We have NEVER been able to take a family Christmas picture with all 4 of us in the picture! I was determined to take one this year. Mj is always frustrated, complains, and acts out whenever we try to do it. We tried several times and took no less than 60 pictures. The result was the few that you see below.
Our family picture is my Christmas gift to myself. Something that many people take for granted, and has almost been impossible to do, has finally happened! I’m thankful to God for allowing Mj to cooperate just enough to get a picture 🙌🏽. I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas. #merrychristmas #happyholidays #autismfamily #hedidntwanttobuthetookapic #jesusisthereasonfortheseason #lovemyfamily #mygift #memoriesinthemaking❤️.
Family Selfies 💙
Mj is currently attending another session of YMCA Swim Buddies! It’s something that we both look forward to during the year. As I watched him swim with his “buddy” yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of the years when he was totally afraid of the water and would do nothing but scream at the very top of his lungs while he was in the pool. I think of the months that we paid for private lessons with someone who was supposed to be trained and certified to teach special needs children, but who obviously wasn’t! The private lessons actually made everything worse!
Now, Mj swims like a fish and it’s his favorite thing to do 😊. Seeing him in the water never gets old. I just literally stare at him and smile. To all of the other special needs parents out there…Don’t. Give. Up!
IT HAPPENED AGAIN😡. Today in my classroom there was another incident of a student calling another student autistic, in a negative way. I had to stop the class and educate them on autism, my son, and the fact that behavior like that is derogatory and will not be tolerated. To some of my students, autistic means dumb! I had to let them know how wrong they were in their thinking. It’s so unfortunate that this is happening more and more. We cannot stop the advocacy. Just think of how many other kids and adults that probably think this same way.
We are 5 weeks into the school year and so far MJ is doing great! He has been handling his homework well and still enjoys going to school. This school year he has art as an elective and so far he really seems to be enjoying that class. Soon he will begin his social skills class again as well as Swim Buddies! I will update again soon.
I’m still gratefully in shock about what happened this morning. MJ had to get a dental filling for one of his teeth. Based on his previous appointments, the dentist suggested that we try to do the filling without sedation. Three years ago, Mj had to be sedated in order to receive almost any dental work. It’s so amazing to see how he has been able to tolerate everything that they need to do one appointment after the other. The dentist opened the office earlier than normal just to make sure that they would have uninterrupted time with Mj. This morning, they did give him “laughing gas” to help relax him a bit and they also had a TV in the ceiling that he was able to watch while they were working on his teeth. He yelled the entire time that they gave him the shot to numb his mouth but after that he was actually OK! There were a few times when it looked like he was going to gag but the dental team quickly adjusted and made him feel totally comfortable. There was even a person dedicated to just holding his hand and cheering him on as they completed the procedure! If you told me three years ago that this could have happened, I honestly would not have believed you. The change over these last few years has been amazing. This just further teaches me not to underestimate MJ or God!
MJ just had his first airplane ride since he was a baby! Needless to say, I had been a little worried about how it would go for a few weeks now. To prepare him, I used a calendar to let him see exactly when we would be leaving and returning. I also used several social stories about flying on an airplane. I then found a great YouTube video that showed a step-by-step process of what happens while you are at the airport. He was very reluctant to watch the video, but I made sure he watched it anyhow. I downloaded a few of his favorite shows onto his tablet, made sure he had his headphones, and had a few of his favorite snacks as well. The TSA check in was a little frustrating but that was pretty normal. He waited patiently to board, and once on the flight, he was excited to see that Delta had plenty of entertainment options for him. He looked at what his sister was doing and plugged in his headphones and decided to browse through all of the movies that he could watch. He was so excited when he saw the Charlie Brown movie, the Teen Titans movie, and Finding Nemo. He happily chose Finding Nemo and started watching the movie even before the flight took off! This helped to distract him from the noise of the plane after it took off. While in the air he complained a few times, but I am happy to report that he was calm and fell asleep during the flight!
This was the first time that my family was on an airplane together. As I sat on the plane and looked at them, I had to hold back tears. This is something that so many families take for granted and it is something that I have wanted to do for years, but I knew that MJ just was not ready. This experience will now open up other opportunities for us to travel together as a family by plane. I’m. So Grateful.
We spent a wonderful weekend celebrating Mjs’s birthday as well as Mother’s Day! We started out by trying something different with him-We took him fishing! Most of the time, we don’t know how he is going to respond to certain activities so we were attentively watching him during the process. He ended up really enjoying it and I am so pleased that we now have another activity that he can be involved in. He also went to his favorite restaurant and we ended off his celebration at the beach, which is his favorite place to be 😁.
Well we had MJ’s IEP meeting recently and it went “as expected.” They went over how he was doing on his current goals and added in some new ones for next school year. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to fight with them on his speech therapy. He will continue to have 90 minutes of speech therapy per week. However, I did agree that the occupational therapy was no longer needed. MJ has come such a long way with his hand writing and it is completely legible. What I found, was that the OT given at his high school was mainly to improve a child’s handwriting and nothing more. It was funny to see their facial expressions when I immediately agreed that OT was not needed. They assumed that I was going to put up a fight about it. I did have to mention a situation to the ESE specialist in regards to another child taking MJ’s lunch. It was an issue that I was able to figure out after a few weeks of questioning MJ. To make a long story short, one of his classmates was asking him for his food every day and MJ was actually giving the child his food! The teacher and the aides had no idea that this was happening because they were off to the side assisting the kids that needed the most help. Once I made them aware that something was going on, they spoke to the child as well as everyone in the classroom to make sure that it wouldn’t happen again. Initially I was furious about the situation but right now I’m just thankful that I was able to figure it out. Lately, I’m being really selective with the battles I choose to fight. I know God’s got my back and MJ’s back, no matter what.
We are now in the second half of the school year. Though I’m still not completely happy with MJ’s teacher, he seems to like going to school and she actually has great teacher’s assistants in the room. There’s not as much homework anymore so it’s a little easier going at home. I recently received a letter regarding his upcoming IEP meeting. Now that he’s older, he’s invited to attend the meeting. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. Needless to say, I already have a list of items that I will be discussing at his meeting. Until then, I am going to continue taking it one day at a time.
It has been a busy month in our household! Between MJ’s life Skills class, Social Skills Group, and my daughter’s activities, we all have pretty much been stretched thin. MJ has now completed the life skills class and for us the biggest accomplishment was that he now independently and consistently ties his shoelaces! That made it totally worth being as tired as we all were. I was so pleased with the class that I will probably sign him up again sometime next year and develop different goals for them to work on with him.
Today marks our official first day of Winter Break! I am so thankful that we will all have time to relax a bit and enjoy the holidays 😁.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving day! The best part of the weekend happened on Thanksgiving night. I went into MJ’s room to tell him goodnight. As I was leaving the room I heard him mumble something. I turned around and asked him to repeat what he said. He looked right at me and said, “Mommy, I’m thankful for my family.” I went to bed just beaming ❤️.