At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Into The New Year,...

What more does a man need to tackle 2019 than a Diet Coke and some Pretzels?



Christmas seems loooooong gone,...and while I.I. had a GREAT Christmas Eve,...Christmas  Day,...sickness struck. Wonk, wonk, wonk,...that ain't right, but our little guy is such a champ,...he NEVER makes a fuss when he's not feeling well,...which is a bit of a challenge as too often we don't know he's not feeling well,...because one: he doesn't fuss,...and two: he doesn't always have the communicational skills.

However our little guy is making great strides with his basketball skills! Acceptance is a beautiful thing,...and it's such a joy for him to be on such an accepting team. It's been great season!


The big NINETH birthday is coming up quickly,...and so many have been sooooo gracious to make sure this is THE best birthday ever. Expect a very long, very picture heavy birthday post in the coming weeks!!!!


Dreams can come true,...you know,...and that applies to belated Christmas presents. 

"For ME!" our little guy cried with priceless surprise.


Originally this belated present was to be a uber-cool bike,...

A secret surprise,...that was belated due to just about everyone sick for Christmas. 

While recovering our little guy took it in his head he wanted a scooter,...mind he didn't know about the bike,...but it seemed to him that a scooter was the coolest thing on earth. 
Why?
Who knows,...but I.I. so longed for a scooter,...to have one day,...and he NEVER asks for anything.
We're talking NEVER,
okay,...I.I. will hint about those pretzels,
but he NEVER asks outright, 
which is probably very smart as such patience usually garners him pretzels. 
Well,...to make a long story short,...that bike was returned,
and the exact scooter our little guy longed for was ordered online,
and all the trouble was worth the priceless response.
"FOR ME!!!"


What a nice way to start 2019!!!

More adventures await!

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











Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Never Fails



Have you ever felt like your Christmas has failed?

Come on,...everyone has the tale of THE worst Christmas season ever!!!

For myself the Christmas season has always come from a different perspective, especially since my husband has always worked in retail, which is a sub-culture in of itself where holidays are concerned.

Funny story about when my older guys were very little and I was speaking to an acquaintance about not seeing my husband from mid October to mid February, and she sympathetically lamented, "Oh,...he must be in the military."
"No," I replied, "He's in retail." 

Thus sending out hearts and hugs to retail families,...it's tough during the holiday season,...we know,...we've been there,...hugs,...hugs,...hugs!!!

Experiencing loss: loved ones, jobs, disappointments can add to Christmas stress. Grief is a subject in of itself,...my Daddy made a big deal of Christmas,...and I sure do miss him!!! Also money worries can be pressing when one can feel pressed to spend,...and spend,...and spend in a seeming never ending holiday cycle. Sickness doesn't stop for the holidays, serious and otherwise,...we've all had that Christmas with the sniffles, or even worse holding a loved ones hands during a more serious doctor's appointment.

Interpersonal relationships, especially familial,for you know everyone's got those darling dears in their outlying family who seemingly love try everyone's patience, should be proof enough we live in a fallen world!!!  If that doesn't convince you,...just turn on the news,...no one seems to be getting along these days.

And then there is Autism.

Boy,...oh boy were those early Christmases tough to take. EVERYTHING was soooo confusing. Hello,...when a child is not excited about gifts and toys and sparking ornaments,...and joy,...joy,...joy,...where do you turn?

Not that there wasn't joy,...it just took a while to recognize it.

You see the gift of Autism is that it pares down life to the bare essentials.
I love you.
You love me.
And what else is really important?

Did Christmas really HAVE to look like I thought it should look? Did traditions really matter? Did one really need a Christmas tree,...cookies,...caroling,...and even gifts to celebrate?

Guess what?

Christmas arrives December 25th,...presents or no presents,...joy or no joy,...laughter or tears,...grief or healing,...reconciliation or not,...you get the gist. No matter what Christmas comes,...the miracle,...the great joy,...and,"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Luke 2:14


Peace on earth?

"The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:5-7

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The world will alway try to steal your peace usually by setting you to live up to unreachable expectations. Think just about any Christmas commercial on television! Seriously what percentage of Christmas cookies made EVER look like those professionally perfect ones on Pinterest from the seemingly stay-at-home mom, who secretly has a degree in design? Not that our wonky ones don't taste good,...but those unreachable expectations which we are bombarded with, especially on social media are always out there ready to embroider: FAIL, FAIL, FAIL,...onto your Christmas stocking.

The Good News,...the real meaning of Christmas NEVER fails.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16




 God is gracious,...so very gracious to the world,...and to us.

