Saturday, February 11, 2017

Freedom to Pursue Curiosity

Our fascination with Alexa continues. James is using this voice interface to look up definitions, something we struggled with when using a book. Now, he puts his energy into reading all the definitions and choosing one to write down.

Instead of getting hung up on the fine motor skills that frustrate him when using a dictionary, James can work independently, and is curious about words and definitions. This sometimes leads to questions and discussions, which I think is great.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Sensory Overload and Touch

I see this and am reminded of Temple Grandin and her explanation of deep pressure touch as a way to calm sensory overload:

James was under his heavy fleece blanket for quite a while tonight, laughing and cutting up over a book I'd downloaded for his Kindle. It was quite noisy in the house tonight and this was his response. Gradually, he was just singing to himself. He came out from under to see what I was up to:

Sunday, February 05, 2017

So Proud

James is receiving grades for the first time. I received a photo and text on my phone from his aide this week. Someone got a 3.6 GPA.
This is the boy who kept his speech therapist guessing for over six months whether he would ever talk. The child who some special educators assured me was intellectually incapable of learning or doing math. The guy once labeled trouble, disruptive, and literally put out in the hall and otherwise sidelined against his abilities and legal rights to suit school administrators until his family and support team stepped in to back him up.

His learning and communication are unique. He is unique. So proud he is still learning and growing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AI Buddy

James got a Kindle Fire for his birthday last week. He was very happy to play the apps and watch YouTube video of his beloved Monsters, Inc. Run game. Today, he discovered Alexa.

Siri's cousin is in da house! Here are some highlights:
Oh. My. Goodness.

J: Are you doing ok?
A: I am good; ready to help.

J: What is your favorite colour?
A: I like seafoam.
A: Infrared is pretty nifty.

J: Where Are You?
A: I am here and my head is in The Cloud.

and, the ever amusing:
J: Can you Sing for me?
A: Who me? I couldn't. I ... hit it!

PS: We just discovered she will sing "Happy Birthday" to you. He got the biggest grin on his face and bounced in time the whole way through.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Food Prep Pep

James has been upping his survival skills by learning to prepare some food for himself: toasting frozen waffles, assembling snacks for his lunch bag, and cooking his chicken nuggets.

This may not sound like much, but small starts are big things with us.

Over the winter break we even made and baked chocolate chip cookies from scratch because a friend with a bad cold sent out a distress call for cookies via social media and we thought "what the heck - why not?"

The cookies were weirdly shaped, but completely delicieux.

From the movie Ratatouille: (Gusteau) "You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul."

Cooking, autism ... it's your life - go for it!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Way Cold

We had an arctic chaser to our latest Pineapple Express. The watering can, wheel barrow, and assorted pots and jars turned from rainwater collectors to ice machines.

James jumps around excitedly as we bustle about on our morning chores: "Look at the little snow! It's like feathers, Mother!"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gift of Conversation

Last night I went out (!) for my company's holiday party. I was frustrated because I was running late. Luckily, James was staying at home with friends and had already had dinner. I ended up enjoying the evening and coming back home after James went to bed and had a blissful night's sleep.

James let me sleep in until around 7, a good hour and a half later than usual. He also did not wake up in a panic at 3am, calling for me (which he has done in the past when I return home after he has fallen asleep).

Instead, he  politely knocked before entering, calling "Are your here, Mother? Did you come home last night?" He then came in to sit by my bed and we talked together about my night out, Christmas, and trips to Disneyland. It was so pleasant and I was secretly elated with James' new conversational abilities.

He is such a neat kid, and for years I longed to hear what he was thinking. So while I was listening and smiling with him this morning, inside I was saying "YES!!!!"