Friday, August 30, 2013

We've Come A Long Way Baby

We have been working on an RDI objective for over a year and a half.  (I went and checked.  We started in February of 2012.)   Other objectives have been tackled in between but if you have a spectrum kid, you know this is a big one:

Student Objective: Distinguishes between significant and unimportant changes and reacts differently based on the analysis

We have done all sorts of different frameworks for this one but yesterday I was cleaning thru a pile of 'junk' that has been in that pile for probably around a year.  I found these little pieces of paper in there.

One of the first activities that we did in this objective was to talk about changes that already have happened or 'easy' changes.  I included some of my own.  There are also a few in there that were difficult for him but he still handeled them "ok."  I would spotlight.. I have decaf and sometimes regular coffee.  You can put different things in a smoothie.  In winter you wear long sleeves, in summer short.  (This used to be BIG for us.)  I also included FUN things such as, "we can skip work and go to the park."

We also did varying degrees of changes with the same framework.  Stubbing your toe vs. cutting it and needing a bandaid vs. having to go to the hospital for stitches.  Or on the positive end; winning a dollar vs. a thousand vs. a million.

People off wonder about the inner sanctum of RDI work.  There really isn't mystery but you do need a trusted guide.  And our guide took us step by step through this. (She still is.)

Honestly we are not yet done with this one.  We still want to re-arrange the living room even more.  That should be insignificant to him yet it is not.  When we changed where two couches were placed we heard about it for six months.  When the sheet on his bed ripped he didn't want a new one and we heard about that for three months.  But this week we gave him an option to move a futon from one room to another or sell it.  And he has also chosen to sell two gaming systems because he has a replacement for them.

We have come a LONG way BABY!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Have A Dream....

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr Speech I Have A Dream.  I have been doing some dreaming of my own this week.  I have a dream... that one day..

Healing will be something more expected in the Church.  Faith will grow, healings will flow.  It happened that way in the early church.  It can happen ..and does happen today.. but I pray it is a regular thing.  An extravagant thing.

Disabilities that still exist will not be something that a program has to be built around.  Children, and adults, with disabilities will just be a part of the woodwork.. the framework.. for every day life.

Children with disabilities will not be excluded from a Christian education.  Christians will see that academics are not the only reason to send their child to a private school.   They will see not only the NEED, but the privilege there is when including those with various abilities and disabilities.  (Here is an example of that. Here is another example.)

'Service' within the framework of church and Christian schools would not be an "outside activity" done for "10 hours a month,"   but rather an 'inside the heart' activity and something that is part of their being.. not part of their life.  Churches would not have to think about programs.  There would just be individuals who step up and just 'do.'  Programs would be an outpouring of that.

And.. as a personal note, I have a dream to be part of this.  When I was a kid, I received this book, Somebody Go Bang a Drum.  It is  about a family with one child that adopts many more of various nationalities.   That book has stuck with me.  And perhaps someday, we too will have a home with various different people.  It won't happen the way I thought.. way back when.. but I still have a dream to build a 'family' of some sort that would include a wide range of individuals.  Someday..

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nifty Neighbors.. I Am Blessed.

A nasty letter made the front page of yahoo today.  You can read about it here.  And a bit more with video on Huffpost.  It is hateful.  It is sad. In a nut shell shell the neighbor of an autistic boy thinks the young man should be euthanized.  One thing that is important to remember is that the other neighbors rallied around this family with the autistic child.  Most people are not like this one neighbor.   So at this point I started thinking about my fantastic neighbors and felt the need to share.  Because it is always the bad ones that make the press.

---  I have written about this one before but on one warm summer day, my son was playing super soakers in the backyard.  He decided to flee to the neighbor, open the front door and open "water" in their living room with the super soaker.. on their TV.  The first thankful item is that their attack dogs did not attack.  The mom couldn't believe this.   (Thank you for your protection Jesus.)  The second was that the TV was not damaged.  (At least they told me it was not.)  But they were spectacular.  They forgave us without a second though AND.. brought US cookies.  Who does that??  Only fabulous neighbors.

