Friday, August 31, 2007

1 Year Evaluation

The time has come for Wes to be reevaluated through Early Supports and Services. It's been exactly 1 year since we started the process. What a year it has been. We've seen remarkable improvements in quite a few areas. His language skills have seemed to skyrocket. Until we see it on paper...

If you look back to the first month this blog was started, you'll see the different areas Wes is "tested" in and where developmentally he is. The age ranges are in months rather then years.

A year later, it looks like this

Social/Emotional - 18-24 months
Self Help - 18-24 months
Gross Motor - 21-26 months
Fine Motor - 24-28 months
Cognitive - 16-20 months
Communication
Receptive - 12-15 months
Expressive - 18-22 months

So there we have it. It doesn't look nearly as good as we thought. We certainly see a difference, but I guess it's not as much as suspected. I know he could be worse off, blah, blah, blah. He's not worse off, he's Wesley and it still sucks to see how far behind his peers he really is. How much more work is ahead of us just to get him close. He will be 3 in two short months. I want to end this post on a good note, but I just can't find it at the moment.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happiness

He runs over to me with a huge smile and open arms. Climbs into my lap, grabs my face and plants a big wet kiss on my cheek. Scurrying down, he runs into the other room laughing with such glee.

Thank you for showing me why I became a mother.

http://emmasage.blogspot.com/2007/08/letter-to-society.html

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just like brothers

Today was a momentous day for my boys. They actually and with intent played together! Wes actually sought Casey out when he looked the other way to keep playing with him. Of course it was an innocent game of making Casey laugh, but OH MY GOSH!



We have this Playskool Peek-a-dome tent thing. It's really rather cute. Casey was inside the tent and Wes was outside. Casey smooshed his face against the side and was laughing hysterically at Wes. All he was doing was flapping his hands and banging his feet on the floor. When he stopped, Casey turned away. Wes reached under the side of the tent, touched Casey to get his attention, and the game started all over again. I wanted it to go on forever, but of course it didn't. Casey had enough of him and moved on to other things.

It's a step in the right direction. First accepting your little brother, then accepting all children. One small step right?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fighting Back

Well, he's found his 'voice' so to speak. Wes has started to retaliate against his brother. In a way, I can see why he's doing it, but I still won't tolerate his behavior.

Since Wes learned to climb up onto our couch, he's staked out the same corner as his spot. Even after we moved to a new home, he still claimed the same corner. It's always the far right side. When we visit others, he jumps on the right side of any couch and starts his head banging. It's so common for us, that we don't even pay attention to it.

Casey has been cruising for a good month now and tends to cruise on over to where his big (and might I add GREAT) brother is sitting. Wes will not stand for an intruder in his space. He has kicked, pushed, and smacked his brother out of his space. He's been given verbal warnings many, many, many times and has even been put in time out when he deliberately does it while looking at Tim or I.

It finally dawned on me why he's so territorial. That's his safety space. It's where he goes when he needs to get away, when he needs to decompress from the day. Well that makes sense! When you want to get away from your mean little brother, you go to your safety space. But it's not so safe when the little bugger can come after you. So I've been working on getting Wes to use his words rather then his feet or hands. It's slow going, but he's starting to understand when I point his finger at Casey and say "get down". He doesn't yet repeat it, but he looks right at Casey with the understanding. Of course Casey doesn't comply so that's where I step in, drag him to the other corner of the room and get him interested in another toy or book. Back to the referee hat I guess.

I hate to punish him for just defending his space, but I still won't tolerate him hurting another person. For that, he will still get a time out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Computer Savvy

Wes received a cute Fisher Price laptop for his birthday last year. Being that it was recommended for 3 year old's, I knew Wes wouldn't know how to use it. He typically would stim off of it. There are 4 options of play to choose from. There are two that Wes likes the best. A game involving letters with a rain theme and one with music. Wes would tap the keys rapid fire with one hand and flap with the other. We have tried doing hand over hand to get him to use it correctly. I guess it's paid off.

