Life Skills Class to the Rescue

Mj has been taking a life skills class twice a week for the last 3 weeks or so.  We were called and offered the opportunity to have him in the program and we decided to take them up on the offer.  The coordinator for the class wanted my input on what skills I wanted MJ to work on.  I told them he needed extra help with brushing his teeth, washing his face, doing chores, and tying his shoelaces.

Every day that he goes to class, I get a report of the goals that MJ worked on for the day.  He is getting better and better with all of his goals.  Last week they told me that he tied his shoelaces by himself.  I looked at them in disbelief (he has tied them before years ago, but could never do it again) and asked that they record him tying his laces or I would not believe them! Well, this past week I was pleasantly surprised when I picked him up and they showed me a 39 second video of MJ independently tying his shoelaces!  It almost brought tears to my eyes.  I couldn’t believe that he did it in less than a minute.

This week, I am planning on untying every shoe he has, just to be sure that he continues to tie them at home as well!  I am so grateful to the Children’s Ability Center and all that they are doing for MJ.  He is getting older and I know that some resources may not be available to him in the future.  We don’t have any time to waste.  He is currently in 3 different activities and this will continue through the end of December.  Yes, we are tired, but we will be happily tired if it means MJ being the best that he can be.

His Needs Over My Wants

I’m sitting in the car while MJ is in therapy.  We learned years ago that MJ does better in therapy when we are not around.  As a matter of fact while we were in GA the therapists didn’t even allow us in the room! We drive over 30 minutes each way and always have traffic going to his appointments.  I have considered switching to an office closer to home. It honestly would be so much easier.  We would have less traffic and less frustration. However, MJ loves his therapist and so do I.  She is patient, kind, and knowledgeable.  She never calls out and misses his sessions. She is always there.  I know that she actually cares about MJ and that is a wonderful thing.  It’s selfish of me but I hope she stays at this office forever!  I’m just so thankful right now for what and whom we have.   

  

Is He Serious?!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when MJ tied laces while in therapy? Remember all the celebrating? Well today and every day after that celebratory moment has been downhill in terms of tying shoe laces.  He hasn’t done it since that day!  At therapy, Ms. E. Tried everything she could, to get him to tie it again😒. When therapy was over we just looked at each other and honestly, laughed.  We both KNOW that he CAN do it! It’s obviously just on HIS own time.  This is not to say that we are giving up.  We will never do that.  It’s now time to search out other motivations for him to consistently complete this task.   

“I Almost Got It!”

I was excited to take MJ to therapy today.  He was in a great mood which apparently was present all day because his teacher sent me a great message.  Last week we were unable to go due to a horrible accident on the interstate.  When we got there today, MJ had just woken up.  I don’t like it when he falls asleep right before therapy because he sometimes doesn’t concentrate or engage in the session.  Well today he was awesome! HE ALMOST TIED HIS SHOELACES!!   After therapy he said “I almost got it!” He hasn’t been this close to mastering it in a long time.  I’m so thankful for therapy sessions like today.  Many times MJ shuts down for one reason or another, gets frustrated, or doesn’t respond.  Thank God for great days! I don’t take them for granted!

  
In dream land right before his session today. 😊

#TBT Pics: He Has Come A Long Way!

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This was MJ at 3 years old when he was first diagnosed.  He was having fun completing a sorting activity in his special needs Pre-K.  He has always had that smile and has always loved school.

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Yep you guessed it…He needed TWO therapists to assist him at the same time.  This pic is from 2008 (4 years old).  He needed one person to basically hold him down and one therapist to actually do the activity with him.  During those days he would yell, scream, and cry during the first 20 minutes of therapy.

Some people say “it’s not good to look back”, but in this case I am glad that I do.  Looking back is really helping me to see how far he has truly come.  🙂

Mj’s Therapy

Finding additional therapy for MJ has been a task (he receives 90 min of speech therapy and 30 minutes of occupational therapy every week at school).  I spent hours online and on the phone calling several centers to find out if they took my insurance and had evening appointments available.  Thankfully I found a great place for him to go.  It’s 30 minutes away from our home but I make the drive because MJ is worth it.  He thinks he is just going to play and exercise but it’s all occupational therapy.  We still have a way to go as he still can’t tie his shoelaces yet (gonna have a party when that finally happens), but I have seen major improvements over the years.  His writing is legible and he writes sentences now, he can fasten and unfasten buttons and buckles, he has more balance, and more strength in his arms and legs.  Tonight in therapy he did an excellent job going through the obstacle course and performing several other activities.  I am so grateful for his wonderful therapist Ms. Elizabeth.  She is able to get him to do things that I STILL can’t get him to do lol!  She is another piece of this autism puzzle that I could not do without!

Featured imageMJ and Ms. Elizabeth 🙂

My Husband…Oh, My Husband!

Through the next few years it became increasingly  more difficult for my husband to deal with MJ and his autism diagnosis. NO PEOPLE HE WASN’T IN DENIAL (people love to say this)! He was very much aware of what we were dealing with and he didn’t like it one bit. He came home one day and I could tell something was wrong by the look on his face. I asked “What’s wrong…what happened,” He said, “Today when I dropped MJ off to daycare, three little girls called out to MJ and instead of him going toward them to say ‘hello,’ he ran away from them!” In all seriousness, he speaks his truth about the situation and although it is hard for me to hear at times, I appreciate his honesty. You know they say men do not talk much and they hold in their feelings?!?! Well, NOT THIS GUY. I would love for him to join a support group or see a therapist but he refuses. Maybe one day through prayer he will change his mind. I can honestly say that on some days it is more difficult dealing with my husband’s feelings about this, then it is to deal with MJ!!! I researched and found out that the divorce rates were high for the parents of special needs children. I informed my husband about this and we both looked at each other as if to say “we know why”. When MJ was younger and the constant screaming, banging and throwing toys, and not being able to understand what MJ was saying was happening, there were days that he just had to leave the house for a few. IT WAS HARD TO ENDURE PEOPLE! I never took offense to it…I would rather him leave and re-group, then to do or say something hurtful. Thankfully for us, we are friends. We communicate a lot with each other even when one person is saying something the other doesn’t agree with. We may have to take a break (I put the Vaseline back in the cabinet and put my earrings back on lol) and then continue our conversation, but we make sure that there is some kind of resolve. I remember one conversation where I asked him about “teamwork”. I took the lead with most of the “things” regarding MJ. I knew how this entire situation made him feel and, can I be honest? I knew I would do a better job at it! So, what I could do on my own, I did, while at the same time keeping my husband informed. Teamwork, my husband’s sense of humor, and God is how we have stayed together over the years…Oh and one more thing…our annual “stay married” vacation :-)…