Saturday, September 18, 2010

This Week...

Not a lot to say this week about how I feel. I feel like we're finally starting to get back to normal. It's not like the diagnosis changed anything in our family. Joseph is the same kid he was the day before, we expected the diagnosis. In any case, we're getting into the rhythm of school and therapy session. I even went out and shot a job Friday, so it's good that I'm finally doing some work. I am still full of worries, particularly about what Joseph's future will be like. But only time will tell. I'm seeing his speech improving, so I'm optimistic. I want him to catch up, learn to talk and read and be mainstreamed while he's still in elementary school. I don't know if that's a realistic goal. I guess I need to talk to his IEP team about that.

Last Saturday, Kristy and I went to a parents support group organized by Susan Richardson, who I had been put in touch with my an old friend of mine. It was a small group, but I think it was very beneficial to us and I'm looking forward to the next session. I have a lot of hang-ups and insecurity for various reasons when talking to strangers, but when I'm talking to another parent of a child with an ASD, I know that we have a connection that transcends all of our other differences, that this person has a better idea of the chaos, challenges, fears and rewards in my life than anyone else possible could fathom. I hope to meet more autism parents from Columbus there next time! I will post info when it's available.

Joseph had a good, if uneventful week at school. He's enjoying his social skills group and making progress in OT. He's now cutting straight lines with real scissors, though not along the lines they draw on the paper for him. Before he would just snip the edge of the paper and then move down to a new spot and repeat. They also said his writing grip is improving.

We went to the Autism Harvest Festival this morning at Leeds Farm in Ostrander (between Marysville and Delaware). I almost didn't take the kids, because first of all it meant getting up at 7AM on a Saturday (it was from 8AM to 10AM, and a half hour away), and second Kristy had to work so I had to take the kids by myself. While Maria tries (and is trying) she is not the best at cooperating, particularly when she gets excited. But she had a great week at school, so I thought that if nothing else, she deserved the chance. So we all got up at 7AM and the kids and I drove out to Leeds Farm. They had an awesome time. They fed goats, pet baby goats, went down big slides, did the hay ride, played with Tonka trucks in a giant sandbox full of corn, bounced on an enormous balloon buried in the ground, drove go-karts, and Joseph went on the kiddie zip-line 3 or 4 times (I think that and the corn were his favorites). I think this is an annual event that Leeds Farm holds for families with autistic kids. I'm really looking forward to going again next year, hopefully with an extra adult of two so I can take some photos of the kids. If you've got kids, I recommend visiting them. They have pumpkins for sale, the kids will have a great time, and they put on this event entirely free for us, so it would be great if you can help support them.

This week, we're focusing on creating order and security in our home to make it a better learning environment for Joseph. Securing the refrigerator and pantry so he cannot help himself to food and drink, pruning the kids' collection of toys and securing them so he must ask for them, and putting some kind of locks on our exterior doors that he will not be able to reach because the day is fast approaching when he will be strong enough to move the things we put in front of the doors to keep him in. These are three things we've needed to do, and been meaning to do, for months now but we've not gotten around to it. I think right now, developing his communication is our #1 priority, and making him depend on us for access to the things he wants is going to be the necessary first step in getting him to speak to us. So we will do these things and get caught up to where we should be with PECS and then get back to regular speech therapy sessions.

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