Sunday, December 31, 2006
January 2006 - Our founder, Captain Jack Sparrow, has come to live at the Black Pearl Academy!
February 2006 - I got this off Laney's blog!
March 2006 - It's March 1st, and today it is sunny and a beautiful 72 degrees!
April 2006 - New Spreadsheets: 1. List of books and other materials I want to purchase at convention next month, their list prices, and the prices at my favorite discount retailers.
May 2006 - Autism Awareness month is over officially, but I have found a few links that I still think are wonderful!
June 2006 - 10 simple pleasures I got tagged by Lisa.
July 2006 - After tithing off the bonus, and getting Russ some great shirts on clearance at The Gap, the amount left of the bonus was exactly what I needed to pay for My Father's World Adventures! :)
August 2006 - Our first day of school is tomorrow!
September 2006 - Fun Friday... the kids have been looking forward to it all week!
October 2006 - Aren't those a cute group of little birdies?!
November 2006 - Here is Reece's picture from preschool!
December 2006 - Wow, cannot believe it's December 1st already! :)
That was sort of fun!! What did your year look like in the blogosphere?
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
We ended up inviting Riley's friend A over to make cookies with us! She said she had never done this before! I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I'm glad we invited her anyway! It was alot of fun for Riley!
Here is the result of all of our hard work! From left to right you'll find White Madness, behind it is Peppermint Bark, then the cake for Jesus, and little star shaped cakes (found those tins at the dollar store!), then the Tiger Butter, and lastly the sugar cookies. We will do the frosting on the cake and cookies tomorrow, to give the kids something to keep them busy!
I almost took a pic of the mess to call it "The Dark Side of Christmas Cooking" (esp. since we haven't had a working dishwasher in 18 months! LOL), but decided to just get busy cleaning the kitchen! :)
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I highly recommend this book, even if you have already taught all of your crew to read! It was excellent information!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I am only 2 chapters in, and I already suspect that a copy of this book will be making it's home in the Language Arts section of the Black Pearl Academy's library. This bullet point from Chapter 2 especially strikes me, since I am reading this book in particular interest for teaching Reece to read:
"Phonics programs overlook the fact that knowledge gained by rote memory does not readily apply to the complexities of actual reading."
I am learning more and more about the nature of autism spectrum disorders, and I have seen readily that this is true with my children especially. They are excellent rote learners, but when it comes time to apply that knowledge, to put it into practice, they struggle. It does not generalize.
I have taught 2 children to read, so far. Austin struggled through phonics programs (3 different ones). He is doing much better with his reading this year, but it's just from the years of practice. He much prefers for me to read aloud to him. Riley was around 3 when we started homeschooling, and she immediately started begging me to teach her to read. Finally, when she was just over 4, I sat her down and showed her how to blend words. Then I had to get back to teaching Austin to read because he, after all, was 6 and in Kindergarten! ;) A few weeks later, when Riley was 4 and 3 months, she read the first of the Bob Books. I guess, long story short, she taught herself to read. When I tried to sit her down and do phonics with her again when she was 5, I found out that she could already read fluently.
*** Ok, funny story here! I had purchased at a used booksale, the phonics primer from Abeka. I wanted to use it for Riley because Austin was still working through Phonics Pathways. So I sit her down, and hand her the primer, and she proceeds to read off the cover: "Abeka Reading Program A Handbook for Reading". Very well, phonics lessons are complete! LOL ***
I have posted some of the "learning to read" experiences I've had with Reece this last year of teaching her to read. She has picked up the sounds very quickly (Thank you Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD!), and she even figured out blending quite easily, too. But she just gets no meaning from it. And without meaning, I do not see a point. Part of her RDI program is that she communicates (uses language) for meaning, not just for the sake of using language. Reading should be no different. I have backed off, because I want to get a love of being read to instilled in her. Unfortunately, since she's the tail end of the homeschool, she hasn't had alot of 'snuggle and read a picture book' time. She's mostly had 'sit here and hush so I can read this chapter book/history book/science book' to your siblings. Not that that is bad, but I don't think it gives her a love of books as quickly as picture books might, especially considering her developmental level.
OK, I'm getting all rambly here. I'm going to continue to read this book, and see what other information strikes me. For the record, he does not advocate abandoning phonics, but rather utilizing phonics within a context of children's books. On a first glance, it reminds me a bit of Ruth Beechick's 3 Rs book on Reading, mixed in with a little bit of Calvert's approach in their Kindergarten program. Regardless, it's got my interest. Will keep posting as I read more!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Riley attended her first sibling support group meeting, and they had a holiday party as well! She was the only girl, which was frustrating because the lady I spoke to about the meetings said it was mostly girls! Oh well, Riley still enjoyed herself! She even won the 'Star' Cupcake for being so well-behaved and helpful! The college student who facilitates the group has a brother with autism, and I think that makes such a big difference. Also, the teenage girl who helps out also has a brother with autism. This is exactly what I was looking for for Riley! Riley wants to go back next month! :)
I signed Austin and Reece up for a sort of mini-camp beginning in January, which is basically fun, age-appropriate activities during the monthly support group meeting. It was $20 per child for the remaining 3 months the support group meets. (The fee is to pay for the trained staff.)This will also free up Russ to attend the support group with me, if he desires. Riley will continue to attend the sibling group.
I'm really glad we went, in spite of this frigid weather that blew in today!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The appt. went very well, I think. We all went (all meaning the girls and daddy, too!) and actually it went very nicely. I love that the doctor's private practice is in a home, since it helps all of my kids to relax. The big issues I wanted to discuss with him were Austin's increased anxiety, his lack of sleep now that we had to stop the melatonin for the side effects, and the RDI program.
As far as the anxiety is concerned, we were offered a medication that Dr. R said would help with both the anxiety and the sleep issue. It is given only at night. I am really not wanting to jump into a medication, so we'll research this more, try a few other 'natural' non-medicinal approaches, and then we'll decide later. Austin needs to sleep again, badly. Dr. R noted a big growth spurt in the last 6 months and mentioned that we needed to be prepared for puberty. WHAT? Puberty?!?! ACK! I think I'll just stick my head back in the sand on that one! LOL (Actually, Dr. R wanted us to know that the increased anxiety could be related to the beginnings of puberty.... esp. since we've had the BO problem going on for a year, and now a growth spurt that coincided with the anxiety going up. So I'll keep that in mind, but still keep my head in the sand!)
