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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Teaching an Autistic Learner

Daniel had a rough day.  He gets so frustrated with subjects sometimes and reverts to unusual calming methods.  Some people call it "stimming" but it isn't a term I care for.  He rocks, clears his throat, purrs, whines, along with other things.  As he has gotten older, it is a lot less visible.  However, today was bad.  "Peninsula."  Easy enough to sound out. And you would think that you would get it after reading it 2 or 3 times.  Nope! Not the case!  He could sound it out and then read the sentence again and not remember the word.  I got frustrated.  This lead to Daniel frustration and he starting to make noises, then crying.  I hate it when he cries.  But I know that when he gets frustrated with himself, he will break through any barrier that is keeping him from learning.  I couldn't say what that barrier is.  I don't think there is an explanation.  All I know is that works, even though it hurts me.  He cries, then busts through that barrier.  Then for the next few days or weeks, he amazes me with what he learns.

This isn't the case with all people on the Autism Spectrum.  Each one is different.  Has different triggers, calming methods, learning methods, and ect.  I am very fortunate to have found and understand Daniel's patterns when he was young.  I suppose it is because I am so bull headed and won't let him give up.  Maybe because he is bull headed and won't give up.  Who knows.

But the rest of today, he has devoured books.  He calmed down, dug his heels in, and started pulling in information out of everything.  Now he is content. Calm. Resting in bed.

The rest of today, I was emotionally spent.  Right now, I am not worth being around.  But I am satisfied that he is calm, and we got through together.  I love him so much.  And I pray that he turns into the kind of man his dad is.  Wayne (though not diagnosed) is very symptomatic.

Rough day, I look forward to a better day tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mr. Mac

                                                                         MY MAC!!!

I went to do all the paper work for Mac's service plan yesterday.  His speech teachers are so happy with how he is doing, and are sad to see him change from the preschool speech services to services for children school age.  He and Daniel will have the same therapist next year, very exciting!!!

At 4 months of age, Mac received speech services 3 times a week.  By the age of 3, we were down to twice a week.  Last August, he started receiving one half hour session a week.  And this summer, is the first summer that he will go without weekly services.  This has been a long time coming!  I have had therapist in my home or have driven him places every week for the last 5 years!  I had no idea how much stress this caused.

But he is doing so wonderful!  There are some people that can't tell that he has a moderately severe hearing loss.  His "s", "z", "th", and "sh" sounds are a little slushy.  Sometimes, he mixes the sounds (substitutes "th" for "s").  Other than that, most people can't tell.  He is a very verbal little boy.

Mac is accepted by all.  He has assimilated into the hearing and Deaf worlds.  There aren't many people who are accepted.  Mac has the ability to hop between the Deaf and Hearing cultures without missing a beat.  He has a gift of accepting others as they are and being accepted in return.

Mac's personality is loud (just like his speech).  He brightens up the room as soon as he walks in.  And then causes laughter to break out across the room as soon as he finds whatever mischief that he is going to get into.  He is kind and loving.  He is hypersensitive to people and their feelings.  He is confident and will tell you so.


I am very excited about having my summer without services again.  But more than that, I thank GOD that he gave me the opportunity to be the mother of this little boy.  And that the HEAVENLY FATHER gave Mac the wonderful personality that will help shape his future.  What an amazing gift.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holidays for Mom's

Now that all plans for Easter have been accomplished, I look back at all the holidays and all the work.  Is it all worth it? There's all the shopping, cooking, and planning.  Is it REALLY worth all the stress? 