The rain game is simply a letter falls from the sky as a rain drop. You must select the right key that corresponds with the letter on the screen to catch the rain drop in a bucket. The last two days, Wes has played this game with about 96% accuracy. The only ones he gets confused on is the C and the K as well as the S and the F. The computer produces the nearly the same sound for them so he gets confused. There are one or two that he just doesn't know or can't distinguish so he doesn't bother trying. I'm amazed that he can recognize the sounds they make rather then what they look like. Heck, I'm just amazed that he can do it with that much accuracy. I don't know many 2 year old's who can do that, let alone one with autism.

I think part of the reason he can do it is because we have the Leap Start Letter Magnets on our fridge and he plays with them all the time. Even singing along with each letter. Occasionally he can find the letters we request, but he mainly likes to play alone with it.

Is there anything this kid can't accomplish?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Bully

More and more each day, we can see that Casey has a very distinct personality. He wants what he wants when he wants it and he just won't wait. He's a smart little guy with a bit of a mischievous side. Well more then just a bit. He's a full on bully. Especially to Wes. Whatever Wes has, Casey wants. He will crawl right up, pull himself up on the sofa and grab whatever is in Wes' hands without even blinking an eye. I am constantly changing hats from Mom to Referee. I should just leave the Ref hat on since it's on more often then not.
Today was a new high. I went from bewildered, to shock, and then hysterical laughter. Casey believes that Wes' cups are his cups. Wes just uses them. If a cup is left on the kid table or anywhere within Casey's reach, it's up for grabs. This morning, Wes put his cup on the kid table and sat on the sofa. This was an open invite to Casey. He immediately crawled over to the table to retrieve his property. Wes saw this, climbed off the sofa and beat Casey to the punch. This did not make him happy. He literally followed Wes around the living room with his head down in a charge position on all fours while this banshee like scream emanated from his tiny mouth. Wes went left, Casey followed. Wes went right, Casey swerved like a pro. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was hunting Wes down for taking "his" cup. After 30-40 seconds (and after the laughter kicked in) I picked up Casey and distracted him with a toy. It was, by far, the funniest thing I have ever witnessed my child doing.

And I thought Wes was giving me a run for my money..

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ready for preschool.

On Thursday, the consultant for our school district came out to see how Wes was doing. He does this about once a month. Wes was totally on his game and did an amazing job. I made sure he took a nice long nap. He showed how well he's retained everything that has been trained and even things that were just recently trained. His mind is certainly a sponge. The consultant (I'll call him B) said that it was time to move onto the Mayer Johnson, black and white, and line drawing pictures. These will help him understand generalization more. For those who don't know, Mayer Johnson pictures are the more commonly used pictures for the PECS system.

Wes' therapist (D) started with a picture of a soccer ball, a shoe and a crayon. She asked him to match the pictures at first which he did with no problem whatsoever. Every time he made a match, she would clearly say what the picture was. B wanted to see if he could identify them even though he just saw these pictures for the first time. Amazingly, he identified crayon correctly! I was blown away. He hasn't heard the word crayon all that often. He's used them before, but I've never really identified it (why I don't know). He needed help identifying the ball and the shoe. She had to reiterate what they were and the next time she asked, he got them right!

B made the comment that there was nothing wrong with Wes' intelligence. For some reason, that just put me completely as ease. Was it because he's a professional and deals with children like Wes on a daily basis? Maybe it is because it's hard for me to understand him. I don't really know. What I do know is that my boy is so smart and can do anything he puts his mind to. He may need to be shown how to do it more then other children, but he can do it just as well.

B also said that he was certainly ready for preschool. They will focus more on his social skills because they won't need to extensively train him anymore. They won't need to train how to match objects or how to label them once he's heard them. This is a big deal. It's typically where children need to start when they begin preschool. I'm very anxious for the socialization to start. I try taking him everywhere (park, play dates, open gyms) for socialization, but to no avail.

So the countdown begins. Just over 2 months to go.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Support

It's heartbreaking to realize that the two people who you need as much support from as your husband refuse to give it to you. My children are just as important.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

One of the best days!