Regarding RDI, Dr. R encouraged us to not rush into it. The plan right now is for me to go to the workshop in March, and then discuss it more at our next appt. with Dr. R in mid-March for Reece. Because it costs so much money to implement an RDI program with a consultant, and we have to multiply that times 2 kids, we just want to make sure that we're using our resources wisely. Dr. R said that, in his experience, progress is less dependent on the methodology of the program and the particulars of how to go about the program, and more dependent upon the time spent individually engaging with the child. So it's less about exactly what sort of activities you are using, and more about the fact that you are doing something organized and deliberate to work with the child.
One thing that I was grateful to hear was when he encouraged us to not drive ourselves mad and broke trying to find the next 'big' treatment or cure. In fact, he told us to make sure that we allow ourselves time and money to take a family vacation (this is where he won over Russ for sure! LOL), and not to put all of our resources into autism. He suggested that, instead of the expensive social skills groups, Austin could get as much out of taking karate, which would also provide him with the physical exertion that he needs as part of his sensory diet.
I wish I could express more clearly the impressions I got from Dr. R today. But it was a really good appointment, and I feel like I have some goals for the next 6 months for Austin, and for ourselves. He does want to see Austin again in 6 months (wants to keep a close eye on him as he approaches puberty which can be rather difficult for kids with Aspergers). We go back in 3 months for Reece's one year follow-up, when she'll be five!
Friday, December 01, 2006
Today we put the FUN in Fun Friday! Our plans to go to the zoo got scrapped by the icky weather and the fact that Riley has a sleepover party to go to tonight. I had intended for us to go to an indoor inflatable place, but decided this morning to find something different than the one we go to at the mall. I located a place I thought would be good, printed off a coupon for said location, and we loaded up.
Arrived at the inflatable place only to find out it wasn't opening for another 90 minutes due to an emergency. But my kids did not freak out! I was so proud of them, I offered to take them to lunch! :) So we did a quick lunch (not too heavy as to interfere with bouncing), and then we went to Walmart to kill some time.
This inflatable place was fantastic!! We had the place to ourselves, except for one mom and a toddler! :) The kids had a blast playing with the little guy, and I talked to him mom for awhile. It turns out that her pediatrician had just mentioned to her recently that her little guy might have some form of autism. Some of what she described to me did sound somewhat familiar. I encouraged her to contact Babies Can't Wait and get him evaluated. It's free, and if there is nothing going on, then she will know and can move on. If there is something going on, early intervention is a great thing! She asked for my email address to keep in contact with me, and she also wanted to have my kids play with her little boy again at the inflatable place! LOL She commented that my kids were some of the nicest bigger kids she has ever come across! :)
I'll try to post some pictures later on that I took of the kids bouncing and sliding!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Reece did much better at ballet this afternoon as well! She went right in (had a little trouble in the line when she wasn't line leader) and she participated better than she ever has! She was distressed once by some loud music and singing but she just put her hands over her ears and kept moving! That's a good improvement!
All in all, she's had a really good day!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Easy Grammar is going well, so far. He has memorized the preposition list, or rather refreshed it from when he learned them in 2nd grade with First Language Lessons. He intuitively understood what a prepositional phrase is. Next week we'll see if he can identify them in sentences! :) That's usually where we get tripped up --- application!
Is it Christmas break yet? LOL
Saturday, November 25, 2006
However, there has been a problem this last 6-9 months or so. Reece has drawn this same picture over and over. It's called "perseveration" in autism terms. Here is a scan of the picture, which I literally have hundreds of. The colors don't change. The order of the people don't change. She would draw 5-10 of these a day (I believe this one she drew at preschool):
Yesterday, my dh took the kids down to visit his mother while I worked on getting things cleared out of the kids' rooms for donating or giving away or throwing away! We just had to make room for the upcoming onslaught of Christmas toys! They were gone nearly all day long, but they were all very wound up! And in this time, Reece drew me the following 3 pictures, one after the other:
And this last picture (above again) is a picture of the flower before it went into the pot. You'll notice the dirt is brown and the grass is on top of it. Notice the black dot at the bottom of the stem? That is the seed! She told me she planted the seed in the ground and the flower grew up from the seed to make the flower. I asked her what flowers needed to grow and she said, "Sunshine and the rain!" Smart girl!
Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I am utterly tickled about these pictures! She put such thought into each one! Her brain, for however long it lasts, isn't stuck on the same picture! This alone gives me a very big reason to be Thankful! :)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Here is her first completed X! The ones you see above it (closer to her) are the ones I did while I was teaching her!
She is concentrating very hard and really seems to enjoy it! :) She took to it very quickly, as she does most things! Maybe I'll get a new cross-stitch kit and we'll work on something cool side by side! :)
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
One thing that keeps striking me is how smoothly and easily the child and parent interact with each other! And how the child seems so relaxed and ready to have fun! There is so much that is wonderful to experience in the world and so often my kids who have the ASDs are too anxious to even realize it! One before/after video really hit home with me: in the before the mom was trying to engage the child and the child was smearing his spit on the two-way mirror. On Thursday when Reece had been asked to sit out of ballet, she spent the remaining time smearing her spit into the mirror. She didn't even care that she was missing the class. She didn't even seem to realize that anything had happened. The after portion of the video showed the dad and child playing a game together where the child had to look at the parent for non-verbal instruction before doing his part, and together they came to an understanding on when the action could happen, and then the last step was them doing it together. They were having SO much fun and they looked at each other with such engagement! Excuse me while I pout here a moment: I WANT THAT!!!! ::stomping and sticking my lower lip out::
My kids are smart and they talk well (Reece does now anyway, when she wants to lol) and they are overall really great kids! But Austin progressively becomes more anxious and controlling of his world so as to avoid anything 'different' and 'unexpected'. And Reece seems to be quickly following the same pattern. And I find myself working my butt off trying to keep their world controlled and 'same'. But that is nearly impossible, so when faced with the unexpected and different, they melt down. It's just not supposed to be this hard, and I see it now! It's been such a part of our everyday life forever, that I didn't fully appreciate how life is meant to be.
Well, I'll keep posting more about about the DVD as I continue to watch it... and Russ and I are going to be watching it together next week as well! I am so excited for him to see this stuff now! :)
this will help to refresh your memory!
Well, here we are towards the middle/end of November, and Riley informed me last Wednesday that she is starting her last book on the list. Didn't she get the memo that this list was for the entire year? Apparently not! LOL Now I have to search for more books for her! Oh the calamity! ;) (Also, she's going to finish her 2nd regular Pathways reading book for this year right before Christmas! Not sure what I'll do after that!)
