At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mothering A Child On The Spectrum: Lessons Learned,...

It's been eight years since Isaac arrived to rock our world,...and truly our world has not ever been the same,...and that's a very good thing. 

Such growth we've experienced in our lives,...such joy,...such challenges,...such compassion and mercy,...such love.



Our child with communication challenges has taught us to communicate with more clarity than I ever thought possible. 

He's taught us patience, and fortitude, which is a very special brand of patience.

He's taught us grace, and humility tinged with dignity, and acceptance for ourselves and others.

He's taught us to see beyond perceptions, to search deep within ourselves, and hold others in tender reverence. 

He's taught us the wonder within the everyday world, and not to take anything for granted. 

He's taught us the fine art of flexibility, and has abolished meaningless social norms.

He's taught us to be bold, to pick our battles, and dig in,...and also when to let go. 

He's taught us joy, and laughter, and silliness galore. 

But more than anything our youngest son has taught us to live in the moment,...and to love deeply with an abiding, unconditional love that has no quid pro quo attached. 

Mothering a child on the spectrum is not always an easy task,...it can be a maze with many twists and turns, and you don't always know where you are headed, but opening your heart to the lessons to be gleamed along the path is a rewarding experience - and humbling - that we should be so blessed with such a child as this. 

As our child grows,...so do we,...and that's a very good thing. 

From our family to yours,
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

















Thursday, May 3, 2018

Whirlwind!

Whew! Keeping up with Isaac can be a whirlwind!!!!



Our little guy has so much going on in his life,
school,
playing,
reading,
more reading,
reading even more,
puzzles,
activity pages,
more reading,
mowing the law,
tracking air plane flights,
becoming an official resident I.T.,
reading even more,
lego builder,
baseball player,
friend,
helper,
server,
artist,
boss,
and number one encourager.
"Good job!" 


In therapy,...both social and speech, and academically in school,
 our little guy has been hitting home runs out of the ball park.
 So much progress,....we are so grateful!!!

Also thanks to everyone who took time to acknowledge Autism during April. 
Yeah,...we can point out that our children deal with Autism 24/7-365,
but we truly are grateful for whatever acceptance or education that is made available.

Very short post today,
but we've many big projects on hand,
some to do with our little guy,
some not,
but it's all part of the life we share,
and we will be sharing the new ventures opening up to us,
when it's time. 



Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!  




















Monday, April 2, 2018

Autism Awareness 2018



Our little guy was diagnosed with Autism six years ago,...so we are very aware of Autism as we live with it every day.

We are aware there is no cure for Autism.
We are aware that therapy is very expensive.
We are aware that this journey can be isolating.
We are aware that the only thing predictable about Autism is there is nothing predictable. 
We are aware that a long view is needed for therapy challenges. 
We are aware that Autism takes you beyond what you thought was your endurance - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 
We are aware a good night's sleep is not a given.
We are aware that sensory issues are real and need compassionate respect. 
We are aware of all the professionals and volunteers who so selfless give themselves to the cause of our children's welfare. Thank you. 

Most of all we are aware the only one not concerned with our son's Autism diagnosis is our son. 

The gift of Autism is that it strips life down to the bare essentials,...you are you, and I am me, and what else is really important in life?

Until I post again,...may God Bless and Keep you!


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Basket Empty, Basket Full, Or Does It Matter?

Spring is here,...that means Easter weekend!

Yes! Isaac can rock him some bunny ears!

Also Special Needs Easter egg hunt!
Thank you, thank you, thank you,...to the kind and caring, and loving individuals who so thoughtfully provide a venue for our children.

Ever been to an Easter egg hunt? 
The first one we took Isaac to the little plastic eggs were cleared from the hunt area in two seconds flat, with the oldest and fastest kids getting the most bounty. 
The snatch and grab fest wasn't a great afternoon, Isaac only picked up one egg,...and the sensory overload for our toddler was a bit much for him and us,...and it was all very bewildering as we had not even had a Autism diagnoses at that time. So we just kinda set,...Easter egg hunts, aside. 

Then about three years ago,...a local church began to offer an Easter egg hunt just for special needs children. WOW,...what a difference!



Basket empty.


Basket full.


Only Isaac doesn't eat the candy in the basketful of eggs,...so does it really matter?


Yeah,...it does. 
Experiences are powerful learning tools. 
Our little guy was out in front when the Easter egg hunt began, 
but please note all the eggs I.I. is leaving in his wake,....for his friends. 
Nor was Isaac the only considerate child,
pretty much across the board,....
all the children were more concerned about their friends getting eggs,
than filling their own baskets. 

