At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

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!







Sunday, January 28, 2018

Now We Are Eight

Birthday stuff coming, but first let's get a few Christmas pixs out of the way.

The 2017 holiday season brought plenty of and friends to our little guy,...including Rufus,...a very sturdy plush horse that has been a great edition for sensory seeking and imagination play.

"Pretend pancakes, Rufus?" 


How about some independent Lego building?


On Christmas Day our little guy build all of his legos by himself and in record time. 
It was like, open box, snap, snap, snap, DONE!


Only during the holidays you can't get out of life. The best part of therapy visits downtown are going to for lunch afterward. 


So how's basketball going?


Well,...Isaac took a great team picture. 


And we've been practicing the finer fundamentals with our handy-dandy homemade team. 


You guessed it,...our little guy likes calling the shots best,...but how's it going,...ahhhhhhh,... 


WAIT! Let's not forget birthday stuff! Isaac was super excited about his birthday this year,...and counted down the days on his calendar, a first! As you can see,...our little guy was feted at school,...


And celebrated at home,...let's rippppppp them presents open,...wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. It wasn't long ago,...our little guy wouldn't even open a gift bag,...so let the present paper fly!


"For me!" says Isaac,...so thrilled with the simplest gift,...and now we are eight, complete with the correct sign language number. 



Ball game on your birthday? Oh yeah,...and big brothers came to cheer our little guy on. 


Afterward our birthday guy had to cross out a few more bucket list items.

Ping-pong, anyone?


Birthday cake,...yum!
Isaac specifically requested a chocolate cake, despite the fact he's yet to consume anything chocolate, but we honored his wishes,...chocolate cake it was with candles galore,...and donuts in reserve. 



 Kudos to our little guy for trying,...


Sensory, sensory, sensory,...it's real, folks,...and we respect our little guy's aversions. No pix of the birthday donuts,...but they were consumed with relish to the strains of "Happy Birthday To You,..." from one of Isaac's friends from school, who sent him a video,...soooo precious and appreciated. 


And now we're eight,...and Mama's hem-hawing about basketball,...but what can you say? It is what it is,...and it is overwhelming for our little guy,...the sensory,...the communication,...and there is not a lot of accommodation aside from lukewarmish tolerance. Lots of perspective checks on this issue,...Autism is not winning this round! The last game was the most challenging,...our little guy was bewildered because no one would pass the ball to him,...Mama was in tears,...and it was heartbreaking,...but at the end of the game,...I.I. bounded across the court with his sunshine smile,
"I a winner!"

You bet,...Autism is NOT winning! Nor is Apraxia, which has been rather pesky lately,...still we look back and see how much progress our little guy has made. It's a miracle. That I.I. can even be on a basketball court is a miracle,...and we are so grateful to have this precious little person in our lives. 


Now our little guy is eight years old. 
For him life is just beginning,
so much to see,
and do, 
and learn,
and teach others about unconditional love and acceptance. 


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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas and Autism: We've Learned a Thing or Two

Five years ago our little guy was flagged for Autism. After many tests that diagnosis was confirmed the following year,...which officially makes this our fourth Christmas under that diagnosis.


Let's be perfectly clear: Holidays are tough,...especially those first years when nothing seem to register with significance. Or in other words,...our little guy was totally completely unimpressed with the Holiday Season. 

Hello,...when a child could CARE LESS about opening presents,...or even not show interest in the new SUPER COOL toy,...yeah,...that's tough. 

Let's not even talk about making cookies and cocoa,...stuffing stockings,...or munching candy canes. Isaac's attitude was totally like, "I have no idea what you're doing,...but whatever,...if that makes YOU happy go ahead,...but me,...I've got other STUFF to do." 

Yeah,...those holiday memories can be tough,...but fast forward with LOTS of therapy and maturation! 


Now Isaac's totally getting into the Holidays...in his own way, of course,...but it's a far cry from where we started five years ago.




Snowball fight, anyone?


"Ho, ho, ho," Isaac loves him some Santa time,...or rather how many times can anyone watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, or Santa's Coming to Town????


Finding your way through Christmas traditions with Autism can be tricky,....but one of the FIRST things we've learned is to LET GO of preconceived notions of what the Holidays should be. 


