Annette made it sound like so much fun, I've also decided to move my blog over to Wordpress (if there are any of you left to read it, lol). If you haven't already decided I'm dead and stopped coming by here, check out the new blog:http://reednowensmommy.wordpress.com
I've got a new post up there and everything.
Q: How can you tell if your child has a great educator?
A: When they write poetry about him. Today, Reed came home from school clutching a paper. I had to wait until after he went to bed to read it, because he wouldn't give it up before then. Here is what I found:
by Mrs. C.
I work at school with a boy named
Sometimes I laugh as he’s doing a deed.
He analyzes, often
Comes up with words of colossal sizes.
in school for just two weeks
The progress he’s made has come in
He’s sitting longer, listening well,
Taking his turn, there’s more
As he reads a book, he may laugh and giggle.
nickname for him has become “Mr. Wiggle”.
Reed has taught me to be patient,
have compassion and joy-
Teaching is a pleasure with this great, funny boy.
I've always loved his aide, but now I really
love her. The boost to his self confidence is just awesome, and it's so great to hear how much she loves working with him.
I've been lax in posting again. Sorry about that. The end of summer and beginning of the school year has found me quite busy. We went on a fantastic vacation. Reed did so great! There was only one minor meltdown, and one destructive episode, but otherwise he was charming. Not bad for an 8 day vacation that took us across 4 states. We even had what Heath jokingly calls the "Wallyworld experience" in which the amusement park we had advance tickets for was closed for the week when we showed up at the front gate. I thought for sure that would be a deal-breaker for Reed, but he handled it like a trooper. He was clearly disappointed, but cheerfully participated in the remainder of the activities we planned for the day. Luckily, the park re-opened for the holiday weekend, so we still got to use our tickets (although we had to skip the family reunion we've been planning to attend all year. Oh well.).
And now for the best news of all: Reed is doing great in school! I was so sure that this week would be a disaster. We got home from vacation 45 minutes before bedtime the day before school started. After more than a week away from home, I was anticipating the transition from vacation to home to be difficult enough on its own. Add to that the transition from summer vacation to school and I was certain we had a recipe for disaster. Boy, was I wrong. He has had phenomenal days all week (school started on Tuesday). His teacher and aide have been thrilled with his participation. But hands-down, the best moment of the school year so far for me happened before school even started. We were standing in the hall outside his classroom waiting for the teachers to check the kids in. The hallway was utter chaos. Reed was looking a little anxious, but was overall taking it well. All of a sudden, a boy from his Kindergarten class last year rounds the corner in front of us. Reed jumped out from the wall, looked him squarely in the face and said “Hi Alex! It’s me, Reed. Are you in my class?” I nearly fainted. In spite of being pretty overwhelmed by the noise and confusion, he still managed to initiate an age-appropriate conversation without any help from an adult. Holy cow, where did this come from?
The next morning, he stood in line with another boy from last year’s class and chatted while they waited to be let into the classroom, while his aide looked on from a distance. She commented that, while he mostly listened as the other boy talked, he did interact in the conversation as well. Woo Hoo! He’s making friends this year, not just “friends” (which seemed to mean anyone whose name he knew and could identify in the hallway at school last year).
One last, but HUGE
victory to report for the week: Yesterday, our library had a special event to unveil the newly renovated children’s section. Reed loves the library, but has trouble with the basic library rules, so we don’t go often, but since there were going to be special guests reading stories and crafts and games for the kids, I decided this would be a good chance for him to spend some time with his beloved books without having to worry to much about being quiet and still. Not only did he do crafts with a couple other kids, and listen attentively to the celebrity guest readers, he READ ALOUD TO THE ENTIRE LIBRARY
. Yes, you heard me correctly. One of the volunteers asked if he’d like to read a book, and he jumped up on stage, and read 3 short stories to 2 dozen spectators. He even remembered to turn the book to show the illustrations at the end of each page, proving that he realized that he was interacting with the audience. Naturally, I took lots of pictures, but it was with the old film camera (my digital’s been acting up lately), and I haven’t developed the roll yet. But you can bet I’ll be posting them as soon as I can.
*Gasp* 2 Posts in one week!
Shocking, I know. I'm kind of freaking out and I need all your help here.
I just found out that Reed is skipping first grade. They've placed him in the grade 2-3 gifted class this year. How can my 5 year old be a SECOND GRADER already?!?!? It shouldn't be possible. Anyway, that's beside the point.
My problem is this, this is the first school year we've begun since the diagnosis. I am unsure how to prepare Reed for school to start again. Since he is mainstreamed (he attends a small Charter school and has an EA), this class will likely be nothing like his Kindergarten class last year. After being away from school, and then it being completely unpredictable for him until he learns the new schedule, I'm afraid the changes will be more than any of us can take. How do you
prepare your child for the start of something familiar yet different? I think it would almost be easier if this was totally new, since he wouldn't have any expectations at all, but I'm pretty sure he will be expecting it to be just like last year.
