July 16, 2009
I first want to say a HUGE “THANK YOU” to our friends and family who’ve been so supportive of our new life ventures with Gavin. We have such an AMAZING support group and without the dear people in our lives, we could not go down this road. So, to all of you who’ve been behind us, and are going forward with us, we thank you!!
And I’d like to give a shout out to Betty Crocker for these!!
We have yet to try them (I plan to make the brownies Saturday) but all they require are eggs and water (not 6 different kinds of flour, xanthan gum, etc etc)!! My kind of GF mix! I’m assuming that since they’re Betty Crocker, they’re probably pretty dang good! I’ll let you know!
On top of all these good things, I was able to have a REALLY good conversation today with a woman who thinks her 7 year old son might have autism. It all started a month or so ago at my OB’s office (of all places). I had been talking to the receptionist about our trip to MA and the whole Son-Rise program. She told me that she herself had wondered if her nephew was, but wasn’t sure how to approach the issue with her sister. Tough stuff indeed. I encouraged her to just kindly talk to her about it and I promised to gather autism info for her to give to her sis. So, at my appointment last week, she told me that she had been able to have a really good conversation with her sister and that the sister was willing to contact the school system to see what kind of testing her son could receive. YAY!
ANYWAY, I went in for my appointment today and the receptionist looks at me dumfounded and says, “My sister’s HERE for an appointment. I didn’t know you were coming in!!! You HAVE to talk to her!” How cool is God that he coordinated all this to happen? My appointment took way longer than it should have and I figured I’d probably missed her but there she was waiting for me when I walked out! We had a good talk and I nudged her towards who she should call first, I encouraged her about starting the GF diet and I told her about the various testing we’ve done for Gavin. She seemed encouraged and was open to asking questions. We had such a long conversation that Josh called in the middle of it wondering if I was having the baby!
This is exactly what we want to be doing for families just investigating autism. Carrie (the sister) has my number, so now all I can do is hope that she has the courage to move forward and get her son the help he so desperately needs.
July 10, 2009
Sorry for such a gap in posting. Things have been quite busy around here and from the looks of the calendar, it’s not going to be too calm anytime soon (“Baby No-Name” is due in about 2 weeks!!)
Anyway, Gavin has been doing a lot better. He has mostly come out of his regression (there are many times he still won’t let us call him by his name). Otherwise, the isming has pretty much ceased, he no longer looks out of the sides of his eyes, he’s been a lot more conversational, and using pretend play. Whew! That was a challenging last couple of weeks!
Since being at the Autism Institute, Josh and I have made some major life decisions regarding Gavin and our family in general. The biggest decision we’ve made is that we will not be sending Gavin to the universal preschool this fall. Instead we will be conducting a Son-Rise program in our home 2-4 hours per day for Gavin. We already know that autism is a neurological disorder where children have trouble processing the world around them which affects their ability to communicate and interact socially. That being said, the essence of the Son-Rise program is to meet these kids right where they’re at, be the most compelling person in their lives, and cause them to WANT to interact socially with us and others around them. We first must enter their world before they can enter ours.
The problem with the school system in general is that they’ve got it backwards. Schools try to squelch the behavior and force children to be more “typical” by putting them in a typical classroom and doing typical things. If we know that autistic kids have trouble processing the world around them, putting them in a hustling, bustling loud classroom is definitely not the best thing for them. (I always thought Gavin’s classroom at Walnut Street was WAY too busy. He was in a tiny classroom and all four walls were covered floor to ceiling with pictures, decorations, toys, you name it. I was over-stimulated when I was there! Think about how he felt day after day). I know the schools are trying to do right by these kids, but the preschool he was to attend this fall is comprised of two teachers and 18 kids……a little much for a guy who has trouble when we have a houseful of people!
Instead, we will be using a distraction free playroom (or Focus Room as they call it) in our home. There will be nothing on the walls, no toys that make noise, and the best thing about this room is that Gavin will be in total control. We will do whatever he wants and we’ll ism for an hour with him if that’s what he’s feeling. The goal of the Focus Room is to work specifically on social development in four areas: eye contact, communication, attention span, and flexibility. Because ultimately, when Gavin grows up, it’s way more important that he can interact socially than be a math or science whiz. Right now, it’s not at all about the academic side of his education. IT CAN’T BE. When we look back and remember when Gavin USED to be autistic, it won’t matter if he needs a little catching up in school. We can always hire a tutor. That wouldn’t be so bad!
So, we’re taking the rest of the summer to prepare for the baby and just have fun. We’ll start our Son-Rise program at the beginning of September for up to 4 hours every day. With the help of some of our amazing friends and family, Gavin is going to have the time of his life (we hope!) and we cannot wait to look back and remember when.
Another exciting aspect to our trip, is that both Josh and I have felt God calling us to work with other families dealing with autism. We have no idea what that will look like yet, but we know we’re supposed to do something. Josh has also decided to go back to school to get his Master’s in Speech and Language Pathology. There are SO many kids out there who are in need of therapy and there are HUGE waiting lists for a lot of these services (especially with autism on the rise). He’s been researching schools (no we’re not moving) and has found some good programs that are nearby. We are so excited to enter this new chapter in our lives and to share with others what is totally possible for their children.