Thursday, April 19, 2018

#30facesofautism - Day 19

Day 19 – You ever heard something once and could repeat it exactly as you heard it or seen something once and could remember it? Yeah, well me neither.  Not Baby Girl though.  She has a scary, super freaky, crazy awesome memory.  She really only needs to see something once, maybe twice and she remembers it.  I will never forget the day I realized she knew every letter of the alphabet, well before 2, when she barely had a 10 word vocabulary.  Nobody taught it to her either, she saw it and she knew it.  I dare you to challenge her to a game of Memory Matching/Concentration – you will get schooled.  Learning to read came pretty easily, or at least the word calling did.  Comprehension is a whole other ball of wax – you need a better handle on language to move into the more complex aspects like determining purpose and understanding inference.  What is so cool about it is that it isn’t just near photographic it’s also “audio”graphic, but that my friends is for another post on another day… #30facesofautism

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#30facesofautism - Day 18

Day 18 – Lest you all think its sunshine, rainbows and unicorns over here let’s talk about Baby Girl’s most used word of all time…No.  For a good while a few years back it was always No.  Come here. No.  Stop that. No.  Sit down. No. Pick that up. No. Put that down. No.  She even said No when the child actually meant yes. Do you want a hug? No (while she was reaching for you).  It’s bath time. No (it’s her favorite). Let’s read a book. No (while she was handing you the book). Do you want some candy? No (she would live on it if I allowed it).  No. No. NO!  Bless her.  She said so little for so long that at first it was endearing and then - it wasn’t.  Let me tell you that when you have to live out every aspect of your life as the “authority figure” there is nothing as humbling, or infuriating, as having one of the sweet, beautiful, precious little creatures that God helped you put on this Earth tell you No. All. The. Time.  It didn’t matter what I said or threatened or how I looked at her.  And given my profession, I have looks, in fact I have more looks than a fashion magazine. Fruitless.  Absolutely fruitless.  Bless me.  Strong willed runs in both bloodlines, shocking I know, but this was beyond that.  As she gained more language, and some manners, the just flat out no became less and less.  At least now it’s usually followed by thank you which makes it a whole lot easier to swallow in polite company.   The No still comes in waves though, even now. In fact, we are currently riding one of those waves.  I’ve noticed that it resurfaces its ugly little declarative head immediately following a huge spurt in language.  Why? Heck if I kNOw. Bless us all. #30facesofautism

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#30facesofautism - Day 17

Day 17 – I did not expect to be writing about this tonight but one must bask in the glory of the unexpected graces.  It was family BINGO night at school and Daddy had a meeting so Baby Girl was with me.  She sat beside me as I called BINGO, ate her dinner, played BINGO herself, helped me put the balls back in the wheel, won some, lost some, and joyfully celebrated and cheered for herself, me and everyone else.  There was no whining that she didn’t have my undivided attention, no tears when numbers were called that were not on her card and no meltdown when she didn’t win at every round.  Tonight would not have been possible even a year ago.  I could tell she was tiring as it grew closer and closer to her bedtime and the end of the night – in fact she fell asleep before we could make it the 20 minutes home.  She has grown and changed so much – maturing at such a rate.  As I watched her tonight I found myself marveling at a precious, shared time I was not sure we would ever be present in. #30facesofautism 

Monday, April 16, 2018

#30facesofautism - Day 16

Day 16 – About 4 years ago a friend gave us a small indoor trampoline which still resides right in the middle of my den floor.  When we first got it she was either jumping on it or sitting and playing on it.  She jumped so much I would swear her insides had to be scrambled.   She loved it.  She uses it less than she used to but every so often I will still catch her bouncing.  They are great for kids who need to work on coordination and core strength, which helps with improving motor skills in general. They are not so great for “mature” mommies and daddies who bottom the thing out trying to act young and bouncy. The real bonus is that it is also great for helping with anxiety, which Baby Girl struggles with.  Vacuum out – it becomes base. Company comes over – she’s jumping.  There is something about that sensation that meets her sensory needs and provides comfort.  A year and a half ago our doctor helped us figure out the proper dose of a special supplement that helps significantly with the anxiety.  We upped the dose recently and the difference was amazing – perhaps one of the main reasons our little bunny hops less and less. #30facesofautism

