Saturday, October 4, 2008

Long Overdue

I can't beleive I haven't posted since July. There's no way to really catch up on all that has transpired so I will do my best to sum up how life has been since then. July continued to go fairly well. About the time we hit August things started unraveling. Folks had vacations and schedules had to change. Tripp had me and home as his main constant, but the rest of our routine was hit or miss each week. He start regressing quite a bit. In order keep myself sane I let him spend way to much time on the computer. I'm sure that didn't help much. So, by the time we were ready to start school he was going through 3-4 pair of undies a day and was pretty uch a walking stim. I will say that the brightest spot of the summer is that his language held strong. Thank you Tessa for working with us this summer! I have no doubt that our time with you was crucial in us not loosing any language.

When it got time for school to get going we had a few shockers. I went to orientation and found out that the co-teach program was going to be in was full inclusion, not partial like I had expected. Knowing the state Tripp was end by summer's end I had a very hard time believing a "regular classroom" all day everyday was really a good thing. I prayed a lot and went into his ARD with A LOT of questions. I even called Mom to come and go with me because I was afraid I wouldn't have sufficient backbone on my own. Truth is, I was just plain scared for my Monkey and I needed some confidence in that meeting. I came out of the ARD not happy, but satisfied that this was worth trying and probably the best fit the district has for T at this point.

The first two weeks were horrible....for me. I cried, and I mean ugly cried, the first day. That was the only day I shed tears, but I continued to get sick to my stomach for about the first week and a half. Things got better after that. I think Miss Devine and Ms. Alice have had a shock too. They were really surprised by how much Tripp regressed. Miss Alice even said to me one day when I picked him up,"This makes me sad." And she meant it. I think that is what has given me peace about T being there. Miss Devine and Ms. Alice really, really care about my son. They are doing everything they can to help Tripp settled and get back to where he was at the end of May. Alice even made him a token chart that is all numbers and calculators! Love that!

There have been a few other shockers like that day I got there and there was no teacher to receive Tripp and they actually wanted me to tell him to walk all the way into the building by himself. Like that was going to happen! They got a "concerned" email as soon as I got home that morning. That hasn't happened since. They also finally realized that having us drop off with all the rest of the K-4 school is a bad idea and moved our drop-off location to a different spot. The other big shocker came this week when we got a letter letting us know that the regular ed. Head Start teacher and aid are leaving the classroom and we will be getting new ones. We are finally starting, and I mean just starting, to get back on track and they are chaning 2 of the 4 staff in his classroom! Thank goodness Miss Devine and Ms. Alice, who I'm supposed to call Ms. Kowalik (ko-wall-ick), are staying. T won't call Ms. Alice anything but Ms. Alice and I don't blame him. Kowalik is hard to say. Anyway, I haven't written my letter about the teacher change yet, but I'm formulating it in my head. I understand that things happen and changes need to be made, but changing half the staff in a first year co-teach program six weeks in is a poor choice in my book.

There are a few other things going on, but I'll save them for another post. Mokey is happily playing on the other computer right now and the girls are playing play-doh. Easy is playing in a golf tournament benefitting Sonshine School. I need to get moving and get some cleaning done this morning. I hope you are all doing well and I promise to keep you more up to date on my sweet Monkey!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fire Alarms and Freedom

So, my Nana was in the hospital last week. When she went in (Tuesday)she lived at Bluebonnet house. When she came out (Saturday) she lived at Carriage Inn. Sunday we had a b-day party for Paris. My mom suggested that Nana would really like to see all the kids that evening, so after the party and dinner we loaded up the crew to go see Nana's new digs.

We had a lovely visit. Her new place is nice. This kids were starting to get a bit manic so we were trying to gather everyone up and get out of Nana's hair. I stood in the doorway holding a laundry basket watching the Goose and Monkey and waiting for the Bug, her daddy, and my mom to join us. Just as Mom is coming out the door I see my son out of the corner of my eye. He's touching the fire alarm. I lunged. I was not fast enough. The sirens start balring. I drop the laundry basket, Easy grabs Vivie and the basket, Mom took off to tell the front desk it was a false alarm. Paris walks down the hall with her hands over her ears screaming. I grabbed up Tripp who had covered his ears and gone completely limp. It was nice.

Turns out there are no covers on the fire alarms at Nana's new place. The little red box is at Tripp's eye level and right in the center on a round handle it says PULL. Tripp can read. Apparently this wasn't the first time this had happened. It does seem that we were the straw though - it was announced at their "town hall meeting" yesterday that they are purusing purchasing covers for all the fire alarms.

On a much happier note.......we were driving home afew days ago and the song "Free" was playing on the CD we were listening to.

I am free to run.
I am free to dance.
I am free to live for You.
I am free.

I've heard this song on KSBJ a million times. The version we were listening to was done for a kids worship CD. Same song, different voices. I'm driving along and I realize that Tripp is talking to me.

"Tripper is free Mommy. Tripper is free."

"Are you free buddy?"

"That's right," he says as his cute little hand pats his chest, "Tripper is free."