Isaac has his own way of navigating through the Holidays,...and while it may not be traditional, or typical, it's always joyful,...and it's NEVER dull.


Yet,...is a beautiful word.

So many years ago,...our little guy was not able to celebrate,...yet. 

Yet,...has arrived for dancing with friends to holiday tunes!


We've learned to take the Holidays one step at at time,...and enjoy those steps. 






It's all very much like trying to get a Santa pix of our little guy.
Hundreds of pictures,
LOTS of patience,
yield results. 



Even yet,...getting our little guy to eat his veggies. 
With sensory issues galore,...how is it accomplished?
LOTS of patience,
and more steps,
food on plate,
plate on table,
Isaac near plate,
move to food on Isaac's plate,
Isaac tolerates strange food on plate,
Isaac touches veggies,
Isaac tastes veggies,
and now Isaac eats veggies,
not with enthusiasm,
but that's a 'yet' we're working on.
It's not typical, 
but nothing about our little guy is. 

But NOTHING is stopping him!
Not apraxia,
nor autism. 

Basketball, anyone?


How is it going?
Okay.
Our little guy is learning the game,
but the communication challenges are WOW,...a real challenge,
Sign language is really helping,
and the referees are all buttercups,
but then aren't most 'toughies'?
Or rather they are very compassionate individuals who are helping to make the wonder of sports doable for our little guy.
Thanks you, men in black and white striped shirts! 

Of course, basketball is really just an excuse to get pancakes after the game. 
More progress here,
that's STICKY syrup
our little guy is consuming. 


How about getting to go to a holiday movie,
and NOT have to sit on the front row???

Isaac LOVED "THE STAR" movie,
and so did we,
as we want our little guy to understand the 'true' meaning of Christmas!


I.I. totally understands about gift giving, but not in a typical way.
Having to check out of school to go to speech therapy,...our little guy missed out on some gift opening in his class. He was given the gift to open at home,...but that didn't happen. A typical child would have ripped into that package, but I.I. carried it very carefully home,...and then he lovingly placed it under the Christmas tree - so happy, so proud.
"That's from my friend Sydney," said Isaac, and he made a point of showing everyone his 'present' from his friend Sydney in its place of honor under the tree. 

Oh yeah,...seven years old,...and our little guy already knows what makes presents so precious are not the contents,...but the people. 

More preconceived notions knocked aside,...there is a lot to learn from a 'non-typical' Holiday Season. 

Another 'yet' conquered this season,...as our little guy (for the first time) is happily anxious for Christmas Day to arrive,...and thus we've have it visually mapped out on our weekly calendar. 



Christmas baking is about the bonding,...not the cookies. 
Who said you HAD to have Christmas cookies?
Christmas Rice Krispie treats,
are FASTER,
EASIER,
AND nearly no mess way,
to bond with Holiday goodies. 


Patience,...is definitely needed to comprehend Autism in the light of the Holiday Season. 
Give it time. 
Change the traditions,
or make new traditions. 
Just because something is not 'traditional' or 'typical' doesn't mean its not worthy to celebrate. 
Nearly all of our past traditions are dust,
but we still have those memories,
and they were fine for that time and place,
but now we're in a new time and a new place with our little guy,
and he never seems to tire of delighting us. 

Oh yeah,...just when you think we're stuck in a static situation,
nothing is going to change,
he pulls a fast one on us. 

How about decorating a Christmas tree?


Solo?



Okay,...not exactly solo,...but everyone else had to work,
and under our little guy's direction,...I put the Christmas tree together,
and then,....


Isaac decorated it.


Yep,...every bit,...except the angel,...he instructed me to do that,
but the rest,...is all his own handiwork. 

Yeah,...I was sniffling and wiping tears when he wasn't looking.
Five years ago,...I'd had thought THIS miracle would NEVER take place. 


Which leads to the most important thing we've learned in the past five years.
NEVER,
EVER,
EVER,
Give up!




Break-throughs are just around the corner.


And yeah,...your Holidays may NEVER looks traditional.



But what's wrong with that?

In many ways there is NOTHING traditional about the Christmas story.

2017 years ago,...
a virgin gave birth to the KING of KINGS in a stable. 



From our family to yours.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!







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