#30facesofautism - Day 15

Day 15 – Language has been the MAJOR issue for us since the beginning – it’s why you are reading about it again.  Baby Girl has been in language therapy since just after she turned two.  There have been times of slow and steady growth and then other times of “holy moly” growth.  When I stand and look back it is astounding the difference, but you know that is all relative – she is still pretty far behind.  I can clearly remember the day she strung a whole bunch of words together into a sentence that expressed a desire and made sense for the first time.   June 6, 2016 was the day and at about 7:53 AM this precious little thing looked at me on the way out of the door and said, “I need brown baby ride the car with me.” I stopped dead still, typed it into a note on my phone and then marched myself back inside to get brown baby ASAP.  Let’s be clear here - I would have crawled through shards of broken glass to get brown baby if it had been required.  That little sentence was BIG.  Right now we are in a stage of exponential growth.  This morning while I was eating my breakfast she asked, “Are you enjoying your meal?”  I stopped dead still, typed it into a note on my phone and then proceeded to enjoy every morsel of that biscuit with a huge grin on my face.  Now I know this came directly from her Lunch Bunch which doubles as Social Skills Therapy but I do not care that it is learned language.  That is precisely the point – she’s learning how and why words work and how to use them.  So AMEN to that! #30facesofautism
PS -There’s some research out there about Methyl B12 (the vitamin) and its impact on the brain and language – she takes one chewable tab a day right now and we have all noticed a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

#30daysofautism - Day 14

Day 14 - A dear friend reminded me of something I wrote a couple years ago.  It has laid on my heart all day so I thought I might as well share.
November 6, 2015 - On Wednesday morning, while walking my sweet language impaired Baby Girl into our school for her language therapy the most wonderfully small but precious thing happened.  She had taken me by the hand, as she does every time, so that we can walk safely across the traffic lane, but held on longer than usual.  Normally when we cross onto the porch she drops my hand and happily races to the door of the greatest school on earth.  In those few extra moments the most extraordinary thing happened. I'm sure what she said was simply something she has heard in a book or movie before but in the context of that moment it was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.  In her lovely little sing songy voice she uttered "you and me forever"...and I have yet to fully recover.  I have no way of knowing whether or not she understood what she said to me meant, but I can tell you it meant the absolute world to me.  I could have easily missed those four little words.  Having a child who struggles to understand or communicate has taught me so much about how to really, really listen, how to focus on the context of every interaction, how to pay the closest of attention to every little small moment. She's absolutely and me forever baby and me forever.

Friday, April 13, 2018

#30facesofautism - Day 13

Day 13 – To the left, to the left, everything goes in a box to the left…yep, Baby Girl is a lefty, FINALLY.  I say finally because for a long time you just couldn’t be sure which way it was gonna go.  Early on she was pretty equally skilled at using both the right and the left.  That sounds awesome right? Who wouldn’t want to be ambidextrous!  Yeah, well, that’s all good until somebody points out that long past when your brain is supposed to declare a side in typical development your kid is using both and not able to “cross the midline”.  Those are fancy, technical words for only using the right hand to do things on the right side of your body and vice versa with the left.  There is no reaching across the midline of the body to do stuff and that’s bad.  Dyspraxia.  That’s the really fancy, technical word.  Fixing that midline problem takes effort and working on improving motor skills requires practice, building strength and improving coordination.  Occupational Therapy to the rescue.  She started when she was two and a half and has basically gone once a week since. At about five she declared her loyalties and the left it is. Midline, shimdline – she’s got that under control now, too!  BOOM!  PS – I wish I had taken the pictures below directly head on because it would really be easy to see the fine midpoint line and how she picks up the food only with the hand on that side.  Watch the cupcake – her favorite food of all time. #30facesofautism