I know this could be chalked up to echolalia, but not really. He wasn't repeating the song, he was applying it. It felt like a big moment. A few tears brimmed as I realized that somewhere in my precious son was a feeling of freedom.

My sweet Monkey - you are indeed Free in Christ. You are a picture of innocence and love. You are a precious gift from God. Many people know of your journey and see that you are trapped, or bound. Yes, you experience the world a little differently, and you dont' express yourself like everyone else. But your core truth is that you are FREE in God's might love to do all He calls you to do. And as for me, well I'm just glad I have such a cute little reminder that I too am free. I love you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


So I've been lazy about posting - sorry. I'm at work right now. I'm based out of the library today because I share an office with the youth interns and they are here today. They are not, however, actually in the office. Instead they are in the parlor - right next to me playing with the middle school kids and making so much noise that I absolutely can not be productive. So, I'm posting instead!

Before I tell you the tale of the EEG, I can't remember if I mentioned that we officially got into Head Start for the fall!!! WooHoo - Sherri, if your reading you can do the hip swirling dance for that one! My Monkey will have a full day of school all week next year with his current PPCD teacher as well as a "regular ed" teacher. It is going to be good. The only catch so far is that they don't want to accomodate our gluten-free status. Apparently as part of the Head Start program the kids are required to eat breakfast and lunch at school and they don't have to accomdate any dietary restrictions without a doctor's note stating it's medically neccessary. Nice. We're working on it though - God will make a way to keep me from having to glutenize my son everyday.

Now for that fun part..........the EEG. So, Tripp got referred to have an EEG done to rule out seizure activity. He zones out sometimes and doesn't respond to anything and then he comes back and goes on about his business. We realized this could be small seizures so the EEG was ordered - like over a month ago. I finally called last week to find out why we hadn't been scheduled and Helen - the secretary for Dr. Hall our developmental pedi - said enough that I knew they had forgotten. Apparently my phone call helped them remember because St. Joes called the next day to schedule it. I asked a lot of questions about how it would go and felt confident that I could handle it on my own. (ie - no need for Easy to stay home or have someone go with me).

Yesterday was the big day. Our appointment was at 10:30 and they said to be ther for check-in at 10:00. I wasn't sure exactly what sort of distractionary techniques I'd be allowed to use so I packed an assortment of things in the backpack and planned to just not show Tripp any of it until we were in the room. We got through check-in at 10:15 and then started the wait. And we waited. And waited. We pottied. We waited. We jumped, well, he jumped around. We pottied again. I started wondering why I thought I could do this alone. We waited. Finally, at 11:30 (!!!) they came to get us to take us to the EEG room.

Once there I started asking what I might be able to use to keep him still. They had told me on the phone that they would need him to be still. In fact they asked if we could schedule it at his naptime. Ha. He so doesn't nap. The tech that was doing the test clearly fell into the category of people that just don't get it. Everything I asked about using she would say "Sure, while we're putting on the leads, but then you need to put it away." Yea right. Like I could let him see we have the video player and then take it away. I kept asking questions and she says, "Well we really would like him to get comfortable and go to sleep." Hello? Does he look tired to you? He was dancing on his toes at that moment. I finally said," Look, he's 3 and he has a form of autism. If you want him to stay in that chair I need something to occupy him." She conceded to allow us a book. Yippee. 1 book.

We settled in the chair and started the process of putting leads on his head. She had to clean each spot with this stuff that looked like salt-scrub. He was not tolerating that well at all so she decided to just put the leads on with out cleaning all the spots. This seemed a good idea on the surface. Unfortunately, when she got them all on and went to callibrate the machine and make sure everything was getting a good connection she wound up having to take off about half the leads (as in pulling the tape out of his dry hair and take off the lead), scrub the spots with the cleaner stuff and re-do them. Man was THAT fun. Perhaps we could have just done it it right the first time. Oh well, I can only hope that her next victim, I mean patient gets the benefit of that lesson.

We finally get things settled and she start watching things. I'm trying to keep him calm so I'm rocking him in the chair. The tech calls in," I'm going to need you to stop rocking." ?!?! Why do you put a mother in a rocking chair and tell her to keep her child still and then say no rocking? Grrr... It just got better from there. She kept calling Tripp "Foster." "Foster, be still." "Foster, I need you to be quiet." I finally looked at her and said "His name is Tripp." (like she hadn't heard me use his name 600 times since we walked in) She looked very confused and pulled his little chart. Finally she figured out that Foster is our last name. Seriously, she really seemed to believe that I should be able to just sit ther with him in my lap and keep him silent and still with nothing to entertain him. Clearly, she didn't get it. He would start stimming and she would look at me with this "make him stop" look on her face. I just sat there thinking - "Woman, if I could make him stop I wouldn't be here!" I smiled and whispered to him and we somehow made it through.

The removal of the leads wasn't as bad since she got this enormous washrag wet and laid it on his head. I finally just took it from her and finished it myself. To her credit, she couldn't possibly know how to touch Tripp without upsetting him. She seemed grateful that I took that part over.