We had one of the best days yet with Wesley. Of course there are good days, but this just topped them all.
It was a beautiful sunny and warm day so that means out of the house as much as possible. Our plans were to head to a resort area and go swimming with the kids. After Casey's nap, we packed up and headed out. It took about 45 minutes or so to get there and the kids were so good in the back seat. Wes was singing and Casey was screeching like a mad man. He loves the windows down and the wind whipping his hair. It cracks us up. We got there a little after 11 am so we decided to do lunch first and get that out of the way. Casey ate like we have never fed him before and Wes gobbled down the fries of course. Then we walked the Board Walk and headed to the beach. I wasn't sure how Wes would do. He's been better around the water, but still skiddish at first. He sat on the waterline and played with the mud as usual. Tim grabbed him him and carried him into the water. He didn't really like it, but sometimes you just have to force him and he realizes it's better then he thought. Tim and I switched kids and I played with Wes. I dunked him down into the water to his shoulders and quickly brought him back up. He laughed and asked for more. Each time I left him in the water a little longer until I got him to stand on his own. I knelt down in front of him and we played. The waves kept knocking me over and I was worried about Wes doing the same. We inched closer to the shore so I could sit down with my head above water. He did so great! He floated while I held him and jumped up and down. I was shocked. He plays like this in the tub, but his bottom always touches. He was taking risks and putting his trust in me to keep him safe. My heart just swelled with love and pride.
So like I said, it was one of the best days I've ever had with my son. I enjoy these times where we connect on a mother and son level. This is what it's supposed to be like.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Accomplishments and Reconnections

I just can't stop saying how amazed I am with Wesley. He is just flying through everything his therapist throws at him. It takes him a week to master the first task, a few days to master the next task in the series, and a day from there on out. He can master any imitation, matching, and receptive language in about a day. From there, he has moved on to expressive I.D. This is where instead of the therapist saying "Do this.." and showing him what to do to actually saying what she wants him to do. He started with clap hands. All she says is "clap hands" and he does it! She has been working on this with him for 3 days and he's pretty much mastered it already. She occasionally has to shadow his hands to keep him from doing the wrong movement. As of today, she moved on to "tap head" which he is doing great with!

When we started this, I was concerned that it wasn't teaching him how to follow directions. I mean how often does someone say "do this" and modeling rather then asking for someone to do the action. I was concerned that he wouldn't get it. I discussed with the therapist a few times and she told me that they would work on that once he's mastered receptive and expressive language. I guess he has because he's doing so well with everything.

I made a reconnection with two very old friends I lost touch with. I took the kids to the park the other day and ran into a friend I went to school with. Turns out she lives in the next town over! It was so nice to see a familiar face again. She talked me into making a myspace page. I have been against that website because I didn't want to support the people that give pedophiles and other creeps a way into children's lives. But I did it anyway. I found another very old friend that I've been thinking about for years. I knew she moved away to Nebraska and we lost touch. She and I had been friends since the 3rd grade when she moved to my town. We did a lot together when we were growing up. I don't know why we lost touch. I moved away and she went off to college are my only excuses. Anyway, I found her and she is in town for a week. We are meeting up with some old friends and I can't wait! She is one of those people you want in your life forever.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mommy's Triumph

I haven't taken a shower without someone else home or without the kids in bed since Wesley was born. I've always been too nervous. Wes, of course, isn't a typical child that you can just plop in front of the 'ol t.v. and know that he's okay for at least 10 minutes. Of course Casey is way to young to be left in the living room while I shower. Our bathroom is on the second floor and not within ear shot.

Well today, I did it. I put Casey down for a nap, let Wes watch a Thomas the Train video and I actually took a shower. I made sure to put the gate up between the living room and dining room so he couldn't wander the house. It was the fastest shower I've ever taken, but I'm sure I'm clean. I finished just in time to hear "Milk!" being yelled into the kitchen. I guess he thought I was in there. He was surprised to see me coming down the stairs. He gets so entranced when he watches Thomas. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Anyway, I did it and it actually felt good. I won't do it all the time because I've become accustomed to showering at night or first thing before Tim leaves for work. It's nice to know that I can trust him enough to not burn the house down.