This is our eighth Christmas with our little guy. Therapy works, thus he's come a long way from those very confusing Christmases where everything seems upside down. NEVER, EVER, EVER give up hope,...those Christmases taught us,...traditional traditions don't make Christmas,...Christmas.

Hello, we ready knew that fact in our heads,...everyone does,...we've all seen the Grinch Stole Christmasa zillion times,...but for the first time we learned it in our hearts.

Autism can't stop Christmas.
Nor sickness, or grief,...or disappointment,...the list goes on to infinity,..for NOTHING can stop the miracle of Jesus Christ's birth. 

And that alone is cause enough to celebrate!





MERRY CHRISTMAS from our family to yours! 

May you truly know the 'peace of God that transcends all understanding' -this Christmas season!!!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Which Way To Norway?

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you are well aware our little guy is rarely in a loss of which way to go!

"This way," says Isaac in true leadership style,...be it basketball, which is going really well, by the way, or anything else. 



Thumbs up for the Wildcats,...the sweetest team in the league,...also the fastest, there is some speed on that basketball court,...and plenty of joy!


But back to this blog title it's a direct quote from our little guy, "Which way to Norway?" - cause he's going, of course. 

In social studies we've been touring the world from the states of the United States to other countries, like Norway, France, Peru, Mexico, England,...to name a few,...and Isaac plans to visit them all!

Before anyone chuckles, "Sure,...you are kid,...sure you are," - I might just point out that our little guy's bucket lists have an eerie way of coming true. 

Seriously?

Absolutely,...I.I. wanted to go to a basketball game,...and the next thing you know there is an email in my inbox about Sensory Friendly game. "Next baseball game," said Isaac as we walked out of the basketball arena, and we made the mistake of chuckling, "Right."

Next thing we knew,....a church group invited us to join them for a professional basketball game. 

"Football?" - not a problem,...Isaac had been to a game, but that wasn't good enough, our little guy wanted to PLAY football on a real football field with real players! 

Football camp for special needs kids run by NFL players, anyone? 

Camping, hockey and fishing have also been checked,...and an air plane ride to 'somewhere' is an already booked, up coming check,...so our little guy is saying, "Which way to Norway," - and we are thinking, "Ah,...maybe we need to get some passports." 

Seriously?

You bet!

Our little guy already knows if you're going to dream,...DREAM BIG!!!

Of course while we are dreaming we still have to watch our budget, especial for educational materials which can be pricy!!! Thus, this Mama has no problem scouring local thrift stores for great finds like this wooden United States puzzle with the capitals beneath the pieces. 

Puzzles are always dicy to purchase at a thrift store. If I can, I always count the pieces be it 65 pieces or 365 pieces as our little guy really, really, REALLY doesn't like to find his puzzle incomplete. However I took a chance on this wooden puzzle due to the high quality and the fact I also like to cruise Pinterest and pinned the hint on how to replace a missing puzzle pieces. 


Pining a pin is one thing, but sorry Pinterest, the wood filler hack was for us a FAIL!!!! 

However Mama and Isaac weren't about to give up, as of course our little guy got into the action of this fix. Polymer Clay to the rescue as it was moldable and yet stiff enough to make an accurate puzzle piece, also the yellow clay was a PERFECT color match. Smoosh it down, smooth it out, and then bake for twenty minutes, and voila, a perfect replacement puzzle piece, and a "Good job, Mama," from Isaac - very sweet!


Of course thanks to the internet one can virtual travel just about anywhere in the world, and we certainly have virtual field trips to help fill in our little guy's base of common knowledge. 

However,...virtual travel will only take you so far,...and woo-hoo our little guy has come so far in his developmental development our base of new experiences is constantly being broadened. 

Christmas Pageant, anyone?


First, please note that donkey is POSING with our little guy,...so hilarious! It was a great introduction to the over-the-top Christmas production put on by a local church, which we never thought we'd be able to share with our little guy,...but he was all in for the adventure!!!!


Hello,...live lamb!


Okay the sensory was a little overwhelming, but I.I. still LOVED the worship atmosphere and the music and strobe lights,...and he could not take his eyes off the angels singing on stage,...

Experiences, experiences, experiences,...our little guy doesn't just want to read about stuff, he wants to get in on the action,...like the animal encounters at the local zoo's special needs class. 

Just have to say, real live armadillos are ADORABLE,...or at least the three banded ones are,...we all fell in love with this little guy.



So touching real life animals are one thing,...but new sensory experiences are quite another. Check out that little face,...it's courage in the making. 