Needless to say, we were both spent when we got done. We left the hospital a little over 3 hours after we got there. We picked up the girls, cnaceled speech for the day, and went home to retreat to our corners. Exhausting!

We have about a two week wait I think before we'll hear anything on the results. I don't even care today. I'm just glad it's done. I think it was the first time I encoutnered someone who just so clearly didn't understand. All those movements and noises he makes - that IS him being still and quiet. You want to see his brain at rest, this is as close as it gets. Man, I hope we don't have to do that again anytime soon!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Social Steps

Well, we're week one into the period of transitions and all is well. The Monkey has definitely had some crazy days, but all in all is doing great. As much as I love Sonshine School and all, it is clear after a week of just the PPCD class that Tripp even prefers the services he gets at the school district. He is thriving. One more week of that and then we swtich to summer. The first week of June will not be our true schedule - but it will be close and then the week after we start our new routine. Pray for smooth transitions.

Now for the fun stuff...Our precious Monkey has been taking some major social steps the last few weeks. I've seen him playing with his baby sister! That's right, he's not just tolerating her presence, and telling her "No, Vivie!" He is playing with her! He came running out of her room the other day squealing and then stopped at the end of the hall. He looked back and here came the Bug after him. He waited until she got close enough to touch his back and then he took off again with a squeal. They repeated this process for about 10 minutes. Beautiful!

He's also been making progress with our sweet dog Cowboy. He has let Cowboy give him kisses a few time. This used to send him into a fit - I'm guessing it was sensory overload or something. As of late, however he has allowed it and even said "Thank you kisses." To top it off I saw Tripp give Cowboy a kiss on top of the head. WooHoo - he's bonding with real living creatures!! That sounds bad - he's always been bonded to some of us, but his circle is a growin'!

Let's see, what else can I tell you about the Monkey.....oh, yesterday at church when it was time to pray during the worship service he actually got it. He stopped what he was doing, folded his little hands, closed his eyes, and put his head down. He waited for the amen and then went on about his busy business. It was awesome!

And one last funny thing he's done lately......While on the potty recently he was, um, examining his most male part and proclaims "It's a big (fill in anatomically correct word here)!" "Do you see the big -----?" "It's a very tall -----!" My response? Trying to not laugh or be mortified I said "Yes, I see the -----, now use it to put your TT in the potty." I'm glad he's learning to use some adjectives, but seriously do we have to talk about THAT?!?!?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Funny Goose

Last night I sat down with Paris and read her the book All Cats Have Aperger Syndrome. We started off by talking a little about how Tripp's brain doesn't work like ours. She saw the book and asked if it was about kitties. I said it was about kitties and Bubba too. We read it and made lots of comparisons/connections. After we were done I asked if she had any questions and she says:

"Yes I do. Why does Assboogers make Tripp and kittens crazy?"

I nearly fell off the bed laughing. I held it together and explained that Aspergers is just what you call it when your brain works like Tripp's. She didn't have any other questions and I left feeling like it went very well. Though I couldn't help but think as I walked out that a** boogers might make me crazy too if I had them!

Monday, May 5, 2008


We have a lot of those coming. I don't know if our Monkey is already sensing them or what , but he has been spending more time Monkey Dancin' than usual lately. We've had lots of tippy-toe dancing and nose huffing and quite a few tantrums, and can I just say that I am TIRED of changing wet undies!! Three steps forward, two steps back............

So, it's May and that means change. T has two more weeks of Sonshine School. That's a little bit sad for me. SSS has been so great to us, but we know that the school district can help him more so next year that is where he will be. I just know how much he is loved at SSS and it makes me a little bit sad to know he won't be there next year. Anyway, the last two weeks of May he will go all 5 days to his PPCD class with the school district. I just love the smile he gets when he sees his teacher. Clearly Miss Devine is at the top of his list! Throw in a few doctor appointments (one in Temple) and a first trip to the dentist and we have one busy month.

Once that's all done the big transition hits.........summer! I know I mentioned in my last post that he will not be with the school district at all this summer. I do think that was the best decision. We prayed a lot and worked very hard to find what we think will be the best arrangement for him. So here's his basic schedule:

Monday - stay home day!

Tuesday - Summer Camp at Sonshine School (9:30-1:30) Vivie will be gonig as well so that Paris and I can have some time together!

Wednesday - Play with friends at church while Mommy goes to Ladies' Class

Thursday - Miss Erika's house (this is all day so Mommy can go to work. Paris and Vivie will be with him) Erika is doing MDO-type childcare from her home. She is very proactive when it comes to structuring the schedule to best help Tripper and is even planning to only offer gluten-free snacks to keep it simple! We LOVE Miss Erika!

Friday - Miss Erika's house (probably just 9-2 ish)

On hopefully either Monday or Wednesday we will also have speech therapy with Miss Tessa. I plan to do lots of activities from the book on RDI Therapy that our In-home parent trainer from the district brought me to go through. There are lots of thing that I could do to involve Paris and still be helping the little man. I think that is our biggest challenge right now - learning how to handle the sibling dynamic. Paris is really starting to show signs that all this attention on T is bothering her. Since we have an appt. in Temple this week I think it will be a good time to sit down with her and talk again about what's going on with Bubba. Maybe it's even time to give her a label - she's so literal I think that would help.