Also, Austin only has 3 books left on his list, and then there are 2 more that he has requested to be added to the list after reading excerpts in his Bob Jones reading book! That is really impressive! His list is long, and the books are not short at all! :) So I guess I'll need to start looking for books for him as well!
And this has absolutely nothing to do with reading, but while I was looking for the reading list post I came across the post where we were deciding about choir for Riley. I really should say that I'm SO glad we chose to do this church choir instead! She has enjoyed herself SO much, and it's free! LOL I'm not sure she would have enjoyed herself as much if she had done the Atlanta Youth Choir at this age! :) It's nice to know we make the right decision now and then! LOL
Where the last thought before bed isn't about autism?
Where I don't spend the wee hours of the morning reliving the day and chastizing myself for opportunities I missed?
Will a day ever come where I don't regret the way I reacted to some meltdown or other behavior of the children that they really can't control?
Will a day ever come where I can carry on a conversation with someone without talking about autism?
Friday, November 17, 2006
I got out the Spin Art machine and we got busy with creation! Hands On Art! :) Imagine that!
We also finished reading our latest read-aloud, and we cleaned up (but the post hands-on art stuff pretty much took care of the cleaned up parts of the house! LOL).
So there you go, Fun Friday! LOL
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Our HIGH today was 48. Low was 46. It's windy, which makes it feel like 41 degrees at the most! Reece had her Thanksgiving Feast at preschool (which I had promised to help with) and then she had ballet.
Well, come to find out this morning at preschool she spat in the face of another child, because he messed up her line of puppets.
Then at ballet, she was asked to sit out because she was being uncooperative and disruptive.
So, I repeat... I left the house for THIS?!
Time to light a fire. I need chocolate! And a Pibb.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Grammar- Over the weekend, I purchased Easy Grammar for Austin. He was struggling so much with Rod & Staff that it just wasn't worth all the time we were spending on grammar anymore. R&S only gets harder, and I just couldn't see him ever really understanding and applying it. He's now into the 'memorizing the prepositions' part, which is fairly easy because he memorized them in 2nd grade for FLL. We just have to do a refresher course. Now, will he be able to understand what a prepositional phrase is, and be able to identify it in a sentence as to eliminate them? Well, that remains to be seen. If not? Then I think we'll be taking a break from formal grammar for a few years and see if he's ready for it when he's older.
Academics in General- Taking WAY longer every day that I would prefer. I'm not sure what can go, in order to make the day shorter and leave more time for reflection and spontaneity. Still working that out, but due to the way my children's brains work, it just may be that our days are long and there's nothing to change that. Riley is doing very well, still! Austin is struggling in some areas, but his attitude is generally much better than it has been previously. Reece is taking a break from formal academics right now.
Autim stuff- I went to a meeting of a support group in another county and enjoyed myself greatly. Their topic was "Working with Siblings of Children with Autism" and it was excellent. The speaker has a sibling with autism, so she was able to speak to us from the perspective of both a professional in the field of autism, and also as a NT sibling of an autistic individual. We're on the right track in how we deal with Riley and her needs, but we have a long way to go. She also gave me several really great ideas for the spectrum kids in our family. She emphasized how much the social functioning of an adult determines their success, not necessarily their academic performance (hmmm, whether they could master grammar in the 4th grade? LOL). So if my goals are fixed on academics, without regard to social functioning, I will not be doing my children justice. Side note: I did NOT agree with their training methods on working towards those social goals, but that's a topic for another blog.
That's about it for now! I can't believe it's nearly Thanksgiving already! Where has this year gone? It is flying by! Only 20 days until Dead Man's Chest comes out on DVD!
Look for my review of "Stranger Than Fiction" coming hopefully tonight! It's been ages since I've done any movie reviews! Well, it's hard to when I keep seeing POTC2 over again! :)
Friday, November 10, 2006
Here we are this year! We arranged everyone by age, so my Austin is the first one (he's third from the left on the top). Riley is the 3rd one in the picture below (she's the 2nd from the left in the above picture). The two little girls were sling babies when the 2002 picture was taken (Reece is 6th from the left in this picture below), and the little guy at the end was not even a thought yet!
My word, how everyone has grown so much! I know I talk about how fast everyone is growing up, but this is just picture perfect evidence! Five short years ago, these kids were so little and look at them now! It's amazing! We can't even fit everyone on the bench anymore! LOL
We had a wonderful time, as we always do, and afterward we went to the park to play and explore. It's near 80 day! What a way to spend Fun Friday! :)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The original poster in the thread was complaining about her son's lack of ability to remember to do things like take his lunch money to school, or to remember to wash himself when he showers, or how he is now falling behind academically. He is mainstreamed and she didn't mention if he has any special supports or anything.
The reply that really caught my attention came from a mom who has a 16 year old son who has HFA. This is part of the reply that just made me stop in my tracks:
"The more I adjusted my expectations of him to something that I knew that he could handle and then praised him to death with that (and his teachers at school did as well) then he became more acceptable to learn new things and adjust to new situations.
But let me blunt here. If your child has highfunctioning autism he is NEVER going to act like a neurotypical child/teen/adult. Period."
It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. I'm trying to act like Austin doesn't have HFA. Or maybe I'm just forgetting that that is a HUGE part of who is he and how he processes things. She went on to add:
"It has nothing to do with really with his being defiant or something like that. It is just that he has a different way of processing information than other individuals. Not good or bad,.... different."
I guess there is a part of me that thinks that just because we homeschool, that eliminates ALL of the interferences that the HFA/Aspergers presents with learning. Sure, we can eliminate the noisy, chaotic environment (somewhat lol). I can present information at the pace he needs. Well, I guess that doesn't always get through to my brain. I'm still very fixated on what level he is at. And I sometimes push him through things forgetting that it just takes him longer. He gets things, it just takes him longer. The neuropsych emphasized as much.
I don't even know if I'm making sense here! LOL I've been so very focused on the fact that I'm not going to let autism/Aspergers stop him from doing what everyone else does, that I've forgotten that he's not like everyone else. But that doesn't have to be a negative thing.
Hmmm, lots to think about now.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
In other words, as with so many other things, would I worry about this if she didn't have autism? Would I worry about this if her big sister hadn't been fluently reading at this age?