Shall I touch this stuff?


Bravery in action,...therapy works, folks!
Also these water beads weren't sticky,...and they bounced, which I.I. thought was too cool!


If one is going to raise an explorer then one needs to willing to brave torrential downpours! That Saturday afternoon at the zoo was WET, but also too cool. Seriously, how many times do you have a chance to explore a zoo in the rain? Nearly empty zoo at that,...no one was there but our class, the zoo keepers, and the animals, of course,...nice and cozy in their habitats, while we were slightly damp by the end of the afternoon, but still,...the memories!!!



Thankfully you don't have to endure downpours to make memories. Therapy visits at the Children's Hospital are memorable: one, all the decor and especially the whimsical trees are gorgeous, and two, the most important point, from an eight year old's stand point,...the chicken tenders and fries, ROCK,...thanks cafeteria people for such a yummy lunch!


Does it seem like we've been busy since we started homeschooling? It's a little mind boggling, and yet we are so utterly grateful for all the activities available for our little guy. Our local library in particular has been so inclusive. And yeah, it matters for there are degrees of inclusiveness, but at our local libraries STEAM classes our little guy is just one of the gang learning about science, technology, engineering, art and math. 

Gum Drop engineering, anyone? 


On the math front our little guy is still blowing our minds! 

Like yesterday as we were near the end of our school day. What counts as an afternoon treat, no pun intended? Video games? Playing outside? Legos? Or using a calculator to check your already perfectly correct math worksheets,...because 27 + 4 = 31,...EVERY SINGLE TIME,...our little guy can't get over it. We can't get over how much FUN math is for him, but of course,...math is fun,...we certainly like it, but our little guy was totally thrilled when we handed over the calculator. "Good work day, Buddy,...have fun!" 

So are we really and truly going to Norway? 

Hey, it's not off the table,...nothing is for our little guy,...we believe as he believes if you're going to dream...DREAM BIG!



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

Monday, December 10, 2018

He Knows


Ever faced a difficult conversation?

Life's tough at times, and NOBODY gets out of life. High or low everyone, sooner or later is going to face - challenges.

How do you face those challenges is the real question. For us, in regard to Apraxia and Autism we've learned it is best to be utterly delighted with what our little guy CAN do, then devastated over what he can't do, yet.

Ah yet,...the most delightful little word in the world,...so full of promise!

We're also so grateful that when challenges are properly weighed, there are more things our little guy can do,...then can't.

Speech is still a biggie.

Communication challenges are not a joke. It takes serious therapy and concentrated effort to get motor processing processes processing. Apraxia, you must understand is a motor processing disorder. It's also very rare among the general population, but not quite so rare among individuals on the spectrum. Apraxia, simply put, is the inability to be able to say whatever you want to say when you want to say it.

Imagine how frustrating,...one day you can say a certain word or phrase,...the next day, or even sometimes the next moment,...you can't.

Not that our little guy let's Apraxia slow him down,...much. No one is ever in doubt when he puts forth effort to communicate,...in his own matchless style. Trust me the only  person on the planet not concerned with his Apraxia diagnosis,.. is our son. To him, if there is a communication disconnect,...it is not coming from his end,...and he'll work with you, in a very there-there manner,...until YOU understand.

But you know we're never had the Apraxia conversation. It hasn't seemed necessary,...as stated our little guy could seemingly care less,...as in one way or the other he gets his message across. It's a unique form of conversation,...quite brilliant if one thinks of it, as our son uses whatever means he can to communicate,...be it script, sign language, repetition, prompting us, or even attempts at telepathy when he was very little and would put his forehead to ours as if to seep his thoughts through. Sign language has helped greatly, and of course the past six years of weekly speech therapy.

Six years?

Yep, every week with only a few weeks off for holidays and such, but even then we're working on speech at home.

Last week was the first time our little guy questioned his speech appointment, and it wasn't so much the appointment, but exactly what did his speech pathologist do.

"She helps you speak easier," I answered,...and then I asked the question, I had never asked, "Is it hard for you to speak,...or easy."

That little head tip to the side for a moment, the little brow furrowed, and then he looked up, and said, "Hard."

Poignant moment for like two seconds, as I inwardly gasped, "He knows!"because our little guy totally shrugged it off as non-relevant. It's hard for him to speak, so what, he also has hazel eyes, both are a part of him, and as I.I. would say, "Next."

Perhaps it is Autism that gives our little guy such self-acceptance,...or perhaps, more likely it's his faith.

Oh yes,...eight year olds have faith,...amazing faith.