So - that's us in a nutshell. I heard Tripp running around the house singing Hallelujah yesterday. It was beautiful. He is such a sweet spirit! I'll do my best to start posting the fun stories again. I'm sure that remembering and writing them out will help me get through what has the potential to be one booger of a month!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Delayed Post

Sorry for the delay in posting. I got a bit sidetracked by Bug's birthday (she's 2!!!) and Monkey's health. So, here's the catch-up........

Thursday when I picked Tripp up from school he was limping. By the time he went to bed he fell about every four steps because his right leg gave out. Friday morning he couldn't walk. We already had a well-check scheduled for the Bug, but they couldn't do them both at once so we had a marathon morning at the Dr. office. Bug had her check at 9:40 - healthy as can be, and a shrimp on the growth charts - and Monkey had a 10:15 appointment. V was still screaming from her HepA vaccine when we got in for Tripp's appointment. Thank goodness my mom showed up as the doctor came in and took fussy pants out to the lobby! After an exam the doctor felt pretty sure that T had a viral infection in his right hip. We did xrays and some blood work to confirm. All the results came back supportive of that theory so we were good to go with some motrin and a lot of carrying. Mom and I swapped cars and she brought the littles home so I could go straight to the school for Tripp's ARD. Can we say stressed out?

I got there at 12:20 on the nose. Molley (our fabulous diag) asked to meet before the ARD to discuss a few things. We hashed out the ESY deal and all agreed that it would not be the best environment for our Monkey. During the official ARD we went over the proposed goals and schedule for our in home/parent training stuff (I am VERY pleased with this), officially stated no ESY, changed the IEP to allow Tripp to go all 5 days the last two weeks of school, removed the bus from his IEP (since we only rode it once and made other arrangements because it was unacceptable to me), and talked about next year's plan. That's the best part. I turned in all the paperwork to apply for the over-income exemption for Head Start. Next year Tripp's current PPCD will be co-teaching a full day with the Head Start teacher. If things go as "planned" Tripp would be in the co-taught class with a few of his current classmates and all the "typical" head start students. Two teachers, two aides - all day, every day of the week. I think this would be fabulous and Miss Devine is very excited at the possibility. Of course, we won't know anything officially until the summer when the committee meets to grant the exemption spots. Until then I ask that you all pray that it works out!

And just to finish the weird hip virus story......Saturday Tripp's face got very red, but he was outside all day so we didn't think much about it. By bedtime Sunday he had a read face and two very red arms. Nope, not sunburn. Fifth Disease. Both Goose and Bug had it within the last month. For the Monkey it apparently settled in his hip before the rash came out. He is down to one dose of motrin a day and is doing much better. Whew!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ARD Tomorrow

We have an ARD scheduled tomorow at 12:45. Topics of discussion will be ESY, In-home Parent Training eval results, and scheduling for next year. I've got the paperwork ready to turn in for Head Start - plese pray that they give as an exemption. We are over-income and technically Tripp will be too young (he won't be 4 until October). Molley said to try anyway and has made recommendations that he be considered. I think this would be great for him. I'm concerned that 3 hours of PPCD each day wouldn't be enough for him. I'm sure he would do fine, but I think he would grow more if we can have him in school longer than that. I'll update after the ARD.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Underwear and Tears

Things have been good in Monkeyland lately. This past Saturday Easy and I went to an ABC's of ABA workshop. It was pretty good. I have to say that with the education I have it wasn't anything earth shattering or even really new. It did, however help me re-center my thoughts and I took away a few nuggets that I think will be very helpful. For instance - it takes a lot longer to fade a verbal prompt than a physical one. I am such a verbal person it's gong to be hard to shut-up, but I think it is something I need to work on. Easy also felt like it gave him a little bit of a different perspective so we are both happy we went and we plan on going to a more in depth workshop this fall.

By the time we got back to town and picked up all the kids it was bedtime. I got the Bug to bed and the Goose settled down watching a show and Easy sat down to have "working time" with the Monkey. They had a great session together and then they blew my mind. We got Tripp ready for bed and Easy handed him his boxer shorts and set "You do it." And he did. I sat ther with tears streaming down my face while me 3 1/2 year old son put his pants on by himself for the very first time. It was slow and deliberate. At one point he paused for a long time like he was stuck and then he slid off the bed and stood up to finish pulling up his britches. It was beautiful. So, of course, the next morning I tried it again with his undies (he's a breifs man so I thought they might be harder than the boxers he sleeps in over his diaper) and we had another success. We haven't looked back. He is a pants puttin' on little dude and I am one proud mama! He even tried to put his t-shirt on by himself, but he still needs a little help getting it over his noggin. He's also going potty by himself and coming back out with his undies back on! Woo Hoo for all of us!!!!!!!!!