--- There is an elderly gentleman who lives across the street.  He likes to talk. The kid likes to talk.  Sometimes they can not understand each other but there is always a grand conversation going on.  He is so nice to the kid.  And... he remembered when kid's birthday was a few years ago and brought him a gift.  (He does not drive anymore either.)  Whether the present was tucked away in his basement or he went out to get it somehow, I don't know. But it was very appropriate.  It was a paper, pencil, sharpener combo packet with super heroes on it!

---  Next door is a lovely woman who always has a special packet of Halloween treats for the kid and actually for all the neighborhood children. She figured out somehow that we are on the GFCF diet.  The next year, she had a full size box of GFCF animals crackers waiting for him. (I forgot to mention..At one point the kid has also gone in this woman's house unannounced, when we were talking on her porch.  He went in and hid under one of the her beds... again.. forgiveness.)

--- One time many years ago, I went to the high school down the street for a walk with the kid.  On the way home he melted down.  I could not really even get him home.  I did manage to get to our street but he plopped down with a major tantrum.  A neighbor (who we did not know) was outside with someone who had stopped at their house and this stranger offered to take us the rest of the way home.  So with kid screaming bloody murder, she allowed us in the back of her car and took us about 10 more houses north which would have been an eternity on foot.

--- And finally, another neighbor recently gave kid the job of taking care of his cats.  To the tune of $20 per weekend.  We are going to frame that $20.. because it was so much more than the money to him.  It was confidence of a job well done.  And it meant so much to me that a neighbor would give MY kid this opportunity.

They are not all bad apples.  In fact most are not.  And I am sure I have more instances I can't think of at the moment.  We are blessed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Some People Go to Disney

The summer is a little rough for those who have kids on the spectrum.  Vacation pictures abound.  I know people like to call Facebook ...Fakebook or Phototopia...  because they can't be having NON-stop fun at that beach vacation.  Can they?  I tell myself they aren't writing about the hemorrhoid that is causing them great pain as they bounce around on the tube behind the boat.

But still I have to confess a bit of jealousy when I see all the fun people are having.  Yea. Summers are rough.  Long vacations are just a little difficult with kids on the spectrum.

But tonight I had an exceptional experience sharing moment with my kid.  Several in fact.  Experience sharing is a term used in RDI (and child development) but it is self explanatory.  It is just sharing.. no agenda.. no skills involved.. no pressure.. just sharing.  With spectrum kids it doesn't necessarily happen automatically.

Kid will be thirteen soon and when I looked in the mirror this morning, he shot up higher than me.  I told him certainly he could ride in the front seat.  You would have thought I said, "we are going to Disney!!!"  He was so geeked.  And it was so much fun.  He sat in the front, we opened up the sunroof and stuck our hands through the top.

And.. then we came across a mama and her baby deer crossing a fairly busy road.  I yelled GRAB THE PHONE!!!  TAPE IT!!!  You can see a wee bit of the last baby deer off to the right of this video and you can hear just a small bit of what 'experience sharing' was all about for us tonight.

We kept driving and were able to find the dairy free soft serve place in Birmingham after driving around the block several times.  And we parallel parked right in front!  Bonus.  Thank you Jesus.  (He does care about the little things.)  We had never been there and so it was .. an experience.  It was loud and crowded and we were both a little overwhelmed but it was fun.  Kid gave the ice cream itself a so-so review.  It was more about the experience for him.

On the way home I'm pretty sure I saw Matthew Perry or his doppelganger coming out of the Townsend Hotel.  (There are a lot of movies shot in Detroit.. so it is possible.)  I tried to share this with the kid  but he could care less!

And the stars.  The ones in the sky.  There is a bright one out tonight.  I think it is Venus.  We had to come home to open our iPad app to find out, but it was one more thing to share.

And just so you know, when we got home, and he headed straight to the computer!  I guess he was done.

But I am thankful.. I am blessed.. and #sometimesitsthelittlethings.

Anyway... just sharing.

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