He knows,...he is loved.
He knows,...he is accepted.
He knows,...God doesn't make mistakes.
He knows,...God helps him with his challenges.
He knows,...he is awesome,...and guess what our little guy thinks,...YOU are awesome, too.

Trust me for someone with a speech disability our little guy is a GREAT communicator. I certainly look upon the challenges in my life with a different perspective. Life's messy, no one gets out of it without challenges,...some obvious, some not so obvious,...and those challenges and how we face them, and help others face theirs is the real question.

Our little guy knows that God will never leave nor forsake him,...he also somehow knows with his amazing little faith that 2 Corinthians 12:9 - holds true, today, tomorrow, and forever more.

“My grace is sufficient for you,for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 


Friday, December 7, 2018

Of Elephants, and Dinos, and Data Collection, and Fun,...

Wow,...can you believe it's already December 2018?

Our little guy has been super busy,...I.I. is a man of action, and no doubt about that! How about a shout out to our local zoo for hosting special needs classes! Thank you to all who support special need causes,...not just Autism and Apraxia, but everyone needs a helping hand, especially special children with special challenges!


Okay,...how cool could it be to get a back stage peek at the zoo, and learn about the two kinds of elephants there are in the world. Did you know, Asian elephants have four toes on their hind feet, and African elephants only have three? Also African elephants ears are shaped exactly like Africa! Cool! It was a fun morning,....very cold,...brrrrrr,....but very education and fun!

I think,...I've mentioned Isaac likes math,...haven't I? 

How much?

Ah,...like let's calculate every single second of the day,...or let's calculate the seconds of second it takes to calculate every second in the day. Seriously,...we are counting, skip counting, and basically dancing our way through the wonderful world of mathematics. Isn't nice that Mama likes math too, other wise,...all this constant calculating might be a challenge,...but for us it's so cool to watch the joy of discovery.

 Hello,...47 + 4 = 51 EVERY SINGLE TIME - our little guy can't get over it!



Of course our little guy is never going to turn down some park time. 


Or science experiments.

Gravity and air pressure exploration, anyone?


P.E. takes place in our home gym,...okay it's not a gym, it's a big mat and yoga mats with some cool weighted balls, resistance bands, and some neat sensory balls. Basically we're working on core exercises, coordination, and crossing the midline exercises,...and the fun of being social.
Trust me,...lots of giggles,...while walks and hikes, and hitting the park take care of our aerobic activity,...also we're not neglecting team sports. 

Basketball?

Seriously? 

I know,...last year was a REAL challenge,...and not exactly the best experience, but we've got some really precious men for coaches this year,...who are not only working with our little guy, but have the philosophy, "We don't care if we win a single game this year,...we're here for the kids and for the LORD!" - 

Our little guy is loving it! 

Check out this pix,...some serious social action, Papa reported it went like this, "Hi, I, Isaac,...what's you name?" Sniff,...sniff,...ain't it great? So much progress!!!


Progress,...yes,...but challenges still exist. 
Hello,...let's stay rooted in reality,...and sensory issues are not a myth. 


However our little guy is such a champ,...to try new stuff. 

Shall we dissolve a dinosaur egg?
Thank you local library's STEAM class for such a great scientific experience!


Let's get real,...our little guy didn't touch the ooey,...gooey,...eggy stuff,
Mama did,
yet he was still tickled with the brand new baby dinosaur,
once Mama got it cleaned off!
It's a process,...one step at a time,...


More process,...shall we color in the lines?

Apraxia affects our little guy's fine motor hand activity, 
only then it's called something else,...it's not major, but it does make activities like coloring neatly and handwriting a challenge. No other way to get around this one, but practice,...practice,...practice,. and our little guy does give us his best effort,...and one can't ask any more than that. 

Note: in this pix I.I. is using crayons, and we do try to work with crayons for OT, but for sheer ART, we've found that colored pencils give him more control,...also erasing ability,...although you can erase crayons. Never knew that until this fall!



Ah,...mmmm,...I did mention our little guy has fallen in love with math,...haven't I?

How about a little geometry?


Or bar graphs. 

Funny,....funny,...funny story about bar graphs. 
Okay,...you're shopping with your child,...and I.I. is like any other eight year old,...shopping can get a little old,...and sometimes parents when they are very busy trying to get a shopping task completed can resort to promises. Don't giggle,...if you are a parent, YOU'VE done it too. 
What's your bribe?
Ice cream?
Toy?
Televison or video games when you get home? 
One very busy afternoon last week,...I was promising bar graphs!
Yes, you read correctly.
"Let Mama finish,...I.I. and we'll do bar graphs when we get home."
Yes, I am typing this with a straight face,...can't make this stuff up.