And,...hello,...isn't selfless love for others what Easter is all about? 


The bubbles were bonus fun,...


Isaac, of course is already thinking about his next adventures,...

Here's a hint!



"The good book says," says Isaac, "Love one another, be kind to one another."

Life skills our little guy already has a good handle on!


From our family to yours,...may you have a blessed EASTER! 











Sunday, March 11, 2018

Racing Into Spring

Paying it forward Isaac was happy to get up super early on a super cold Saturday morning to support big brother Michael and the National Center For Sports Safety,...


Getting to help set up vendor tables for a 800+ runner race was totally cool!


Oh yes,...Isaac was determine to make sure those runner had plenty of potassium, via bananas and oranges. What a joy to watch the social interaction of our little guy has he utterly charmed the socks off the runners!

                                                 
"Here you go!" said Isaac passing out fruit with his sunshine smile! There is not a shy bone in this little guy! Bold as a lion,...he'll speak to anyone, and rare is when the reaction not sheer delight. Seriously? It's pretty amazing to witness so much charism, but then again,...our little guy 'fakes' nothing! Is he typical? Nope, but he's utterly, completely, totally self-confident! He's happy, very, very happy. He's polite, very, very polite. And he's utterly, completely, totally sincere for he really does want others to have a great day!


There is no doubt our little guy is a people person,...but then he does have good role models. Everyone in the world needs to have a big brothers like Teddy and Michael in their life. 


Mark, set go,...Isaac,...racing toward the future at his elementary school's Rocket Run,...



Look,...that's our little guy,...racing with his schoolmates around the quarter mile track. Okay,...we did keep a close eye on our little guy,...habit,...but Isaac ran very independently. He didn't have to have us ten steps away during the race,...such a progress is such a blessing!!!


See Isaac's peas? Oh he's been soooooo excited about this science experiment,...talking about his peas at home!!! Did you get that? Our little guy is talking at home about a school project!!!! These are HUGE developmental leaps,....


How about handling disappointment? 
Saturday morning was so promising,...not a cloud in the sky,...and we had errands to run across town. "You bet we'll stop by the playground on the way home!" Mama promised,...because her little guy had behaved like a CHAMP as we signed him up for Miracle League and then dove into a very crowded Special Needs fair to visit a vendor or two,...or three or four,...or oh my goodness,...Mama talked to nearly everyone, while her little guy stayed right next to her, when he wasn't charming spinners and beach balls from the table attendants. Meeting Uncle George for lunch, another errand,...and finally we head toward the playground,...only the skies were darkening, even as Isaac hopefully said, "It not rain,...it sunny!" 
Oh dear,...it did rain in a torrential downpour, but we briefly stopped at the playground, because this Mama doesn't make promises she doesn't keep. 
"We try again,...later?" asked Isaac hopefully...yielding the umbrella, and he dearly loves an umbrella.
"Absolutely!" Mama promises,...and Mama keeps her promises.


Only Sunday is rainy too,...oh dear,...but after church Isaac finds consolation for his playground disappointment at the bookstore,...


Racing into spring,...our little guy is also racing into more developmental breakthroughs, which are for us very exciting. 
When our journey began,...we didn't know if our little guy would be able to tolerate long errand days,...or disappointments,...or outside activities without the fear of his wandering away,...but six years later,...look at our little guy turning into a social butterfly,...becoming a real helper at home,...and learning how to navigate social situations with his own special little finesse. 

In our modern world,...it's so rare to see individuals so comfortable with 'who they are.' Isaac knows who he is,...he's GREAT,...and best of all,...he thinks YOU'RE GREAT, TOO!


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!







Sunday, February 18, 2018

Autism And Basketball: Rookie Season In A Typical League

Hmmmmm,...so how did basketball go in a typical league with a child on the spectrum with communication disconnects from Apraxia?


Okay,...is the best answer. 
I think everyone is glad we participated,
and everyone is very glad the season is over. 
Let's just say,...we're not expecting any recruitment calls anytime soon. 

Communication was the biggest challenge.
Gyms are LOUD and echoing,
and the sensory overload is over the top,
and that's just for typical kids. 
Add in Autism and sprinkle on Apraxia,...and our little guy was lost. 


With a child on the spectrum, or rather with our child on the spectrum
you can't speak to them in a vacuum.
If you can't capture our little guy's attention,
get eye contract,
and speak with visual cues,
it's like I.I. hears, 
"Isaac go do,...wonk,wonk,wonk,wonk,wonk,...okay?

But hey,...what a little trooper!
 Our little guy was ON THE COURT,
tolerating the noise and confusion,
trying his level best to "...be a helper."