We've been doing reading "lessons" for 4-5 months now. She has known all of her letter sounds for about a year (she picked up the sounds during her articulation speech therapy). She quickly picked up on the concept of blending, but it doesn't seem to be progressing beyond that. She is very speedy with her blending, but she doesn't seem to be able to move forward with it. She still sounds out each letter and then says the word. She can see the same word twice in a row, and not recognize that it's the same. She'll start back over and sound each part out. I've tried to explain to her that she doesn't have to say 'b-a-t bat' but she doesn't get it. Today we did word families and she didn't see that the '-at' or the '-an' at the end of the word was the same... she sounded out each letter individually each time. I even showed her that it was the same letters at the end and it just didn't seem to get through to her.
I wish I knew if I should just drop it for awhile and try again when she's older. (She will be 5 in 4 months... yikes!!) Or if I should keep at it because of the fact that it might take her longer. Austin took so long to learn to read and it really held up what he was able to do for school. I always wish I could do it over again and start him younger, but now I wonder if that would have helped at all.
Is this just a maturity issue? Is there a processing problem related to her autism? Do I need to try something different? Do I need Calvert??? (Sorry, couldn't resist! LOL)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
This morning before I took Reece to preschool
What do your teeth usually look like?
Ugh. Crooked. I want braces.
What book do you like to read over and over?
The Well-trained Mind.. sick I know!
How many times do you crack your neck?
I don't do that!
What’s your favorite logo?
How many times have you been on an air plane?
Four times, round trips... so that makes 8 times on an airplane?
What were you wearing this day last week?
Oh gosh, we were going to Austin's ballgame so I am sure I was wearing a shirt and jeans.
When was the last time you ate peanut butter?
Yesterday, on the way home from the botanical gardens!
Do you like the Charlie and the chocolate factory with Johnny Depp?
What is your fav. Exercise?
I love the elliptical machine, and the weight machines.
Do you like this tag? (meme??)
It's not boring!
Ever considered living in a hobbit hole in new Zealand?
What are you obsessed with?
Me? Obsessed? Nothing really! I don't get easily obsessed! Honestly!
How many times a day do you check your e mail?
Alot... but I'm on DSL so it's fast!
Finish this sentence ''they are taking the...
Why did you answer it that way?
Too much Harry Potter
What is the first thing you think of in the morning?
I should have gone to bed earlier last night.
What is your fav. Super hero besides Jesus?
How do you like better- Jack Sparrow or Will Turner?
What are three of your future children’s names?
While there won't be future children, we do have some unused names:
Reagan (for a girl)
Logan (for a boy)
Trey (for a boy)
How would you describe your self?
Emotional, organized, not easily forgiving, curious
Pick a word you use most often.
Someone who will listen to me and not think I'm wrong for how I feel.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
Most of the time.
3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
If I know the folks I'm around, I'm definitely a talker.
4. Do you take compliments well?
Nope, I get embarrassed.
5. Are you an attractive person?
I used to be!
6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
Not a chance!
7. Do you like to ride horses?
Nope, I'm terrified of horses.
8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
I went to band camp the summer between 9th and 10th grade.
9. What was your favorite game as a kid?
The Game of Life. I bought a new one to play with my kids and it's not nearly as fun.
10. If a hot person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married or in a relationship, would you get involved with him/her?
Not a chance.
11. Are you judgmental?
I used to be. But I try not to be so bad now. I've learned alot in this last year.
12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
My first thought is no, but then I realize that I did do that when I met dh.
13. Do you like to pursue or be pursued?
Both, it depends.
14. Can you speak another language?
I used to be able to speak French quite well, but I haven't used it. Now with teaching the kids Spanish and Latin, I can't remember French much at all.
15. If you had to choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?
I think I'd rather be deaf. I wouldn't like to not be able to see my husband or children. And I could still communicate in sign language with them.
16. Do you know how to shoot a gun?
I've shot a gun before, but that's been 20 years ago.
17. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grab?
The lock box with all of our important papers in it.
18. How often do you read books?
I shoot for daily!
19. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
I go back and forth between the future and the past. Mostly the future.
20. What is your favorite children's book?
21. What color are your eyes?
22. How tall are you?
23. Where is your dream house located?
St. George Island, FL
24. Last person you talked to?
25. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
26. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?
Within the last year
27. What is on your keychain?
The keys to my house and van, key to my mother's house, a POTC keychain (medallion) that Jan got me on her first Disney trip, Kroger Plus card
28. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
Reece's ballet and Reece's preschool
30. Do you like mustard?
31. Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
32. Do you look like your mom or dad?
33. How long does it take you in the shower?
34. Can you do splits?
I'm not sure I ever could!
35. What movie do you want to see right now?
POTC 3 ;)
36. Do you put lotion on your dog or cats?Lotion? On pets?
People do that?
37. What did you do for New Year's?
Watched POTC with the kids
38. Do you think The Grudge was scary?
I haven't seen it
39. What was the cause of your last accident?
I've never had an accident.
40. Do you own a camera phone?
Nope, don't want one either.
41. What are you drinking?
42. Was your mom a cheerleader?
No, but my mom's sister was.
43. What's the last letter of your middle name?
44. Who did you vote for on American Idol?
I don't watch it!
45. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
46. Do you like Care Bears?
Yes, they are adorable!
47. What do you buy at the movies?
Nothing usually, but if I have the money and calories to spare, I'll get popcorn, Mr. Pibb, and chocolate.
48. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes! I learned how to on a video game when I was a kid.
49. Do you wear your seatbelt?
50. What do you wear to sleep?
In the summer, SS jammies and bottoms. In the winter, sweats, tshirt, sweatshirt, and socks!
51. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?
I'm not even sure what I consider to be my hometown! LOL
53. Is your tongue pierced?
54. Do you always read MySpace bulletins?
I only go to My Space to read Sadie's blog, which she hasn't updated in forever.
55. Do you like funny or serious people better?
Do I have to choose?
56. Ever been to LA?
57. Did you eat a cookie today?
58. Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Just the one that I learned from watching National Treasure
59. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?
I always pay!
60. Do you hate chocolate?
Oh that's a terrible thing to ask! Of course not!
61. What do you and your parents fight about the most?
How much they spoil my children.
62. Is your cell usually on vibrate or ring?
63. Are you a gullible person?
I didn't used to think so.
64. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy?
Nope. But I wouldn't be happy without my husband.
65. If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what would it be?
66. Are you easy to get along with?
I don't think so.
67. What is your favorite time of day?
Rest time! LOL Just kidding! I like mornings when nobody has to go anywhere!