Help! I have less than a month to prepare and I have no idea what I'm doing!
Happy Blogiversary to me
Well, I've lived through another year, and I've got the blog to prove it. Of course that doesn't amount to much post-wise, since I'm such a lousy blogger, but it's really weird to look back on my first posts and see how far we've come in the last year.
Virtual cake for everyone!
We interrupt your regularly scheduled autism
I was all ready to post yesterday about our lovely (albeit brief) vacation with the kids. About how they both loved camping, and we had a great time. And then we went to OT.
First, let me start by explaining that my dad gave us our car because he got hit by someone during a snowstorm last winter, and decided that he didn't want to fix the damage. We have spent all year working on that car, a few things here, a few things there. We just got it finished about 3 weeks ago. It was completely fixed (except for needing a new paint job). For the first time since Reed was a baby, we had a really nice car (it's a 99 Escort and now that it's fixed up, it's a really great little car).
So, this morning when I took Reed to his OT at Children's, the valet guy I was following behind in the parking garage decided to back into a parking spot. Unfortunately, I was in front of the spot he wanted. He put the SUV he was parking into reverse, and floored it backward into my car without even looking. My car is a mess. It buckled the hood and broke the hood latch (so now it is bent in the middle and doesn't stay closed). Because the SUV was so much taller than my car, it pretty much ruined the whole front of my car. I'm not sure yet if it did any damage mechanically, because Heath had to leave for work without getting to look at it real closely.
Then to make matters worse, the valet is trying to cover his own behind by saying that I pulled in behind him after he was already backing into the space, which is a total lie. I was already stopped behind him before he even put it into reverse. Why on earth would I pull in behind someone who is backing into a space? It doesn't even make any sense. So now I have to wait until they can pull up the surveillance camera footage from the garage, and hope it caught what happened, otherwise they are probably going to try to get out of paying for the damage. And since we can't afford full coverage, our insurance won't fix our car. It will all come out of our (empty) pocket. Please pray that the camera caught what happened and shows that he was totally at fault. Otherwise, we'll have to fight it out with the insurance of the people whose truck he was driving.
On top of all that, after Heath came to pick us up with the other car (affectionately known as "the car of death" because it's not road worthy, and the wheel could fall off at any time), he went into the garage to look at the damage. While we were parked in front of the Escort, another valet person almost hit the Neon while backing into another spot WAY too fast! We (and they) are sooo lucky it was our car, and not us walking behind him when he did that. It's a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL for crying out loud! There are people walking to and from their cars with their kids all the time! I am beyond ticked off right now. It makes me want to sit in my car with a video camera for a few hours just to show everyone how they drive in that garage.
Ugh. Anybody want to trade lives for a few days? I need a vacation from mine.
First hand understanding
Heath and I watched a movie the other night, Mozart and the Whale
. It was really interesting. It gave me a lot of hope for Reed's future. After all, it's about a couple of Aspies who lead productive, fairly happy lives. They work jobs, live on their own, and fall in love. It also very accurately portrayed many of his struggles. When the movie was over, Heath and I talked well into the night about it. And we came to a startling conclusion: We are both probably on the spectrum ourselves.
My beloved husband has some serious social deficiencies. We often joke about how he doesn't "play well with others". Despite his best efforts, he has a way of alienating people, rather than relating to them. Even after 8.5 years together, I don't always get him. He struggled in school, partly with the social interactions, but also quite a bit with the academics. He has a knack for numbers (although not to the extent of Josh Hartnet's character in the movie), but struggles with reading and writing (the grammar and composition, not the actual mechanics of it). When he gets frustrated, he pulls his hair. Hard. He gets really agitated if things don't go the way he scheduled them.
I also have some trouble with social interaction. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I started to be able to relate and interact with people comfortably. I am still very self conscious, because I cannot guess how people perceive me. I am excruciatingly uncomfortable with eye contact. I read this post
a while back, and was nearly jumping out of my chair, yelling "Yes! Exactly!" As a child, I used to rock when I was concentrating. It helped me to focus through the noise in the house. I would sit to do my homework, and rock back and forth. It used to drive my mom nuts. "Sit still and finish your work. You'd be done by now if you'd quit squirming." She meant well. She just didn't understand that I Needed to rock in order to not hear my brother and sister running through the house, and my mom and dad talking, and the TV in the other room, and the garbage truck outside, and a thousand other noises catching my attention. I don't rock anymore, but I do have this unconscious habit of twirling my foot in a circle. All. The. Time. It even drives me nuts, but I can't stop. I nearly went insane the first week when my leg was in a cast and I couldn't move my foot. My skin started to crawl, and I was really edgy. I still have trouble with eye contact, which could explain why I've been searching for a job for over a year, but still have no job. I try to make a conscious effort to make eye contact at least occasionally, but it's hard, and I can't do it while talking or I lose my train of thought.
So there you have it. All these little things that never meant anything to us until we knew that they weren't "normal" (whatever the heck THAT is). I always thought everybody was like this. Aren't they?