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 😁.
This is the second time in a year that I have heard one child say this to another child. It happened right in front of me and I had to use everything within my mind, soul, and body to remain as adult and professional as I could without “going off” on the child.
After taking a long, deep breath I explained to her that the statement was ignorant, rude, and offensive. I explained how intelligent Autistics are and how they think and see the world differently. I encouraged her to do some research. Then I proceeded to show her my huge autism pin along with two autism bracelets that I was wearing proudly!
It made me extremely sad for the entire day. I kept thinking, “Where are they getting this information from? Of all of the things that could have been said, why was “autistic” chosen?” It showed me that WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO! If we want our kids to truly be accepted, then kids and adults must be educated about autism. I also wondered, why did I hear it? Is this something God wanted me to hear for a reason?
Towards the end of the day, the child did apologize but it didn’t change the way that I felt and still feel. MJ does not deserve a world that thinks so little of him.
MJs IEP meeting was just this past week! No matter how many of these I attend, It’s still very difficult to hear about all of your child’s “areas of need,” before they get to his progress. It is still difficult for us to sit and listen to it all. Earlier last month I received a draft of the IEP that I immediately took to work to have a friend look at for me. She is an ESE specialist and is familiar with what happens in high school. As I write this, I honestly cannot believe that MJ will be going to high school next year! It seems as though I was just writing the same thing about him going to middle school! I have the same emotions. I’m nervous, excited, scared, and at the same time hopeful! MJ did so well in middle school and I’m anticipating the same for high school. I had to fill out a school choice form for him to be able to attend the high school that we wanted. I still have to wait another month to find out if it’s approved. I know two other autism moms that have their children at the school and they both love the program and speak highly of the teachers so I’m really praying that we get that school. One concern for me during the IEP meeting was that they wanted to decrease his speech therapy from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. Excuseeeee me! I immediately asked why they wanted to do that and no one could answer me! His speech therapist wasn’t even at the meeting! She had a fill-in instead and this person had never seen MJ for a therapy session. I looked at everyone as though they had five heads and told them, “absolutely not!” I had to keep my composure to make sure that “Nicky from the 305” did not make an appearance! I told them to change it back to 90 minutes, as speech is one of the main things that we know he needs to work on. He still has much better receptive language than expressive language. I’m still baffled by that horrible suggestion. One positive take away was how much better his hand writing has gotten since entering middle school. The occupational therapist was able to show me something that he recently wrote. You can see it below. All in all, the meeting was productive. Once I get approval on the high school, we will all be visiting there to tour the school and meet the teachers. But for now I have to get my mind and spirit ready for the fact that it’shappening…I will soon have a high schooler.
Some weeks back I wrote about visiting a new facility that MJ can go to for various activities. In order for him to be able to participate, we had to do a parent tour, 2 intake sessions, one with MJ and one without, and fill out lots of paperwork. Last week, I was finally able to have him participate in a Social Games class. I was a little nervous when I was taking him because I didn’t fully know what to expect and I wanted him to be in a good mood for the first session. I prepared him for it by explaining that he would be meeting new people, playing games, and having fun. He had no idea that therapy would be going on while he plays. Being the overprotective mom that I am (sorry, not sorry), I asked if I could observe just for a few minutes to make sure that he was okay (in my mind I still see him as the 5-year old that used to run into oncoming traffic). They nicely told me that I could do that towards the end of the session. While waiting, a fellow autism mom showed me the parent observation room! I ran for the chance to see what he was doing. All I saw was pure JOY on MJ’s face. He was so happy playing the game. I was relieved that he wasn’t just fine, he was laughing and being silly. When the session was over he was so talkative! Telling me that he played games, had fun and “I want to come back next week!”
Just yesterday I took Morgan to a sibling support group. There were about 15 kids there. They talked, played games, made hot chocolate, had snacks, did arts and crafts, and were sent home with a bag full of goodies. I cannot begin to express how thrilled and thankful I am for this new program. They not only serve the child with special needs, they serve the entire family.
Unbelievably true and needed!
Courtesy of @theautismvoice on Instagram