68. Who was the last person you held hands with?
69. What is the last tv show you watched?
A Designing Women rerun.
70. Do you want a new cell phone?
No, but I bet my husband does! LOL
Friday, October 13, 2006
After a fairly early lunch, we bundled up:
and went to the park! We have been going to this park for about 9 years, and we call it the "train park" because it's located across from a very busy train track. When you hear a train sound and the signal goes down, everyone from the park RUNS to see the train and wave to the engineer! It's great fun!
The kids played on the tire swing, ran around on the playground equipment, and enjoyed the sounds and sights of TWO trains passing by! They made new friends of a couple of families who happened to be at the park on this chilly fall day!
It was a nice fall Fun Friday! :)
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
5 weird things about me (Some of you at this point are wondering how I'm going to keep it to five!):
1. When I get gasoline for the van, I pull all the way forward to the last pump in the row. So people can pull in behind me. Anyone who doesn't is wrong.
2. I'm very particular about my day planner. I keep it in pencil. And if we change plans I'll erase it. If we do something that wasn't planned, I go back and write it in. In pencil.
3. I freeze up when entering a group of people I don't know if I'm all alone. I just can't make any words come out of my mouth. Once I'm comfortable, then I can't STOP talking, and will usually stick my foot in my mouth.
4. I don't like any of my food to touch each other, unless I make it that way on purpose!
5. I don't like my hair to be touched. Makes it really hard to get a hair cut! LOL
Ok, I'm tagging anyone who may read this! Comment and leave a link so I know where to find your replies!
Monday, October 09, 2006
I also cannot believe how creative she got with the playdoh today! She 'designed' a park! I wish I had thought to take a picture of it! It had a little slide, and some swings, and an area with baby swings. (I had to take her word for it... all I could really make out were the baby swings! lol)
Then she said, "Oh wait! I forgot one thing!" She worked a bit longer then said, "That's better! Ant hills! Now the park is complete!"
She sure knows what she's talking about... the parks in GA really DO have ant hills all over the place! ;)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Aren't those a cute group of little birdies?! This is a picture from our field trip to the zoo last Friday! It was a perfect day for an outing! And it was the baby panda's one month birthday! We saw the gorillas being fed. We saw the lions, tigers, and leopards (oh my!) napping! And we rode the train around the zoo! :) It would have been perfect, except for the 2.5 hour commute home in Atlanta traffic. We only live less than 40 miles from the zoo. Apparently rush hour hit early last Friday! ACK!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Well, it's been a full year since Reece's diagnosis. The roller coaster seems like it's starting to go a little smoother now. What used to feel like jolts and steep inclines and fast speeding descents seem now to be mostly average ups and downs, with only an occasional big pit here and there.
Goodness, I'm not going to be eloquent here. I feel like I should be able to write some wonderful, deeply moving tribute to this last year. I should be able to say that the worst is over and we're all doing really great! I guess that is true to some extent! Some days I'm very confident and believing that God has a plan for Reece. Other days I feel like I'm in over my head and there's nothing that I can do, and I worry that she will never fall in love, get married, hold down a job, etc. Most days are somewhere in between.
Reece graduated from Speech Therapy at the end of April, and from Occupational Therapy at the end of June. Her tantrums are few and far between, and I'm much better at handling them when they do occur. She is completely potty trained, including night times. She is sleeping through the night 95% of the time. She's doing pretty well at preschool, with her facilitator, and she loves to go! She is in ballet class, and that's a bigger challenge, but she has a very patient teacher! She is learning how to read (she can blend sounds into 3 letter words, but she doesn't get the point and purpose of it! I've tried to introduce Bob Books and she isn't interested!), and she prints (all capitals, thank you HWT) better than Austin or Riley did at this same age. She loves to color and draw!
The things she still struggles with are the need to keep everything the same all the time. And now that she's talking well, she does alot of repetitive talking (same conversations over and over, same questions over and over). She doesn't really understand how to interact with other children her own age, and this seems to be a bigger problem earlier than it was with Austin. I guess that's a girl thing... little girls are so incredibly social, and they notice that she's not! She still runs off when we're in public and I'm not holding her hand (though this is getting better!). She loves babies, and touches them even though we've talked about not touching babies without asking the mom first (this is a repetitive thing too as she will run for and touch the same baby 10-20 times, even though we've gone through the whole 'lesson'). And she still has no sense of stranger awareness (sits on the laps of strangers, hugs them, asks to go home with them). Some of these things get harder to deal with as she gets older and older, they become more obviously out of place.
I guess there's not much else to say! I'm here, we're all here, we made it through! I've learned so much this year, and I know I still have so much to learn! We just continue to plug away, for Reece's sake! :)
But for now, I can't even really pull my thoughts together coherently! I think I'm suffering from Post-Disney Disorder! ;)
Thursday, September 28, 2006
I will catch up on things tomorrow! I need a good night's sleep first! :)
Friday, September 15, 2006
In other school-related news:
Wednesday we took our first field trip of the school year to the Aquarium. This was our first time by ourselves! We usually go with at least one other family! The weather was dreadful that day, and I wasn't sure we would brave it, but we did! The aquarium was not very crowded as a result, and we spent a leisurely 4.5 hours there!
Yesterday Austin had his first chapter test for Rod and Staff Grammar. He got a dismal 64%. I went over the errors with him after the grading was done, and he seemed to understand what he got wrong. He kept saying, "I got all confused!" This was his first ever grammar test, and really his first exposure to heavy-duty grammar. I probably should be happy that he got more than half correct! Anyway, we are going to move slowly forward, while reviewing what he struggles with along the way. I've also decided that we'll shoot for completing this book in 2 years rather than one. I'd rather he learn the material well!
It seems we had quite a test day yesterday... Austin had a math test and scored a 98%, and Riley got a 100% on her spelling test. She took her first math test last week and scored a 94%. I'm not sure if I posted that or not! She's doing really well with her work!
Latin is going well! The kids have learned their first 5 vocabulary words, so next week we'll move on to lesson 2. I did have Riley complete the writing assignments in the workbook, and she had no trouble with them. I was unsure if I would require that of her, but I'm glad to see that she can handle it!
Reece got a good report from her facilitator on Thursday! Her behavior is getting better (except for chapel apparently lol), and she initiated an interaction with a little girl in her class on Thursday! She just LOVES to go, which makes it very nice for all of us!
