Positive Changes

J has been in school just shy of a week and a half and things are going beyond well. We have even started to see some positive changes here at home which just excites us about the coming school year. We are just so proud of him! Now if he’d only take the much-needed nap he needs right now but is fighting profusely at I write this.

  • J has become much more independent in the last few weeks, wanting his own space, doing his own thing. It’s especially noticed when iPad time has been granted, he’ll look at us and tell us bye so off we have to go. We usually have to talk him into letting us sit with him on the couch or even in the same room. We are able to get a few more chores done inside now in other rooms because we aren’t allowed to sit and relax with him.
  • J has started to say love independently. I taught him a few weeks ago to cross his arms over his chess as a way for him to physically express his love. He now does it all on his own without prompts. It is so genuinely heart warming. More so when he then leans in for a kiss on the cheek, wanting of course a hug and a I love you too in return. At times we may get a corresponding bye because that is all he wanted from us at that time. Such a silly guy!
  • J started signing MOM!!! Though he has been saying mum for some time now, it has been questionable at times as “mmm” has also been his go to sound. So having him be able to sign mom is amazing because it now differentiates me – mum from all his other mmm’s.
  • At the beginning of the school year, his teacher wanted to start working with J on listening to the request/command ‘come here’ followed by praise and positive reinforcement. We’ve both been working on it at home and have seen a good amount of progress. It’s a good request/command for him to learn whether in everyday instruction or in case of emergency situations.
  • Overall J has been communicating a lot more with both of us and at school they have noticed an increase too, in both verbal and non-verbal communication. This has been a lot of fun. It really started taking place when Lance and I got back from vacation. For example, verbally he’s saying ‘yay’ to questions we are knowing we’ll get a yes too and then he’ll beam his gorgeous smile and give a little flap when we respond to his ‘yay’ with positive reinforcement. An example of his non-verbal communication was the other day he only ate a little of his breakfast so I took the rest of it to him on the couch where he was enjoying his morning iPad time. I went back to the kitchen to finish getting my things ready and here he comes a few seconds later with the plate in his hands. He placed it on the counter, looked at me directly and signed ‘all done’. Though shocked by the definite communication, it was hilarious to see his determined face wanting to get his point across that he was completely done eating.

I love all these amazing and happy changes he has been going through which Lance and I have been able to experience. Here’s to the rest of the school year. Now that I have jinxed all this wonderful progress cause that’s what I do, my next blog will be how our world is falling apart at that seams and we just can do this! That’s just how I roll.

 

 

 

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Summer’s Over…To School J Goes

J started 1st Grade this week! It’s bitter-sweet for sure, first days of school always are. Means our not-so-little boy is continuing to get older and then so are we. I told him the other day that he needs to stay 6 forever and in agreement I’ll stay 32. I hope he comes through on his end.

In the past it wasn’t so much that I dreaded first days of school but as Lance and I were the only ones excited for him, as any normal parent is for their child, it was rather difficult when J could have cared less. No excitement to get a new backpack or his school supplies, no excitement to see the kids at school or ride the bus, no recognition of where he was going and what it all meant. I worried more about how he would react behavioral-wise getting out to the driveway to wait for the bus, how he would be getting on the bus, how he would handle getting to school and how each day would go. The anxieties of an autism mom.

This time it was J’s third first day of school but as first days go, I think it was our best one yet! Everyone was expressing some form of excitement for the first time. J had four days of extended school year (ESY) prior to school starting, an hour each day, which I definitely attribute to our rather smooth transition back. His special education teacher was all about showing and explaining to J that school is fun and making sure he saw some of his favorites places at school such as the gym, and then the gym and the gym again.

We used this as motivation for his first day back. Telling him he was going to bye and get to ride the bus to school, yay!, and that he would get to go to the gym (have I mentioned this is his favorite place at school?). This along with using his iPad as a tactic to get him up, ready and downstairs to eat breakfast worked perfectly and has established our morning routine thus far.

He had a GREAT first day of 1st Grade and Lance and I were THRILLED! His amazing teacher even emailed us both which I can’t begin to express my gratitude for having her again this year for J’s education. She’s a wonderful teacher, resource for us and support to J. Our hope; parents, teachers, aides, is that because his schedule has changed only a little that he will be able to get back into his routine like he was successfully doing at the end of last school year. Positive outlook = Positive outcomes…or let’s hope (wink!).

Again, I’m beyond thankful for our great first week back to school. I’m grateful that this year it all clicked for us. Here’s to many more successful days. But for those days that aren’t, there’s always wine. Cheers!

 

 

 

A Much Needed Break

Lance and I enjoyed 5 days and 5 nights in Jamaica, for a trip that was pure relaxation. I understand not everyone has the means to splurge on a paradise vacation, but I urge all parents to take break for a few days and have a little escape just for themselves. Unplugging and just being does wonders for one’s soul.

I was quite homesick the day we arrived, especially for J and his presence. Besides a small 3 day trip we took to try and relax 3 years prior (that didn’t work out), we hadn’t really been so far from J for such an extended time. Lance was so very patient with me though as we finally made our way to dinner and took that first night to relax under the stars watching the waves roll onto the beach.

The next day we got into a routine of waking up to NO alarm, taking our needed things for the day with us to a delicious buffet breakfast and then claiming a shady spot on the beach to soak up the sun and read to our heart’s content. We would then take our leave for a delicious late lunch then back to the beach were we would stay until a break from the sun was needed. Head to our room in the late afternoon hours to wash away the sand and get ready for yet another delicious meal, dinner.

This was our life for 5 days. We could have gone on excursions but we both agreed what was the point when we had everything we could want or need on the resort. To be able to read, drink, relax and be together was our paradise, next to the beach and sea of course.

It was 5 days that we didn’t spend worried, stressed or consumed by being a parent or more so being a parent to a non-verbal autistic 6 year old. It was truly a break our minds needed from these daily factors. Not only did we get the time to disconnect from autism, but also time to disconnect from all forms of social media. The way things can consume our minds these days is nuts. Most importantly we were able to actually relax because we knew J was in great hands staying with my folks for the week, so blessed to have them and the great relationship they both have with J.

I am beyond glad that we went on this trip! I’m glad Lance and I got to reconnect and just enjoy being in each other’s company. Already looking forward to when we can plan another one in 3 to 5 years.