Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red blocks

Joey loves blocks. Megablocks are especially wonderful things. He doesn't build with them. He carries them around. The Megablocks have larger "pegs" like big circles, and he likes to count them. The line-blocks, with three or four of these pegs in a straight row, are the blocks he loves. The rest rot in the toybox (Andy has already moved on to Duplos).

I work on Saturdays. I actually work three jobs, as I teach two places as well, one online and one live. the live class only comes around every couple of years, but I do love it when I have one. The online classes are just OK. Too many students think that having an online course is a lisence to sass the professor or skip the work. Anyway, that's not what I do on Saturdays. On Saturdays, I hole up in my bedroom, in my hubby's oversized recliner, with a computer in my lap, and score GRE writing assessments. (No, I can't tutor anybody, its against my contract. No, I can't grade your essay, its all automated and I have no control over which essays I get. Its all standardized, anyway, so it wouldn't effect your score). On breaks, I do weird stuff like write blog entries and change bedsheets. Its a pretty good deal. Sometimes I even stay in my pajamas for the morning (I'm weird, I like to be dressed).

So I am sitting here, holed up for the day in my comfy chair, when a little face appears at teh door.

The idea of letting the boys come up the stairs without escort is new for us. Joey's motor planning is usually so poor that stairs were a major source of concern and falls. Andy is better, but still, he's not yet 3 years old, and we want to know what he's DOING up here. My house is not exactly clean and neat, and there is plenty of trouble to be found. So much for childproofing.

The other problem with independent stair climbing is that Joey has trouble remember what he came upstairs for, and then just wanders about the upstairs, and finally melts down, because he knows he came up here for something, but what was it? I can sympathize with the frustration there, it happens to me all the time since I was pregnant. If anybody needs anecdotal evicdence that pregnancy causes brain damage, I'm your girl.

So here I am, and aroun the corner comes a little face. "Hi Joey," I say brightly, wondering where Dad is.

"Red four?" he replies in a hopeful question. I'm stunned. He came up the stairs, and knows exactly what he wants. And better yet, I happen to know he left his red blocks- a four and a three, his usual set- right here on the chair. HE knew which room he wanted andd everything!

"Do you want your red blocks?" I ask, to encourage speech.

"Red blocks." Red is Joey's current favorite color. Everything has to be red. I produce the required booty, and the little face lights up. "RED blocks! Thank you!" He fetches them from my hand with a kiss, and is gone.

My baby is growing up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sympathetic Response

I have been having a very strange problem lately. I have been having trouble with filtering and processing sound. I've always had trouble with TVs and being tired- if I'm tired, and you want to talk to me, turn the TV off, or I can't even hear you. But now its like I can't do it at all. If I'm in a room and there are other conversations going, I can't even hear the person speaking to me, and often find I have looked away- even when I know I am being spoken to. It happened today. Miss Carrie, one of our speech therapists, was giving me the latest results from an evaluation she had just completed. I know she was talking to me. I can even tell you some of the words that emerged from her mouth. But all I could hear were the boys, and suddenly I realized I missed the conversation, perhaps she had asked me a question? She was now asking me if I was nervous. About what? Whether Joey was apraxic? About the possibility that even this diagnosis wouldn't get the medical insurance to kick in something? I don;t think it was connected to what I hadn't heard, though. I think she had just noticed I wasn't there anymore. I feel terrible about it, too, because I'm sure it seems rude for me not to focus on her when she's telling me important stuff, and has lengthened her day by an hour to test him for us, and all. I need to do something really nice to thank this person, she really is bending over backwards to help us, and not many people are doing that these days.

But in the meantime, I am definitely seeing an increase in this kind of occurance. One part of me wonders if this is what happens to Joey when he can't focus on a task- because I can't even really tell you where my mind was, I just snapped back and realized it wasn't focusing on what it should have been focusing on. Another part worries if there is something changing, or if this is just a sympathetic sort of response- I am either noticing these things more because I know more about the problems Joey may be facing and autism generally, or they are occuring more as a psychosomatic response to Joey being autistic, and the stress of fighting with the very people who are supposed to be helping us, the "school folk." Or am I just getting old, and this is part of that? Or am I suffering some form of exhaustion, and need to see somebody? Because it really needs to stop. And if this is what its like to be Joey, then I definitely need to help. I worry about it happening when I'm driving. Will I tune out of teh road in favor of the boys, or the radio, or the trees passing by? That would be Not Good.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Parent Role at an IEP meeting

As I send off my latest request for an IEP meeting, I just had a very sad thought.

Being a parent at an IEP meeting is kind of like being a passesnger on a plane. You are part of the team inteded to result in a pleasant flight, by making sure everything is groovy, and stays groovy, from teh time you get on to the time you get off. Included in this team are the pilots, the attendants, the mechanical crews, the air trafic crontrol folks... you get the idea.

Normal, reasonable people know that when come onto the plane, you make sure your luggage fits in the overhead bins or under teh seat in front of you. If you need a seatbelt extender, you request one. You stay seated when the stay seated light is on. You ake sure smoking is not done in the bathrooms, your food and beverage choices are made reasonably, and thus the flight goes smoothly. You need to have a general idea of how the emergency exits work in case there is a problem.

However, on an IEP Flight, you as the passenger are also expected to understand how to fly the plane, serve the other passengers, and have full knowledge of how to maintain and even fix mechanical and other problems mid-flight. If an engine falls off, you're expected to know how to safely land the plane, re-attach the engine, and get the whole mess back in the air. The pilot won't set course or work the instruments unless you spefically request that s/he do so, and then often says they don't have the resources for working the controls anyway, and besides, do you really NEED to work all those buttons, levers, and gauges? Can't you see fron the windshield where you are going? When you go to find resources to help, you find a flight simulator; but you soon find it is either for an outdated cockpit, a simplified cockpit, or when you go to actually request the controls be worked properly, you are told that you just had simulator training, the pilot has had real flight time! So you try to sign up for flying lessons. Now you're told that you're still just an amateur. But they still won't work the controls unless you specifically ask them to do so, and say exactly what to do nd exactly when.

Oh, and your flight is already departing from the gate. And if you dont do all of this correctly, of course you will crash. Oh well, sucks to be you.

Home Not-Alone

So Joey has now missed a week of school. We've been relaxing and trying to get him to recover from all these infections and coughs and creeping crud. A taste of summer vacation, if you will. I've caught up on my episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo, learned all the Oobi and Ply with Me Sesame games on Noggin, and made that lovely movie. I can't really go anywhere, because of Joey's problems with his antibiotics, and I can't just let them loose in teh yard because of the chilly weather (they're supposed ot be recovering from these colds, not picking up on new ones). We've pretended to be dogs, cats, cows, Space Rangers, Little Bear, Duck, dinosaurs, Little Bear pretending to be a Space Ranger, Mr. Guinea Pig, and racing cars. We've done painting, drawing, coloring, put together puzzles, played trains, played blocks, played with the play-kitchen, played with play-doh, and played with some our big fancy toys, like our Cars playset tent and our racetrack. In other words, it's been like a rainy-day week here.

What shall we do today?

I was thinking of more coloing (to go with Andy's listening therapy) followed by exploring the basement playroom, maybe getting out our tunnels. Then lunch, and storytime. Andy then has his nap, and Joey's therapies start. We have ABA, OT, and a music lesson today. Then we should get home for dinner and bed. Whew!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


That's my Joey. :)