And lastly in the updates...........we had our eval with the in-home parent trainer person and I am awaiting the ARD date. I thought the girl that came was wonderful. She fits Tripp's prefered profile - petite brunett. She graduated college with Tripp's teacher so them working together will be a breeze. I'll let you know how the ARD goes when we have it. For now I'm just celebrating underwear and pants!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Two Things

First - an update on the Monkey himself. Tripp is doing well. Along with this amazing cognitive gorwth spurt (remember, he started reading some things!) has come some frustration. He seems to have discovered that he can refuse to do things. It's like he just turned 2. This is mostly frustrating because the Bug is about to turn 2 and has figured out the same thing. Most particularly Tripp like to refuse to wear shoes. He kicks and wiggles and screams "no shoes." It's nice. He's been kinda crazy the last week. Vivie has been sick so I'm wondering if he's not fighting of one of the 3 viruses she's had. Lots of toe walking and huffing through the nose. In the great news department.....I saw him try to initiated a conversation with a new (as in met her an hour earlier) friend on Saturday. "Hi Jaycee. How you?" is what he said to this sweet little girl after he'd been ignoring her and her brother Jayden for over an hour. It was pretty cool. He's doing well with the chalkboard schedule. He likes to "mark it off" and it's reduced tantruming by nearly 2/3 in our house.

Second........a word about vaccines. So here's my two cents on this highly controversial topic. Do I think vaccines cause autism? No. Do I think they contribute to the onset and devleopment of an ASD in some kids? Absolutely. Do I think they had anything to do with Tripp's ASD? Nope. That being said, I'm still a nervous mom and with Vivie's 2-year well check coming up I was getting a little anxious about how I should handle this with her. Since we were at the pedi on Friday for one of her viruses (serisously - go read Sarah Station to see how sick she's been!) I brought the subject up. Easy and I had pretty much decided that we were gonig to request that she not be given the big combo, but instead receive her vacinations individually and spread out a bit. And if she so much as had a sniffle we would wait. I reminded Dr. Marquardt that Tripp is on the spectrum and that even though I know the research shows no causation I have some concerns. His response was great "Well, let's look and see what she's due for." Turns out all she's due for is HepA. She's already had the big combo shots! She had them at her 15 month welll-check - before I even really knew I was concerned about it! And let me just say that she is SO FINE!!!! I had no idea that was a weight on my shoulders until Dr. Marquardt lifted it with a simple sentence.....all she needs is HepA.

I hope you are all having a good week. We are waiting to hear from the school district about In Home/Parent training stuff. Once that eval is done we will ARD again to discuss the results of the eval, consider ESY services, and to add to his plan that he will attend the PPCD class all five days the last two weeks of school (Sonshines School will be over on the 15th). Until later.........

Friday, March 21, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Read

So Tripp has been showing some big time "pre-reading" skills the last month. This isn't all the surprising as we were told by our first speeh therapist (Ginger) last May that he could be reading fluently in the next 6-12 months. My thought was "yea right." I guess the joke is on me.

This past week he read the word "bed" and the word "free" off his "word schedule" chalk board without any prompting from me. So today I pulled out our box of site word flashcards just to see what he could do. Below is a list of words and phrases he read to me with the simple prompt " What's this say?"

good (he was trying to soud this one out "go-oh-d")
know (sounded out as k-new)
it is
can run
can play
he is
would like

Um, he's only 3 1/2. I may have trouble keeping up.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monkey BOUNCE!

So last night my Monkey and I had a ton of fun together. Well, as together as it gets for us anyway. There's a group here in town that is I guess a support group for parents with kids on the spectrum. My sweet friend Kathy got me to a meeting a few months ago. I didn't really dig it, but this month Kathy was organizing the event and MAN did she choose a fab place for it!

Instead of a meeting where we sit and listen and then socialize some while our kids (if we brought them) are entertained in another room we all met at The Bounce. If you're not from around here you probably don't know what The Boune is. Here's a quote from their brochure:

"THE BOUNCE! is a 12,500 square foot party facility featuring your favorite inflatable castles, obstacle courses, huge slide, rock walls, and more, all in a safe, climate controlled environment."

My sweet Monkey bounced and slid himself silly. It was such a treat to get to see that joy on his face for such a long period of time. The owners (Mike and Betty Pinney - you rock!!!) kept the place open late for our group. We were there from 6:30-8:30 and from 7:00 on it was just our kids. I lost track of all the smiles. All the parents were relaxed and visiting. I ran into a guy I used to work with a lifetime ago who has two kids on the spectrum. Small world I guess. It was fabulous. Monkey would periodically look around for me and with a wave from Mom was off again. I'm seriously thinking this is THE place to have his b-day party.

I thought he would zonk out on the way home, but I guess he was a little overstimulated. I had to carry him to the car because he couldn't stop the tippy toe arm flap dance long enough to walk. So, we hit the grocery store together before we headed home. I had a hard time convincing him that I needed to pay for the turkey pepperoni before we could open it. I finally convinced him and then he forgot about it. He had a few minutes of time with his Daddy when we got home and then it was off to bed. He asked for "snuggle Mommy" and I of course obliged. It didn't last long though. One he got still his little body called it quits and with a softly spoken "OK. Bye bye now." he drifted off to sleep.

