Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday😊🎄.
We had a conference with MJ’s teacher last week. The beginning of the meeting was kind of shaky. MJ’s teacher obviously didn’t remember that we had the appointment. He tried his best to cover up the fact that he was annoyed, but it didn’t work. One of the main reasons for our visit was to discuss the 15 page homework packets that he consistently sends home for MJ to complete. Now I’m telling you here today that I would rather get three root canals, than sit down with MJ to complete a 15 page homework packet! It really is just that bad. Hubby and I both explained to the teacher that the amount he gives is intimidating and puts an excessive amount of pressure on MJ and the family. The fact of the matter is that nowadays worksheets don’t work! It’s not the BEST way to have any student learn. It’s actually a bit archaic and is frowned upon in most educational settings. He agreed that he would stop sending home those packets and would instead send home one to three short assignments that MJ can complete over the course of a week. That I believe, is much more manageable. One other important issue we discussed was the fact that MJ is not engaging in an online reading program at school. His teacher has him on websites that he used to use when he was three years old! I explained to the teachers how best MJ learns. He is an auditory and visual learner. He needs to have an online reading program that best suits him and his needs. The ESE specialist informed me that she would look into it. I will be emailing her after the holiday break to inquire about it. It’s really sad that the general education students have access to numerous online reading programs but they have nothing in place for the ESE population. Even more sad is that the parents of the ESE students usually have no idea…Hubby’s main concern was MJ’s social interaction as well as supervision. We were informed that MJ gets along very well with his classmates and that there is always adequate supervision. There were a few moments where we literally had to interrupt the teacher because he kept talking and not allowing us to ask our questions. When all was said and done it ended well. Now we just have to wait and see if his teacher actually follows through with what he said.
It’s sometimes rare to see people go out of their way for others. Fortunately for me, I had an awesome experience recently. Based on what happened almost 2 weeks ago with MJ, I was hesitant to go out again with the kids without my husband. Hubby had to work and I did not want to miss the event so I decided to take the kids. There was a local “Holiday Wonderland” happening that I did not want to miss, so I said a prayer and we were on our way. The kids enjoyed games, face painting, playing in the snow, and decorating cookies. When we were about to leave I noticed MJ looking at the Santa line. I have never taken the kids to see Santa before. Partly because I have my own hangups with Santa and think that sometimes he takes away what I feel is the true meaning of Christmas. Other than that, I just knew that it wasn’t a great idea to take MJ when he was younger…He simply wasn’t interested. Anyhow, we decided to go over to the line but when we got there I realized the line was much longer than we thought. I had on my autism awareness bag and I believe this is the reason why one of the event workers approached me. She wanted to know if we were indeed standing in line to see Santa and I told her, yes. She then left us. We decided to leave the line and go to a different area when all of a sudden the same worker found us. She said, “I spoke to someone and you guys can come with me!” When all was said and done she ended up bringing us to the front of the line!! Santa was super nice and tried to make small talk with MJ. Mrs. Claus was even nicer. I was so overwhelmed with how caring everyone was that I basically cried like a baby as the kids were with Santa. It must’ve been a “sight” because a photographer asked if she could take pics of us. My eyes were red as tomatoes, I was wearing the clothes I had been running errands in all day, and I couldn’t stop crying. We had such a wonderful time. As we were walking back to the car, MJ Put his head on my shoulder and said, “thank you for taking us to Holiday Wonderland mommy.” And I’m so glad I did.
A few weeks ago on social media, I saw a news segment about Toysrus and autism. Toysrus was opening early, turning down the lights and music, and allowing autism families to come in and shop. This would be a great way for the kids to see what they wanted for Christmas without the sensory overload that happens so often in stores. I thought that I would try this myself. Though my local Toysrus wasn’t a part of that program, I decided I would take MJ in the late afternoon, when I knew the store would be more empty. On the way to the store I had the “stay with me when we are in the store” talk with MJ and Morgan. When we got out of the car I looked at both of them and had the talk again. We walked in and I was very pleased to see that there weren’t many people there. It was perfect. We walked around for about 30 minutes while MJ walked from aisle to aisle browsing. I took pictures of all of the items that he seemed interested in. When we got to the electronics aisle he stopped to look at a game and I decided to take a pic. I turned around to see what else he was looking at, and he was gone! I asked Morgan if she saw where he went and she said no. I quickly went over to the next aisle….no MJ…went to the next aisle…no MJ…Ran to the next aisle…no MJ. I went back to the electronics section, to check again for him, thinking he may come back looking for me…NO MJ! At that point I practically grabbed a sales associate and said, “My son has autism, his name is MJ. He is wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts (I ALWAYS know what he is wearing when we leave the house, because of this very thing).” The employee immediately got on the radio to alert the other employees. At this point I grabbed my daughter’s hand and began running, looking, and yelling at the top of my lungs, “MJ…MJ…MJ MJ MJ, MJ, MJ, MJ, MJ MJ, MJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ!” In my mind, I thought, “MY GOD, what if someone took him?” Every news segment I have ever seen about a missing child came back to me! I looked at Morgan to see her crying hysterically. I called, “MJJJJJJJJ” one last time and finally saw him towards the back of the store. I ran up to him saying “Where were you? Don’t do that again! You have to listen to mommy! You have to stay with mommy!” I could tell by the look on his face that he did not understand what he did. I told him to look at Morgan. She was still crying. I told him that he scared her, scared both of us. I then told him to give her a hug. They hugged for a few moments. I then found an employee to tell them that I had found MJ. The employee said, “Cancel code Adam.” I’m pretty sure that Adam, refers to Adam Walsh, the boy that was kidnapped from a store, his remains found. I remembered hearing about that as a kid. It affected me back then and it still affects me today. The whole ordeal was about 5 minutes. The worst 5 minutes of my entire life. When we got home I spoke to MJ about everything again. I reiterated how important it is for him to stay with us when we are out. I explained the danger of him being away from us, that all people aren’t good, that some people would want to hurt him. I have no idea how much of that he truly understood but at one point he said, “Mommy, I was just looking around.” I know that he really didn’t think that he did anything wrong. After all, we were there to have him look around. He touched my eyes as I spoke to him. I believe that he was making sure I wasn’t crying. Sometimes this journey feels like too much…just too much. I am currently looking for a type of GPS device that I can purchase for MJ to wear. This was too frightening…This cannot happen again…
Sometimes this journey