School Days

November 23, 2013

Well here we are counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.  Thought I’d update you on home school life since that’s been such a big part of this blog as of late. These past few months have flown by.

Things couldn’t be going better!  Gavin still has a very busy schedule of therapy and co-op but fortunately we were able to phase out his private tutoring which frees up one of his days for school work.  We try to cram as much school in each morning while Tate’s at school.  (No offense to Tate, but it’s a LOT less distracting with only one other little person hanging around).  But since we also have therapy and co-op 3 of the 5 mornings a week, we do have to do some work in the afternoons during Sloane’s nap (also another REALLY good time to get stuff done).  We’ve been saving our math program for afternoons since there are so many manipulatives that she wanted to get her hands on.  Tate joins in the math fun and hey, why not?  He’ll just be that much more prepared at school.  The kid can rock some roman numerals!

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And of course Little Sis can’t be left out of the action.

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I’m so incredibly thankful that Gavin loves to learn.  He’s always eager to do school and I love how excited he gets when he learns something new.  We’ve been studying geometry and the different shapes. (Did you know a shape with 9 sides is a nonagon?)  He was also pretty thrilled when we started learning Greek prefixes (the kid loves language).  It’s been a great year so far and a LOT less stressful than last year!

 

The Reason I Jump

November 11, 2013

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OHMYGOODNESSHAVEYOUREADTHISYET???

Well, ok.  Let me slow down.  If you love someone with autism have you read this yet?  Granted, this book will not interest everyone, but if you love someone with autism, YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.

I call it the Autism Bible.  It’s that amazing.

Written by a 13 year non-verbal autistic boy, he answers all the questions people wonder about kids with autism.  By using an alphabet grid to write out his thoughts, he answers questions like “Why do you ask the same questions over and over?” “Why can’t you have a proper conversation?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?”  “Do you prefer to be alone?”  “What causes panic attacks and meltdowns?”  “Why do you obsess over certain things?”

I read this book in a day and cried all the way through it.  It explains SO much the quirks of Gavin.

Some of Naoki’s answers saddened me.  Here’s his answer when someone asked if he preferred to be alone: “The truth is, we’d love to be with other people.  But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone, without even noticing this is happening.  Whenever I overhear someone remark how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me feel desperately lonely.  It’s as if they’re deliberately giving me the cold-shoulder treatment.”

Gavin OFTEN plays by himself.  I always thought he preferred this and that he was too overwhelmed to play with others.  Turns out I was greatly mistaken.

In another section of the book he answers the question as to why people with autism don’t make eye contact.  He says, “Then where exactly am I looking?  You might well suppose that we’re just looking down, or at the general background.  But you’d be wrong.  What we’re actually looking at is the other person’s voice.  Voices may not be visible things, but we’re trying to listen to the other person with all of our sense organs.  When we’re fully focused on working out what the heck it is you’re saying, our sense of sight sort of zones out.  If you can’t make out what you’re seeing, it’s the same as not seeing anything at all.” 

This book is beautiful.  It has opened a door into Gavin’s world that I have never opened before.  I now understand why he gets so emotional for what I thought was no reason.  I understand why he loves to hike and be out in nature.  I understand why he takes so long to complete a task.  I understand why he repeats himself over and over.  I understand why he does things after he’s been told a million times not to.  I understand why he can’t have a proper conversation.  And the list goes on.

It feels as though some of the weight of this autism burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

My eyes have been opened and I love what I see.

(A million thanks to Marcie for dropping this book off on my doorstep last week and changing my world!)

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November 6, 2013

So I’m officially a month and a day late on this post.  Sorry Gav!

Happy (extremely belated) birthday to the boy that made me a mother.  To the boy who has been walking around with my heart for nine years.  To the boy who has faced so many challenges and has risen above them.  To the boy who never questions why he has to do the things he does.  To the boy who has to work harder than the rest of us to make sense of this world.  To the boy who is amazing, talented, funny, smart, and sweet.  To the boy who is still locked up inside trying to find his voice. 

I love you Gavin Walker.  You are my hero.

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