What a fabulous way to spend an evening. Just me and my Monkey experienceing joy together. So, maybe we weren't interacting so much, but he had joy from all the slides and bouncing and I had joy watching his face light up and that smile that stretches out a mile wide. I'll take a little parallel joy any day! Thanks you Kathy and thank you THE BOUNCE!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cruisin' Along

Well things in Tripp's world are cruisin' right along. He is loving school and doing very well. He went on a field trip today to Hungry Howie's Pizza. I reminder his teachers that he couldn't actually eat the pizza due to the gluten in the crust. They had already discussed it and assured me that would watch close and make sure he only nibbled on the toppings and not the crust. When he got home from school he had a goodie bag with all the different toppings in little containers so he could eat them - no crust in sight! God has been so good to us by giving us supportive understand teachers for Tripp. We are so blessed.

I had a session with Dr. Montgomery (SW Autism Team) on Monday. I didn't take Tripp because she needed to do a formal parent interview for some added documentation. We talked very honestly about the challenge of doing daily working sessions in the afternoon and decided that it would be best to reframe the whole thing. Instead of working on new skills in the early afternoon, we will be working on frustration tolerance in the evenings. Not much will be different except that he will be tired and cranky and we will only work on very basic activities - sequencing, some facial expressions, and my turn/your turn. Of course we will still require eye contact every step of the way so I'm sure he will get plenty frustrated! This change of approach will allow me to be MUCH more consistent and will also open the possibility that Easy can do the sessions with him sometimes. I think that's important.

I also talked to the Dr. about spring break. Since this is the only real chance the school district will have to observe any regression when the structure is removed she gave me the "OK" to not be structured at home over that week so that we have a better chance of them seeing a need for ESY (extended school year). I don't know how that will turn out, but I feel very strongly that he will need some formal school/structure during the summer and if he doesn't qualify for it at the district I haven't a clue how we would pay for it!

I better run. It'salmost time to pick up the Goose from school. Just wanted to take a minute to let you all know that things are going well!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Time Miss Devine!

Miss Devine is Tripp's new teacher. He loves her! This is his third week in the PPCD class. When we pulled up at his school today he said "See Miss Devine!" and when he saw Ms. Alice, the aide in his class, he said "Hey Ms. Alice." He is talking more than ever and has finally begun regaining the potty training ground we lost over the Chirstmas break. He has even started having "rest time" in his undies as he is very much opposed to wearing a "pull 'em up" for any reason. He does not object to "Mickey sleeping" (his overnight diaper) at bedtime though so I'd say we are in a very good place when it comes to the potty!

The other day in the car he said "Hey Mommy. Guess what." Shocked and amazed that he just initiated verbal interaction with me I said "What bubba?" What followed was a bunch of stuff I couldn't understand but he clearly wanted to tell me something and was satisfied that I listened even though I haven't a clue what he said. Good stuff!!

I think the only "down" news I have is what we saw over the weekend. Tripp didn't go to school Friday - Paris had a fever and Tripp was "iffy" (99.7) so we all stayed home. Saturday I was home with the kids all morning and when Easy got home about 1:00 I left and was gone until nearly 9:00. So, two days - no structure. Result? Sunday was awful! He tantrumed, he screamed, he cried, he tippy toed, he flicked his fingers, he made weird noises, he carried belts around all day to make numbers with, and he koala-beared so tightly to me that I didn't even have to hold him. It was probably the most "autistic" day we've had in over a month. Tell me this.....if two days of no structure did that, what would an entire summer at home do?!?!? I'm planning to write an email to his teacher and copy the diag on it letting them know what we saw this weekend. I know they won't have time between now and summer to document much since spring break is the only holiday in there so I figure my documentation is all I'm gonna have to get him services through the summer. For Easy and me it was crystal clear what was going on - I hope the district will see it as clearly.

So that's what things look like as we keep Monkey Dancin' forward. I still haven't started the "working sessions" with him here at home, but I will do that this week. I intended to start last week, but since we were roating the fever (we includes me!) it didn't happen. Sometimes I think I'm not doing near enough for him, and sometimes I think I couldn't possibly do any more. It is my prayer this week that I really see what things are important and make them the priority for my time - that goes for my whole family, not just Tripp. Since we are one family, we all do the Monkey Dance so I need to think of us overall and not just as individuals. Your prayers for discernment and wisdom are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Want to play E?

That is what Tripp says when he sees me anywhere near a computer. Translation? "Mommy, would you please click on Internet Explorer and go to Nick Jr. so that I can sit in your lap while you play a game and I cheer you on with shouts of "Good Job," "Watchout!" and "Keep Going?""

OK, I'm sure I didn't use those quotation marks correctly because it looks kind of silly to me but I think you know what I mean. He's so stinkin' cute!!

So it's been crazy since my last post. Last week I went and observed several classrooms. I saw the ABC class - this is the district class for kids with autism. I saw two PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) classes as well. I knew which one the diag wanted to place Tripp in so I went back for a second observation. After many conversations and LOTS of prayer we decided to agree with Molley's (the diag) recommendation and place Tripp in the PPCD class. He will stay at Sonshine school on TTH and go to the PPCD class MWF. Next year he will be with the school district 5 days a week.