Lots and lots of emotional and logistical support was needed for each game. 


Big brother manned the goals so our little guy would know where to shoot,
if he got the ball. 


Ah,...did our little guy get the ball?
Not much,
and that's the saddest, although totally realistic lesson I.I. learn,
not everyone will throw you the ball,
or give you a chance,
even if you pass like a pro when you have the ball. 

Still,...our little guy's sunshine attitude won him plenty of friends,
and compassionate hearts are to be found in the most unlikely places.
Totally gruff referee,
or a very kind soul?

Everyone needs a helping hand now and then.



Plus this is Isaac we're talking about,...always expect the unexpected. 

Last game of the season,
last minute in the game,
and the referee was determined our little guy was going get a chance to shoot. 
Now I.I. has a pretty little shot, 
and he normally nails the ball,
but not that last game.
miss,
miss,
miss,
miss, 
miss.
Seriously nothing would go in that basket,
not even a free throw with 30 seconds left in the game.
Last chance,
20 seconds,
EVERYONE in the gym is screaming,
"Shoot, shoot, shoot Isaac shoot,"
But what was Isaac doing?
Watching the clock.
For what?
The last second,
then Isaac turned and nailed that shot,
with the buzzer blaring,
and the crowd going WILD!!!
Such a totally epic sport traditional ending to a game. 
I.I. loped off that court with a grin,
he had NO DOUBT,
he'd make that shot. 
Not one. 


"I a winner," said Isaac, 
not just after this game, 
but ALL SEASON.
Nothing is going to change our little guy's mindset,
how he sees himself. 
He's a winner,
and best of all,
he thinks,
YOU'RE a winner too! 


Now let's recap before we skip off to new adventures,...


Did our little guy have level chance to learn basketball?
No not on a typical team,
even just noncompetitive church ball. 
Given the proper time,
and therapy strategies this would have been a very different season. 
Communication was everything,
and modeling,
but this was not a therapy situation,
and we're lucky our little guy was even given the 'chance' to participate.


Did Isaac have fun playing basketball?
That's the most important aspect of this rookie season. 
For the most part,....it's a huge, YES. 
Hello, when is Isaac not happy,
aside from the bewilderment of no one passing him the ball?
Even that unfairness didn't keep him down long.
Let's happily bound up and down that court,
like the little winner he is!
Also our little guy touched a lot of lives,
people, who in April will say,
"Hey I know someone with Autism,...he's totally cool!" 

As for next basketball season,
that's waaaaaay down the road,
nothing is off the table for our little guy,
so we'll never say never. 

Until we post again,...may God bless and keep you!








Friday, February 2, 2018

This Past Monday

Gush alert,...I shall be gushing about a historic event that occurred this week. 





This past Monday after school Isaac spoke up from the back seat, "I tell you something."
WHOA!
What did my child just say?
"I tell you something." 

Please understand our little guy is in the second grade. That's two and half years worth of school, not counting all the early intervention preschool,...where he has not been able to tell us ANYTHING about his school day,...aside from answering multiple choice questions in affirmative or negative, i.e. yes or no. 


"Of course you can tell Mama, something," I reply.
"We go outside," said Isaac, "Not gym. We go to playground and there was a rock."
"A rock?" I query.
"A rock," said Isaac happily, "A rock in my shoe." 
"Did you get it out," I asked beaming from ear to ear. 
"Yes," said Isaac, back to being a man of few words. 
WHOA!
WHOA!
WHOA!
What a dialog to come out of the blue!

This is HUGE for a child on the spectrum,
and even more significant for a child with Apraxia. 
RECALL
SOCIAL INTERACTION
APPROPRIATE DIALOG!!!
Did you get the give and take of that exchange. 

Until this past Monday the extent of Isaac's school voluntary observations go back to Kindergarten when for the entire year,...all he ever said, "Go gym, see rock."
Okay, I don't get the 'rock' theme, either, but Isaac does dearly loves rocks, 
especially when he's nearly a body of water,...kerplunk!

For the past six months or so Isaac's social communication has been improving,
but the biggest significance is that he WANTED to tell me something, and he could. 
Praise the LORD for such progress!

Such encouragement is most needed,...Apraxia has really been evident lately,
or perhaps its a normal struggle with motor processing 
as our little guy pushes the boundaries of communication. 



Nothing is going to stop our little guy from getting is message across.

This past Monday was a historic event, 
one we hope will become so common place, 
we say,"Did we really write a blog post about that?"

That's for the future,
for now,
we're grateful our little guy has something to tell us. 


Until we post again,...may God bless and keep you!