I guess that's about it! We have one more week of school before vacation! Next Tuesday is Talk Like a Pirate Day, so this weekend I have to go pick up all of our pirate books from the library! We'll also be watching POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl in honor of the day! :)
Monday, September 11, 2006
Austin was in Kindergarten, Riley was at preschool, and I was pregnant with Reece. My friend Kristi (who was due with her son in a few weeks) and I decided to meet for a breakfast alone at IHOP. I never turned on the TV on 'school mornings' so I had absolutely no idea anything was going on. I even listened to a tape in the car, so I didn't hear the news on the radio. While I was waiting for Kristi to come to IHOP, I kept overhearing people talk about it. It was so confusing, though, because nobody knew what was going on.
Kristi and I ate our breakfast, and talked about going to get our Kindergarteners (her oldest is the same age as Austin and they were at the same school). We both decided not to interrupt the day of such young children who wouldn't understand.
I called my husband on the way to pick up Riley, and he asked me if I was going to pick up Austin as well. I told him no. I wonder if he thought I was nuts! (Reflecting here for a moment... I feel like such a different mom now. If that same thing were going on today I would have gotten him in a minute. Can you believe I sent him to school the day his baby sister came home from the hospital? I didn't want him to miss a moment. @@ OK, back on topic!)
My husband and I watched the news that afternoon, evening, and the days that followed. I was most concerned because I have a friend who lives on Long Island, and her husband works in the city, but I didn't know where. I couldn't get ahold of her, and finally called her on her cell phone even though I knew she was at work. She's a high school teacher, and they were having to hold many children at school because their parents couldn't get back to Long Island. But she and all of her family were safe!
We kept the news off when the kids were around. They were so little... 5 and 2.5! Austin had such a soft heart, even back then. I was afraid it would frighten him and make him feel insecure. I've been letting Austin watch the news now talking about what happened that day. We talk about it in detail! Riley hasn't asked any questions, but I would certainly be honest with her.
I won't ever forget 9-11. Ever.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Today was Fun Friday... and we did our geography, reading, and math games. I chose Sorry! for our board game and the 4 of us played together! I read aloud from Ginger Pye while we had lunch! It's hard for me to want to call them back in to watch Spanish, since it's the first really lovely day we've had in a long time. So we'll just watch Spanish another time.
Austin's first ball game of the season is in a few hours, so they will come in for rest time at some point! But, wow, what a beautiful day it is!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"Because Krissy's autism had resulted in severe language delays, she did not naturally ask questions. Even when she became able to make her needs known with one or two word demands ("Milk, please") she was unable to ask, "Can I have milk please?" During the training phase we would constantly prompt her by saying, "Ask."
One day, out of the blue, she asked/demanded "Disneyland." "Ask!," we responded. Then began a very laborious process as she worked at remembering and saying the right words, in the right order. Finally she stammered out, "Can I go to Disneyland please?"
Why did we make her go through all that effort when we knew there was no hope for a yes answer? Krissy's autism hinders her from seeking out the most basic of relationships. When she demands something, she assumes she deserves a yes. Which implies no need for a relationship or dependence on us. As she learns to ask and not demand, she is beginning to understand that she needs us, she needs relationships. "
That last part I put in italics sums up so much of what I struggle with in Reece, and Austin to some extent. It's also why RDI places such an emphasis on the 'master/apprentice' relationship! I have noticed it especially in the younger babies and toddlers of my friends. How they naturally look to mom for recognition that it's OK to proceed. The implied "You are my comfort and my safety... I look to you for guidance". I always joke that Austin and Reece never read the study that shows that toddlers won't wander more than a certain distance from their caretaker because they recognize that the safety lies with that person.
Anyway, it was very interesting to read that story! It helps me to verbalize something that is one of the core deficits in autism. And it's also such a fine line... Reece and Austin are clearly very loving and attached to me, and to other people in their lives. But when something doesn't work out as they had planned or expected, instead of looking to me (the master) for reassurance, they throw head-long into panic mode. And I find myself trying to calm down a child who isn't going to be calmed by anything I can do or say. It's frustrating, to say the least. I'm hoping it's something we can remediate through RDI as we get more involved with it!
We started Latin today while Reece was at preschool! We're using Prima Latina, and the first lesson teaches us how to say hello, how to pronounce the Latin vowels (which are the same as the spanish vowels so we're ahead of the game there!), and it introduces 5 vocabulary words and derivatives, as well as an opening to prayer.
Today we looked over the vocabulary words (I had written on note cards for them), and they wrote the definition on the back. Austin also had to write a derivative, definition, and part of speech (if any were given) on the back of his cards. We went over the words with the audio CD, and that was our first day of Latin! We're going to continue Lesson 1 next week! But since Reece was gone at preschool, I felt like this was a good day to introduce something new!
I do have to admit to being surprised that one of the first vocabulary words is "toga"! Hmmm, my kind of Latin program! ;)
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The day started yesterday with Reece waking me up at 6:30 saying, "Is it my preschool day today?" and I said yes it was. She then said, "Then why you sleeping??" :) Oh perhaps because you don't have to be at preschool for another three HOURS?? LOL
There isn't very much more to say since I didn't get any updates from the teachers other than her enjoying the art center and playing outside (which were a given!). She told me last night that one of the children cried, and that she cried because the other child was crying. I bet the noise bothered her! I'm hoping to get more details from the teachers after tomorrow!
This picture to the left is of the kids all walking up the hill to the preschool entrance! Riley had to wear her new dress, too! Austin's up ahead in a white tshirt and denim shorts. The one at the top is Reece next to her hook for her backpack!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Visual Perceptual Skill Building packet
Snap It Up Multiplication
Rainbow Rock CD-rom (counted as thinking game too)
We did more OT things this morning rather than a game, since I figured she would be playing with us. She did the Sit and Spin, and then she played leap frog from couch to lovesac to the other lovesac to the loveseat.
The board game we played together was Monopoly and we had a blast with it! We played until it was time to eat lunch!