The ARD was scheduled quickly - we had it yesterday afternoon. I think it went well. I liked everyone in attendance (I REALLY like Dr. Wehrly!!!), I liked the atmosphere at the school, I liked having my mom with me! I think Tripp's new teacher will be a good fit for him. She fits his preferred dark hair/petite/pale complexion profile to a T. Her personality is a bit more mellow than mine (shocking, I know) so I had to really step back and look at her and her classroom as not something that I would like, but rather how Tripp would fit there? It is going to be good.

I think I'm feeling overall very good about the district and Tripp's placement and what he'll be able to do there. I feel kind like I've been in a tornado for, well, a long time and now we're going to stop going in circles and get on the highway. I'm sure the drive won't be straight and smooth but at least we're on a road and I have lots of friends and a faithful Father that will guide us as we move forward.

We also had our first session with Dr. Montogmery (SW Autism Team) on Monday. Can we say overwhelmed? On top of starting a whole new schedule with school somewhere every day, I'm supposed to start having "working sessions" with Tripp daily at home. I'm praying about this - mostly that Vivie will take a stinking nap so I can actually accomplish it. It may take me a bit to get the swing of what Dr. Montgomery taught and modeled for me, but I'm commited to doing everything possible to help my Monkey.

If I had blogged yesterday it would have been through tears. Today I'm much better. I guess it's all just so very real now. It's been another one of those weeks where I am forced to acknowledge that this isn't going to go away. There is still this part of me that wants to beleive that if we do absolutely everything possible that the ASD will become imperceptible. (SP?) I don't know if that's possible or even if it's something I should hope for. The truth is, he's only three. His differences right now don't look all that strange. At age 9 I have no idea what he will look like or how different he will be from his peers. There so much changing in the world of autism I don't even really know what this process of treatment/therapy is going to look like. Now that the district and our private sector people agree that he fits the criteria for Apserger Syndrome does that mean anything different really than just saying he has an ASD? Dr. Montgomery even pointed out that the criteria fo Asperger's is changing so he may not meet it in another 2 years. So many unknowns, so many changes........but one thing does not change. Well, two things really.

1. God is faithful.

2. I love my son.

For now I'm going to hold on tightly to those two truths and embrace the new structure that will become our life for the rest of the school year. Who knows, it may even be good for all of us to have a more scheduled day - I just for the life of me can't figure out where to fit in cleaning my house.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monkey Business

So, my last few posts have been all about process. I thought it time to post some actual Monkey business instead! Here are some fun & funny things going on with my sweet Monkey!

As we have made our transition into a gluten-free diet things have been, well challenging in some ways and surprisingly easy in others. The lack of crackers has been very hard on our little Bug. About a week into our no-cracker house we were up at Sonshine School early. I had dressed the kids and we were just killing time until school started. Vivie was doing the incessant cracker asking. Then I heard it. Tripp, in his typical no eye contact or any visible sign that he was communicating with his sister, says "No moh cackers!" I cracked up laughing! How ironic that my sweet repetitive boy seemed annoyed by Viv's constant cracker asking! It was funny. It did not, however, stop her from asking again.

Monkey has also added several new words to his vocab. Most of them have to do with food - no doubt again dur to the dietary changes we've made. He has spontaneously asked for things ranging from "pedut pudder and jewy samich" to "nacchos." The things that have mad me smile most are his request to "open du pantwy?" and the fact that he usualy makes his request in the following format: "Do you want a chip today?" Hello, pantry and today? Great words!!

Also in the food department I'm very happy to say that he has added a new food to his will-eat list! He started asking for a hot dog on Saturday. He's never asked for a hot dog. He's never eaten a hot dog. After an entire afternoon of asking for a "hot dog today?" I gave him one - cold - straight out of the fridge. AND HE ATE IT! He even added "Mmmmmmmmmm, yummy hot dog!" LOVE IT!!! Packing lunch just got a lot easier!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Well, our February 5th deadline for our first ARD is nearing. I've been in contact with the district diagnostician and we need to make some decisions about placement so we know which campus to have the ARD on. It seems that the district isn't sure that the ABC class (that's the one just for kids on the spectrum) is the best fit for Tripp. She presented me with three options, 2 of which I have vetoed already. One was to keep him at SSS and have the district consult with them. Nope - they are doing all they can at SSS and since I know some of the administrative dynamics going on I veto this option. I simply don't think they have the resources to do any more than they already do and I think Tripp needs something more than two days a week. Another option was to keep him at SSS and have him receive speech/language therapy. I didn't think this would be enough, and Dr. Montgomery (Scott & White Autism Team) concurred that he needs more than that. So that leaves us with option three which is to keep him at SSS two days a week (per my request so he can have that social time with typical peers) and place him in the regular PPCD class the other days. So, after conferring with my mom, Dr. Montgomery, my good friend Irene (who has experience with the district here) I have asked to:
#1 - get my hands on the district's official report on Tripp
#2 - go observe the ABC class they don't want to put him in
#3 - go observe the PPCD class

I have about a week to get that all done. The only part of this that has me uneasy is that the diagnostician told me on the phone she had hoped to hire another pre-school teacher and create another class that Tripp would have been well suited for - targeting high functiong kids on the spectrum. Apparently the hire is not getting approved by her superiors so I'm left with the options listed above. To me it sounds like if she got to pick he would be in a more specialized class than the regular PPCD. All that leaves me feeling like we might be settling and that is, well, uncomfortable. I'm going to go observe next week - please pray that I'm able to see both classes and that God will make the choices clear and the path available.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

8 Random Things About Me - by Tripp, the Monkey

My friend Jacob tagged me, so here are 8 random things about me. My mom is helping since language isn't my strongest skill.