A general example:
First, Mom has to convince Dad to watch the kids so that she can shop for holiday items (Easter basket stuff, lunch, and clothes).  Then, Mom has to be able to get into the house without being attacked by children when she pulls in the driveway.  Easter items have to be hidden in the house because in South Mississippi, chocolate doesn't stay solid in the car. But the kids are already pounding on the van window, to the point that Mom is scared for her life!!!!  Nevertheless, Mom is able to fight her way through the hungry crowd (a constant state of being in children) to get all the items and groceries into the house.  Then becomes the task of putting the groceries away before the cold things spoil or the children break/consume the food.  Now during the week before Easter, Mom also has to bus children around from one activity to the next because she is certain that her babies will not miss out on all the fun activities.  The night before Easter there is the preparing for the "Easter Bunny".  After all he can't come into a dirty house!  And she tries to get any cooking possible completed, so that is off her plate.  All the children HAVE to be clean for church the next day, so showers ensue.  Then the water has to be mopped up off the floor, because they are too excited to remember close the shower curtain.  Stories are read, kids are in bed, and Mom chases them back to bed again and again (they are again too excited).  FINALLY, they are asleep and it is time for a finish up any cooking that can be prepared before hand.  Then off to find that rabbit and make sure the job is done. Well, "Harvey" fell asleep and she is left on her own.  So, Mom (lovingly even though frustrated and exhausted) helps Harvey with his ONLY Easter job.  Around midnight, Mom get to sleep.  6:00 a.m., Mom wakes up to get everyone ready for church.  In the words of Dave Ramsey, "you can lose your religion getting ready for church."  The kids are so excited!  And they have gotten into a piece of candy before you  stopped them from consuming the entire basket.  The family makes it to church, all the kids to their classes.  But Mom is service focused, so she goes and serves in different ministries exhausting herself further.  The family gets home and Mom starts the final preparations for dinner.  WAIT THOUGH! There are VEGETABLES!  Who knew that you had to eat those "nasty things."  Mom finally makes it through dinner, and the table is cleaned.  Now, to the Easter eggs!!!  Well, that "Harvey" fell asleep again.  So, Mom goes and hides the eggs.  Kids run crazy through the yard finding the eggs.  A blood curdling scream goes through the air!!!  The 3 year old found his sister's basket.  After a few times hiding and finding eggs, they are playing outside "nicely" and the house is a disaster again.  Mom finally sits for a moment thinking, "Is it worth all this?"  The daughter comes in with a present that she made today.  It is one coupon for a free hug. Mom thinks again....."Yes, it's worth it.

   What is a holiday without a meltdown????  

Don't forget.  Jesus thought we were worth it too.  We were important enough to him that he gave himself through a cruel death on a cross so that we could have eternal life in heaven.  He didn't want us to miss out either.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reason to Excercise

My Gabe and I went to Barnes and Nobles.  He loves to rummage through the books.  It is so nice to sit around and listen to him make up stories with the pictures in the books.  He also likes to move from chair to chair when he changes from one story to the next.  Well, he was having such a GREAT time telling about all the animals in Diego's field journal.  Then he got up to change seats.  "Come over here, Mommy! Come sit with me!"  As I moved to sit down he said, "Not there! Your hiney's to big."

I had to laugh!  But I also took that in to mentally process....And I proudly announce that it was my 3 day jogging 3 miles.  9 miles this week! Even with the virus going around the house!  I would like to thank my husband for watching the kids so I could do this.  Yeah, I know I am acting like I just won a fancy award.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Funny Little Mac

Here are a few quotes from my 5 year old, Mac.

"Mom, I weigh 46.5 plus tax."

"Did you hear me fart? Then why aren't you laughing?"

Wayne has a kidney infection. I told Mac that the doctor was going to give his daddy a shot in the rear. Mac said, "Will he leak out of his butt?"

Mac ran into the street. I told him that he would get hit by a car doing that. He said, "Then I will die. Go to heaven. And God would say, 'Mmmm, Mmmm, look what you did to your momma!'"

 "I don't like that gum. It makes me blond."

"Mom, that is a big mouth bass spawning ground. You can't fish there because the Daddy fish is protecting his eggs and will get angry."


Daniel has been asking "behave yourself" means.  I don't know...act right?  Well, that isn't clear either.  He need measurable goals.  It makes me think that all of the Pharisees were on the Autism Spectrum.  Spectrum folks crave rules.  

Today, I was helping Daniel with his AWANA stuff. He was to look up a verse, read it, and answer some questions. We accidentally read the wrong verse. Oops! We read Colossians 4:1-7

1 Mastersgrant to your slaves justice and fairnessknowing that you too have a Master inheaven2 Devote yourselves to prayerkeeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving ; 3praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned ; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. 7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.

Yes, I highlighted verse 6.  Yea, ummmm.  I don't do that.  I am always very matter of fact (that may be an understatement). 

We are called to be "full of grace".  To be effortless in kindness or courtesy does not come naturally to me.  We are to behave/speak in this manor to open the door to share the selfless acts of Christ Jesus.  I don't believe that this means we have to be the syrupy-sweet kind of speaker if that isn't your personality.  

So, Daniel, to "behave yourself" is to act in a way that shows others the wonderful and perfect Savior.  One measurable rule.