Now for the fun part of the day, we're going to see Cars again at the dollar theater! :)
Thursday, August 31, 2006
One thing that started back up today was Reece starting a 'collection' and then not wanting anyone near her or her collection. It was buttons today. So I think we'll send in a few things Reece can have for herself (thinking porcupine balls, special buttons, her little unicorns), but she has to understand that things that belong to the classroom belong to ALL of her friends. We helped her (Miss Amy and I) to share some of the buttons with another girl, and the girl reciprocated. Reece talked about that later on in the day, how she shared and the girl shared with her, and could the little girl come back to her preschool class next time! LOL
As far as the ages of the kids, 2 of the children will be turning 4 next week, so they are only 6 months younger than Reece! And she didn't look huge compared to them! She was quite a bit bigger than some of the other children, but I think it will all work out. I'm not sure how to handle if we should tell parents that Reece is older, and why Miss Amy is in the room, too. I'm not sure if the parent will ask, but I probably would have been wondering why there was a 3rd teacher in there if I didn't know! LOL
Anyway, I'm looking forward to talking with Miss Amy this weekend and getting to know her better as the school year progresses! And I'm glad to know that Reece is in the good hands of teachers who are familiar with her!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
How do you get a balance between giving your children social opportunities, and being on the run too much? It's especially hard with my autistic kids... the very social activities they need so they can practice their limited social skills and get used to being around other children their age are the same activities that cause them to be so stressed out and it takes so long for them to recover!
Here's our lineup:
Sundays the girls have choir for an hour. This doesn't seem like much, but since we're going most of the day to church we're barely home on Sunday.
Monday there will be baseball games for Austin through October. Once his season is over, the OT suggested I find a tumbling class for him.
Tuesday and Thursday Reece will have preschool. Tuesday afternoon is Riley's ballet, Thursday afternoon is Reece's ballet. Some Thursday evenings will have ball practice or a game.
Wednesday mornings will be back to normal after next week. We're done with therapy until the end of preschool, as I cannot afford to pay for both. Wednesday evenings are AWANA.
Fridays are free, except for the possibility of baseball practice.
Saturdays are also free, except Riley wants to do cheerleading in the winter for basketball. (And there I would say no, except that I feel like she needs to have more time away from her siblings and be around more typical kids).
It really doesn't look like very much. And most people do that sort of schedule(or more) while their kids are at school all day and have homework in the evenings! Why do we short-circuit with it?
So how do I determine what sort of pace to keep? How can I tell the autism specialist when he asks what social opportunities my homeschooled children have, "Well, it was just really wiping them out and they were having meltdowns as a result!"? How do I tell Riley that she can't do something else, when I really feel like she needs the time away from Austin and Reece? Is there a way to find a balance?
He came in to me when I was grading his math test and said, "Mom, you do a great job homeschooling. I know you think you don't, but you do." I gave him a hug, told him thank you, and knew that somebody's daddy must have had a talk with a certain 4th grader last night while I was at the gym. LOL Sure enough, daddy did talk to him. I don't wish to play on Austin's emotions, because in the long run it just makes him more anxious. But I don't know what else to do.
Big surprise, eh? ;)
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Riley is doing very well, and she's really rising to the level of work I'm asking her to do. She complains a bit because there is considerably more work for her this year than last, but she's capable of doing it.
I need to do more to keep Reece engaged. Too often I look over and she's lining things up, or staring off into space. She's really enjoying the things I've been doing with her, but I can't keep her engaged all day long. Preschool starts back next week, so that will help.
Friday, August 25, 2006
The games played today were:
Chutes and Ladders (Reece did NOT enjoy this one... the pictures of the kids doing naughty things really bothered her!)
Hi Ho Cherry-O (She asked to play this one after C&L because she was so distressed lol)
Connect Four (Austin)
Guess Who? (Riley)
Next week we're adding Typing for Austin, and science (though I'm struggling with it!). We have a really busy week though, outside the house. A dentist visit on Monday and Reece's preschool orientation on Thursday will totally wipe our mornings! We'll add Latin and Spanish after Labor Day, and that will make a full schedule! :)
Friday, August 18, 2006
Today was Fun Friday and the kids chose the following games:
Math Game- Making Change game
Thinking Game- Shape by Shape (tangram game)
Board Game - Life
Board Game - Hi Ho Cherry-O
She filled all the little Life cars with blue and pink pegs, so she's got fine motor practice done!
Math Game- Snap It Up Multiplication
Thinking Game- Visual Perceptual Skill Building 2
Board Game - Battleship
We also did geography lessons, and had another art lesson on Lines. And they read from their Reading List selections. Fun Friday is hard work! We didn't go anywhere for 'nature study' today because I'm too tired! We may try to get over to the pool next week one afternoon, before it closes!
I need to relate a funny story about Riley! Austin and I invited her to play Snap It Up with us during the last round. (I am really working with Austin to play games with her and with other children in general). Nobody really knows the multiplication facts yet, so I was telling them which combinations to look for. We were doing "48" so I told them it would be 6x8. Riley hollered out that she had it... and she laid down a 6 and a 5 and a 3. I told her she needed an 8. She said "I have an 8... you have to add the 5 and the 3 together first, that makes 8. Then you times the 6. 48!" What a smart girl isn't she??? Unfortunately, the rules indicate that you can only use 2 factors, so she didn't win... but that was really clever! :)
So that's our Fun Friday report... I need to go collapse! lol
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Riley was supposed to start ballet on Thursday, but since there weren't enough girls to have a homeschool class at her beginner level, they asked if we could change to the other class (which started about 45 minutes from the time of the phone call!). Riley's friend is in that class, so we jumped at the chance! We got ready in a hurry, I did my best attempt at a bun, and we were off! She looked so lovely, and she had a wonderful time!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
"Often children with Asperger's Syndrome experience a great deal of anxiety which can be manifested by non-compliance, distractability, hyperactivity, and tantrums. Stimulants can be helpful to address distractability and hyperactivity, but often can increase anxiety. A very structured school and home program with a lot of preparation for transition and changes has been successful in helping to reduce anxiety in children like Austin. Austin seems to be doing very well with his homeschool program and we recommend that he continue in this program."
Excuse me... could someone pick me up off the floor please?!?!
::dances away doing the happy pirate boogie!::
Monday, August 14, 2006
2002 - Reece is in the stroller on the left!
2003 -Reece had wandered away in this one!
Friday, August 11, 2006
This morning was the first of our 'Fun Fridays'. On Friday, no matter what else has gone on during the week, we will be playing games (math games and thinking games), doing a few pages out of a geography workbook, reading, and doing some sort of nature study. We'll also have an art lesson, and if there are any crafts for Spanish we'll do them then. This is what it looked like today:
Austin - Hot Dots flash cards (time/money)
Riley and Reece (and mom) - Sum Swamp
Austin - Visual Perceptual Skill Building 2 (didn't give him a choice on this one - he needs to do it)
Riley - Rush Hour
Reece- Candyland (hey, it's a thinking game for a 4 year old lol)
Austin and I played Checkers too, because he was sad he didn't get to play a board game with me (the girls all played Candyland and Sum Swamp together)!