1. I LOVE NUMBERS!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, numbers. I carry and sleep with a calculator all the time. I count everything imaginable (including my poo-poos) and sometimes even things that are only imagined by me. Mommy just shrugs here shoulders and smiles alot when she doesn't understand what I'm counting.

2. I can form numbers with my fingers - 1-9. I made Mommy do it with me once, but she said her hand hurt when we were done. Sowwy mommy.

3. I love my big sister Paris. I used to call her Diggadauh just to irritate her. Now I call her Pawis and my favortie part of the day is when we go in Pawis from school. (that's go get Paris from school for those not fluent in Monkey speak)

4. My mom calls me her Monkey. I don't get it.

5. Every Friday I play with my friend Jacob at Miss Temaphie's house. (That would be Miss Stephanie!) Even though I usually just play by myself when I'm there I really like going and I try to play with Jacob - he makes me laugh sometimes. And sometimes Mister Ewic is there and I watch him on the puter. (computer)

6. I love to be outside. I think running on my tip toes in cirles in the backyard is really cool. I also like to play ball with Daddy. He throws it and I go get it. I saw them do this with Cowboy, that dog that tries to lick my face, and it looked like fun.

7. I don't like Cowboy to lick me. His breath is yucky.

8. My mommy doesn't know that I know this, but every night before she goes to bed she comes in and lays down on my bed. She puts her hand on my head and she talks to God. She loves me a lot. I don't always wake up, but most of the time I smile while she's talking to God.

I'm not sure what it means to tag someone else, and mommy syas most of my firends have already been tagged so I think I'll just go to bed now. Night night.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A bit overdue

Sorry for the delay in posting. We could call it a holiday hiatus, or maybe Christmas crazy - regardless I haven't posted in a while and I apologize. So in an effort to catch up..................

Tripp had his assessments with the school district done on the 19th. Everyone there is also in agreement that he's on the spectrum. They just need to score all their little testing tools to see where to place him. He absolutely entertained the diag and speech pathologist while they did their stuff with him. He started the whole deal off by spontaneously counting by 7's. Yes, by 7's. We were all a bit amazed. I went to do my interview with the psychologist while they did all there stuff and when I came back they were all having fun. Apparently they got further in one of the testing tools than they ever had before. The diag said shell be interested to see all the "results" because he struggled with the lower level stuff and then all of the sudden they hit a point and he blew the rest out of the water. Clearly he is missing some basic components in his development, but once they got to a section he "got" he was on fire! So, the aboslute latest we will have our ARD is February 5th, but it could be before then. That's when we will find out what services they are going to provide. Keep praying over all of that.

Since that week I've been distracted a bit by the busyness of the holidays. I have these moments of reality where I think about what life will be like when our Monkey is 8 or 12. I mean, at this point lots of what he does could easliy be chalked up to just being a silly three year old. I sense, however, that the older he gets the more different he will look from his peers. I have some saddness when I think of the future at times. I just want all good things for him and reality is that it isn't going to be all good. But I guess that's true for all kids. Maybe it's just that I see it coming, or that I feel like it should be different for him because he's special. Then again, my girls are special too and I want all good things for them, and the first boy that breaks their heart deserves to be smooshed into nothingness.

I've had other reality check moments - the ones that just blow me away because Tripp is just so amazing. I mean, hello, he counted by 7's. I have to think hard after 35! And for all his disconnect and quirkiness, he has a tremendous amount of love to share. So, yeah, he's kinda picky about who he shares it with, but when your the recipient of a hug that he initiates the rest of the world just seems to melt away. I like those moments better than the ones where I worry about his future.

One things is for sure - this holiday break with no routine, no schedule, no structure has taken a toll. I've seen a lot of tippy toes this week in particular. He's not sleeping well. He's not eating well. And no, he's not pottying well. He actually peed a puddle in my kitchen floor on Monday. He hasn't done that in months! I'm ready to get back into our routine for pee patrol alone. I am so tired of wet undies!!! (of course, about the time we get things rolling again I'll start potty trainging Viv and have went panties as well!)

SSS starts back next Tuesday though, so we only have a little more chaos to endure. It's really driven home how important it's going to be to find something for the summer. I don't know if the district does any kind of summer program. If not, I'm going to have to find somehwere for him to go so we don't go spirally backwards. Who knew relaxation could be so stressful?!?!?!?