Saturday, April 03, 2010

Letting things unwind

As we race towards our IEP date (I always get mine done early so I can plan and check and process and stuff), I am working on our new powerpoint. We are changing schools again, so we head into a new world with new people, who really don't know Joey. It is time to think about his strengths, his weaknesses, and most of all... his human-ness. The point of this powerpoint is not only to help focus my own thinking, but to emphasize Joey as more than a number and a list on paper, but as a real, living child.

Both of my kids have after-school moods. I am sure yours do, too. Andy comes home, ready to bounce off the walls and chatter about everything. Joey comes home and is often out of words, out of energy, and ready to hop onto his computer and play games there- nice, predictable games like Wow Wow Wubbsy- complicated enough to be entertaining, but clear enough to be predictable and complete-able. He's going to totally rock at Sonic the Hedgehog when he gets around to it.

I sometimes wonder if I should allow the computer time after school. If I let him, he would play solidly from the time he gets home until bedtime (Joey does his homework at school while waiting for his bus to arrive). It can be a real challenge to draw him back into doing something else, especially if he has had a bad day. With the sunshine returning, playing outside does have appeal, which helps a lot.

On the other hand, letting him unwind is also important. The stress he must go through keeping himself together and focused all day must be incredible. That is one of the things I'd like to think about with the new IEP. The problems of regression I witnessed at field day is another.

I wonder how worried people get about such things when there isn't special education in the picture. That balance between meeting needs and micro-management is a fine line to walk here. Perhaps that line gets crossed with lessons and sports and what-have-you these days.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Autism Awareness Month: Here it IS!

Welcome to Autism Awareness Month! Happy April!

What is autism to us?

Autism is a big smile that greets us every morning, often with a "Good morning, Mommy. I got a 764! I won the game!"

Autism is a big hug and kiss, you just have to ask.

Autism is leaping up, throwing that arm confidently forward, and proclaiming, "To Infinity, and Beyond!"

Autism is being proud to run around the bases.

Autism is the never-ending chant in the back seat- you might as well join in.

Autism is an invitation to play that starts, "It's 3:17! Do you like the number 48?"

Autism is a big, happy, "WOW!" when we discover something new.

Autism is a little flicky finger showing me where to look.

Autism is a whole list of numbers on my sidewalk. And someone being upset if you step on one, because they are "houses."

Autism is insisting on getting Ms. Leslie (our awesome speech therapist) a bag of swedish fish every single week, because she said she likes them.

Autism is our way of life. When we have downs, its always a good thing to remember the ups. When we take a step back, we don't forget we may turn a corner. Be aware: autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is a tragedy. Autism just is.