My MJ. Thinking about his future often keeps me awake at night. Not only because he is autistic but because he is Black and Autistic. I often wonder what will happen in a few years after he has graduated from high school and will be job training. What will happen when he is not around us? Will someone misinterpret his mannerisms? Will they shoot first before asking questions? If he can’t answer the questions, will they think that he is resisting because he doesn’t understand their directives? All of it is frightening to think about. We are doing our part to teach him as best as we can and prepare him for this world. The praying for Mj never stops. I pray this world really changes for the better after these recent events. I pray this is not just a show for many people. I pray that everyone truly believes that Black Lives Matter.
HE LIKES THEM! Well at least he said “I think so” when I asked him if he did lol. Mj HATES trying anything new. I basically had to force him to try these but, as I always say he hates vegetables. The ONLY vegetable he will eat is sweet potato. We’ve tried hiding them in food, making smoothies, etc but he’s like the FBI when it comes to finding vegetables in food! He always notices a difference in texture or taste. We are so grateful that these chewables will allow Mj to incorporate veggies and more fruit into his diet. #theonlyveggieheeatsissweetpotato #thankGodhelikesthese #juiceplus #heneedsit #grateful #autisticteen #autismfamily #hisfacethough😂.
SCREAMING Happy Birthday to my awesome son who turns 16 today!! We couldn’t do what we normally would but, we made the best of it. He started with: a big birthday breakfast, then his friends from school sang him “Happy Birthday” during their online class today, we had his birthday lunch delivered, then had birthday cake. In between all of that he still completed schoolwork and participated in his online language therapy.
I want to thank all of the friends and family that sent birthday videos, sent text messages, called, and gave gifts. We truly appreciate you and it warms our heart to know how many people love our MJ❤️. Today was a great day.
Mj receives 90 minutes of speech/ language therapy every week at school. It’s a combination of one-on-one and group sessions. We have been blessed to have wonderful therapists in the past and I truly hate that he’s going to miss it for these coming weeks. I am going to Dr. YouTube, Dr. Google, Dr. Jesus, and a few therapists that I know, to ask for resources that I can use for Mj until this time is over.
I went into the IEP meeting ready to “lay down the law!” I had all of my notes, questions, email print-outs, and work samples with me. The first thing we discussed was a recent issue that happened in the cafeteria with a student taking some of Mj’s lunch. We already had an issue with this a year ago and I was told that there would be “more supervision.” They seem to think that just because Mj can open his own milk carton and feed himself that he doesn’t need as much supervision as some of the other students. Anyway, I digress…We began going through the IEP and I insisted that they add a goal for his social communication. The goal that they had was something about him raising his hand in class?! That was definitely not a strong goal so I had them add one regarding Mj initiating conversation with his peers. We then discussed some issues that we had regarding HW that was being sent home that was way above his comprehension level. All it serves to do is frustrate MJ, which then frustrates me, which then frustrates my husband…and so on and so on. The ESE specialist and his teacher, agreed that it would not happen again. Due to MJ’s age, they began to talk about his transition out of high school. They started talking about a possible vocational/job training program and that’s when it happened. I felt the tears coming on and said, “Oh my God, I think I’m gonna cry.” By the time I said it, the tears were already flowing. I was not prepared to hear about any of the programs and to think about what Mj’s life would look like after high school. I thought I had another year before they would begin discussing these things. I tried to wipe my tears, get myself together and continue looking at my notes but it didn’t help. The entire meeting from that moment on was me listening as they talked about the various programs that may be a good fit for MJ. I listened intently and took as many notes as I could about each and every program. Then they mentioned the need for my husband and me to get a lawyer to begin looking up guardianship. She followed that with a statement about how expensive it was to get that done. It was all just too much. I managed to ask additional questions and read through the IEP but all I could think about was… What is going to happen to MJ after high school? What are we going to do? Will he transition well? Will he get into any of these programs? Will transportation be safe? What job is right for MJ? The questions in my mind have not stopped since this meeting.
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❤️.
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.
Well, our summer has officially come to an end. The kids started school today. MJ is now in the 10th grade and Morgan is now a seventh grader! Today’s morning drop off was great. Both kids were super excited and I know for a fact that my daughter didn’t sleep too well! When I got to the front of the school to drop off Mj, I was relieved to see his friends, all of the aides, and the ESE specialist waiting to greet all of the students! Though I’m not totally happy with Mjs current teacher, I am being optimistic about this school year. Here we go!
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!