Our art lesson (from How to Teach Art to Children) was the first lesson on Lines. I did the lesson on the white board on the easel and it brought back memories of teaching school! I had a white board in my classroom, not a chalkboard! :) It took all of 10 minutes, and now I can say we really did art this year, at least once!
For Nature Study we went to the pool! OK, it's not exactly what Charlotte Mason had in mind I'm sure, but it's the last weekday the public pool is open, and the little pool in the next town over is only $2 per person! (Also it's too dang hot to be out in nature in August!) We had a fantastic time! Stayed 4 hours and now we're all sunburnt and wiped out! And we saw 2 birds, a squirrel, and lots of ants! So it is nature study! We also tied in our earlier geography lesson by discussing if the pool is a natural resource or a manmade resource! ROFL
So our school week is over! I'm glad! LOL But I'm also somewhat looking forward to next week! Sort of! :)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
We are consistently getting up on time, and getting our chores and things done on time, so we can start school on time. I am a little concerned that the reading/math/grammar combo is taking us so long. I do include a recess/snack break in there, so I need to keep that in mind. The scheduled break eliminates the need for all people under the age of 11 to start asking "Can I have a break?" and/or "Can I have a snack?" starting around 9 AM. I feel like the kids need the recess/snack break and I can't wait for it to be cooler so they can play outside during that time! But still, I'm a little nervous about how long our day might be since we haven't added in spelling, Bible, History, or Science yet! LOL
Which brings me to my next topic: there very well may not be history or science at all at the Black Pearl Academy this year! Unfortunately, Adventures in my Father's World is not what I consider a 2nd/3rd grade curriculum, as they advertise it to be. Perhaps 1st grade? Definitely not what I want for my 2nd grader, and I couldn't call this 4th grade in my wildest dreams. So now I'm faced with choices. And all of my friends and regular readers should know by now that I'm fantastic with making choices, especially curriculum choices. Most of my closet friends refer to me as "decisive and confident"! ROFL Ok, enough of the joking.
Here are my options:
1. Add something to Adventures. They only use segments of the main text book, so I could read it all to the kids. It's a 5th grade book for Christian Liberty Press. That would require planning. But my brain was ready to do American History this year, in preparation for returning to the classical 4 year cycle next year.
2. Do CHOW (Sonlight Core 1+2) which is what I was planning to do before the money for Adventures turned up. Feels weird to spend a year on world history to turn around and do world history again next year. But maybe I could do Sonlight's 1 year of American History after that, then return to a rotation?
3. Don't do science or history this year and just say that I am tired of making decisions and not knowing if they are good ones or not? ;)
I need to decide by Monday... I am planning to begin history on Tuesday. Science... well, I am fully prepared to wait to add that until September while I figure out what to do! I'm leaning towards the Science in a Nutshell kits, as they come highly recommended!
So there you go! It's time to eat lunch now! :)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
After such a rip-roaring day yesterday of Austin handling making mistakes so well, today was just more than he could tolerate. He made mistakes in every subject, and kept flipping out over it. I tried to calmly talk to him like I did yesterday, and I tried to encourage him. It just didn't work. Finally, I told him that if there was one more outburst, he would not be watching the Braves game at 1:00. During his free reading, I placed the latest papers for correction on his desk and he melted down. So I told him he couldn't watch the game... and that's when the big meltdown occured. He begged me for another chance... begged and begged and begged. Cried, screamed, told me that if he could watch the game he would be calm. I'm sorry, but that's just not how it works. I sent him to his room until he could calm down. He stayed there for 45 minutes, when I had to go in and tell him to get his shoes on for therapy.
He had taken all of the coins out of his pirate money bag and thrown them on the floor. He had taken what appears to be baseball cards and shredded them into little pieces. He was still muttering under his breath and crying all the way to therapy. Both the OT and the ST spoke with me at length about trying to help him with his perfectionism(like I don't??), and the ST and I talked about the perseveration (him not being able to just get over stuff). She is making me a visual reminder for him of when he has been given his warning for his behavior, and the consequence that follows, etc. She said it's a possibility that it's not connecting verbally, so we'll take that aspect out of it and make it very visual.
We left there and went to get lunch like we usually do on Wednesdays. I chose Chick Fil A, and Austin started to cry that he doesn't like CFA. Never mind that we had been there last week and he didn't seem to mind. Today he wasn't "expecting" CFA and a meltdown came. Yeah, I know he needs advance notice... but come on! To me, it's ungrateful to cry because the lunch out is not what YOU want and there are 3 other people around. So I told him that the crying would stop before I got to the place to order, or he wouldn't be getting food. He said he didn't want any anyway. Fine. I reminded him that the option if you don't choose to eat what is offered is cereal or peanut butter. He said he wasn't hungry for lunch at all. Fine.
He's in his room now having rest time. Before he went in, he told me to call his friend and tell him he wouldn't be going to church tonight. He doesn't feel like going anywhere. Fine. Control, control, control. It's times like this where I wonder if he really does have Aspergers, or whether he's just a spoiled brat. It sure seems like a fine line sometimes. How often do we have to play out this same drama, all caused by this insane perfectionism? I just want it to go away. He's sleeping now thanks to the melatonin... he's taking the fish oil supplement that is supposed to help mood and brain function. I wish I could see some good results.
The girls did well during school. Riley has a bit of work left after rest time (it was hard for her to focus while Austin's meltdown took over the house). Reece and I did some more from her First Steps to Building Thinking Skills... working with a geoboard. She loved that! She also played with playdoh again, and with the wooden blocks. That was going so well until she ran out of the pieces she needed to finish what she was making and there was no substitution. She ended up knocking it over.
I think this is what I've been warned about with trying to homeschool autistic children. I am just mentally and emotionally drained now. It doesn't matter about the good days that have come before. They can only fill me up so much. This morning took everything out of me, and I am completely empty. When the days go smoothly, they are very nice. But the days that don't go well, where I can't avert a meltdown that can happen for any reason (reasons that yesterday didn't apply, reasons that tomorrow may not apply again, I can only guess... walk on eggshells and keep my fingers crossed that something doesn't trigger it)? Then it's completely gone. I can't get the day back. I can't get him out of the meltdown curve and back into a recovery phase.
So there you go. Part of me wants to delete this whole post. Better hit publish before I lose my nerve.