  Leave me alone!"

I marveled over his growth in being able to handle auditory input and measured the success of the parade in hand flaps.  There were a lot.

Hand Flap #1
Umm hello? Train? Responsible for Hand Flaps 28-97

I then realized hand flaps were in direct correlation to wheels.  And there are an awful lot of wheels in a parade if you've ever noticed.

Happy Fourth of July!
So really, now that we seem to not have auditory difficulties (haha, I know my boy and his cycles- tomorrow the sound of the blender will send him over the edge), a parade seems to be the perfect source of entertainment for Brian.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Need to Brag.

Corbin and I were working on a mural.  We decided to do a jungle theme.  I drew a "jungle man" as Corbin called him.  Brian was just doing his own thing (running around in aimless circles) during our arts & crafts time.  I then made the little gorilla from the Disney Tarzan movie.

Then all of a sudden Brian stopped.  Picked up a red colored pencil.  And..


Can I just say the first words to cross my mind were, "HOLY SHIT!!".

Effin' genius!

Problem-Solving Skills

Today we went to visit our favorite toy store.  They had been closed for most of the winter and spring for renovations.

I told Brian where we were going and he just lit up.  He hopped out of the van faster than I've ever seen when we arrived in the parking lot.  He skipped all the way in.  He let go of my hand and ran into the store.

He stopped dead in his tracks.

"Oh noooo.  Trains!  Broke!"

Yes, the beloved train table was gone.  Yes, the beloved electric model train in the window was gone.  Yes, I had one disappointed boy on my hands.

He seemed to get over it quickly but I watched him as he started to scan every single shelf looking for trains.  Finally his eyes found the Toy Story 3 Lego train set.  He has the Duplo model of it with the bigger blocks but he really has no interest of putting regular sized Lego pieces together.  Yet his heart was set on this train.

I had told the boys they could each pick a toy going in.  It's easy to explain to Corbin about a certain price range he needs to stay in.  Brian, on the other hand, could not for the life of him really get why I wasn't going to buy him a Lego set that was priced at $105.00.

So the crying started.

I turned him down over and over again sternly.

Corbin showed him some metal trains and he grabbed one but not happily.

We checked out and were starting to leave when Brian just threw his hands up in the air and yelled, "OHH NOOO!".  Here we go.  I thought we would leave without too much of a show.  Before I could grab him he was running back to the shelf with the Lego train set.  As I'm racing after him I watch him grab two other toys and put them in front of the box to hide the train set.

He steps back to look.  To see if other potential buyers will be able to find his treasure that he has hidden.  He seems satisfied as he sighs, turns around, and walks to the door with his new train in his hand.

He just baffles me everyday with problem-solving skills that I'm not always sure he has.

However, I am scared to bring him back in there again.  I hate to see what happens when he realizes he didn't hide it well enough and someone has bought it.