Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Surprised

I read an NPR news report about a study in South Korea that found the incidence of Autism in school children was significantly higher than anticipated.

Am I surprised? No. First, I have become used to looking at things through Autism glasses. Second, when we were filling out questionnaires for James during his diagnostic period, I noticed that there were many questions that I marked "no" for my son, but "yes" for my daughter. She had started to walk and talk by her first birthday, can do multiplication, addition, and subtraction correctly in her head, makes up stories, reads at least a grade level ahead, and asks complex questions about art, science, and life. She is very loving and affectionate and does not act out in school. She plays well with others.

She is also extremely sensitive. I could tell you tales about years of crying fits because socks have "strings" that hurt her so much she would refuse to go to school in the mornings. Tags on clothes? Ditto. Thank goodness for seamless socks and tagless shirts. She's started 2nd grade and just a couple months ago I got her to wear pants with zips and a snap. First time ever for that one.

Noises and smells seemed to overpower her, although she handles them much more "normally" now. She is still a picky eater. It took 3 years of swim lessons before she got her head wet. That means from ages 3-7, washing her hair was akin to waterboarding, in her experience.

People have asked if I had considered getting her tested for being on the spectrum. My answer so far is no, because I do not see what services she could get that could help her. This might change, but for right now, we're good. Enough.

It makes me wonder how many other children are out there, with special needs, who are undiagnosed, yet managing to cope so far on their own ...

Special Exposure/Wordless Weds: Horsing Around

James has been very shy around animals. A brush of the down-soft tail of our fluffy cat made him cry "Ouch!" He gives large distances between himself and ducks, bunnies, and sheep. He is afraid of dogs, although he is working hard to overcome that.

Imagine how nice it was to see him so happy and confident around a miniature "horse":

I have heard so many good things about the therapy horses. I hope we will get to try their real counterparts sometime soon.

Although I suspect the admiring, encourage team had something to do with James enjoying his time with the horse:

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Magic Marker Monday: Saying "Thank You"

Last month, I decided it was time for James to send a thank you card to his godmother, for a nifty little personalized license plate she sent him for his beloved bike. Because he loves riding, steering, and pretending to drive anything with a motor, I thought a personalized card might be nice. Also, it gave James a focus for about 15 minutes.

Here he is, holding his card. He helped me pick out the colours and glued down some of the shapes, once I'd cut them out. Elmer's Glue, scissors, and a pad of coloured construction paper = awesomeness. I had to watch the pens like a hawk because James is still wanting to write on any surface that sits still for 10 seconds.

He wrote "THANKS, ❤ JAMES" inside with just a little help. Then he covered it with marker kisses. I broke down and bought the markers with alphabet letter stamps on one end and symbols on the other. They are so totally fun to play with.

For more great masterpieces or to share some of your own, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs for more Magic Marker Monday.

Special Needs Blog Photobucket

Monday, May 09, 2011

Oh My Stinkin' Heck

I've been keeping my head down lately. Things have been hitting me nonstop. I'm not completely organized, so I am constantly checking and double-checking the ever-growing piles and stacks of paperwork, scribbled messages, calendars (office and kitchen), and email account (about 1900 messages in just the "In" box). Heck, even if I was organized, it wouldn't help too much, because things keep getting switched on me, or I find out something else that needs jumping on, STAT.

On the heels of the last round of the flu with James' sister came state testing for her. April was not only Autism Awareness month and our second Autism Speaks walk, it was the start of signups for summer programs. After one summer of leaving things too late, I obsessively plan for the day the Summer Program Schedule come out and sign the kids up online before the offices open the following Monday. Somewhere in there, James started waking up six times a night, one of which was to tell me that he'd pulled out his loose tooth. I am waiting to do the Tooth Fairy thing because shortly after that, he swallowed a nickle and a penny right in front of me, before I could stop him. Heck, maybe the Tooth Fairy will bring him an IOU or coupon for Funky Monkey tickets and save me some worry.

Then that Easter thing, with egg hunts, helping the bunny deliver after midnight, mailing cards, and making food to share at a family gathering. Followed by getting IEP revisions pushed through for James so he could go to summer school. Not that anyone at the school pointed out he needed this, I spent *several weeks* playing phone tag with his services coordinator, asking how summer school worked and how to get James signed up for it. I had to insist. I had to follow that up with several office visits around the system to shepherd the paperwork through the system. I truly do understand that the state is bleeding the schools dry, but bite me, James needs summer school.

If I hadn't been so obsessive about planning summer programs, I'd have been too late to get his IEP amended for an extended school year and thus he'd have missed out on a month of summer school, speech, and O/T. This reminded me that I needed to investigate classes and teachers for the next year. Still working on that one, as well as trying to have James' aide work with him in first grade.

With all this fun going on has been Teacher Appreciation week, PTA volunteering, an Art Docent session, daily Yard Duty shifts, and Other Schtuff (the parts where I get to work in the garden are rather fun). It can take me 3 days to get to a shower, four hours to clean a countertop, and six weeks to return a phone call. The Christmas books finally went out to the in-laws just before Easter. Oh, and my husband wants me to fix the showerhead in our bathroom and prepare for a Yard Sale. Actually, now is a great time to do it, because the we have a brand-new water heater. The old one sprung a leak the night before Easter. Which also means that I had to re-arranged and start cleaning out the garage to accommodate that little surprise project.

I tell you, the fun just never ends. And this is just what I can write about in 30 minutes. There's a lot more going on, and most of it's complicated.