I did mention,...our little guy has fallen in love with math,...didn't I?

Shall we collect some data?



Can't make a bar graph without data. 



Who knew data could be so delicious?

Or this data collection was a two-for-one,...
exploring water surface tension and counting how many drops of water will cover each coin. 
Our data was: Q = 30, D = 15, N = 20, P = 24
Totally fun!


The reality of life is that little mathematicians need other skills beside calculating. 
How about some literature?
This week Isaac and I finished Charlotte's Web,...and this is a HUGE deal!
Please,...never,...never,...NEVER give up on our kids,
reading and listening have been such challenges for our little guy. 
YEARS,...yes you read correctly,...YEARS Isaac wouldn't touch a book,
and then when he did it was to aimlessly turn the pages,
that stage took more YEARS!!!
Only in the past year has I.I. been opened to reading picture books together,
so Mama taking up a chapter book was a rather large leap of faith,
but what to you know,...it was a great experience,
cuddled together,...discovering the joy of a story read,...together. 
We're still working on the book report,
more data to collect!!!
Oh dear,...we glossed over the author and characters,...Wilbur and Charlotte,
let's get to the important stuff!
Did you know Charlotte's Web has 22 chapters?
Our paper back version has 184 pages,
and the story is exactly 66 years old as it was published in 1952.
Also don't think I.I. didn't notice the Roman Numerals on the chapter,
and was that ever an impromptu lesson in the wonders of mathematics
for the year MMXVIII!


I did mention our little guy has fallen in love with mathematics,...haven't I?


Side note on Charlotte's Web,...how much did our little guy actually comprehend?
I mean he listened nicely,...but communication is a real challenge for him.
Again,...never,...ever,...EVER give up on our children.
This morning,...we watched the animated version of Charlotte's Web,
a post-reading treat.
Did you know those movie producers left out parts of Charlotte's Web!!!
And added others.
"It's called taking artistic license," I tried to explain,
but I.I wasn't having it, "Not right,...Wilbur out of pen,...no Henry violin break." 
Oh yes,...I think it's safe to say our little guy comprehended every single word!
Woohoo!


How about a shout out to the Autism Society who sponsored a sensory free performance 
of Peter Pan at our local Children's Theater.
FREE,...I might add.
Priced theater tickets lately?
Especially when you are homeschooling and have to balance the educational budget between curriculum and cultural experiences. 
If you support charities for special needs individuals and wonder if YOUR contribution
ever makes a difference,...it does.
Families like ours,...are grateful,...THANK YOU!


Theater was another new experience for our little guy. 
Wow! What a great experience.
If you've ever wondered if someone can giggle for an hour and half,
I can report that our little guy can,
except for when he was exclaiming, "Watch out, Peter!" 

Definitely there will be more theater in our lives,
we both saw the poster that proclaimed the Children's Theater is putting on 
CHARLOTTE'S WEB this spring!!!
Yep,...I.I. gave me a high five!

 Oh,...by the way it's December,...isn't it.
It's been a whirl this past few weeks,
so grateful for so many opportunities for our little guy. 

How about riding in a Christmas parade?



Another first. 

Thanks to our local Miracle League for sponsoring such a great float.

Friends, fireworks,...tossing out candy to kids,...what's not to love? 

Our little guy experiences the world in a different way,
and he makes sure WE do, too,...thus we are able to say,
"Thank you LORD,...thank you for the blessing of our little guy,
he brings so much life and light and joy into our lives."

God bless!











Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Autism Tales: He Didn't Eat The Pie And I Didn't Cry

Note: time pressed Mama, here, so don't be surprised if you see this post on my other blog as well.
Sharing the love,...and our Thanksgiving pie tale! 

Let us begin!


Pie making class, anyone?

Free Thanksgiving fun courtesy our local library. You bet we were in on that Family Pie Making class even though our little guy has not eaten a piece of pie in his life!

Okay so our youngest is only eight, but in the past eight years our little guy has not eaten holiday pie, or cake, and you can forget about Christmas cookies! Eh, eh,...it ain't happening,...too many sensory issues to confront.

Donuts are our little guy's delight. Plain, of course, let's get real,...jelly filled donuts are too weird,jelly goes on toast, NOT inside donuts, and frosted donuts tick off every sensory issue, too sweet, too sticky and gooey, and too illogical. Hello, frosting and sprinkles are for birthday cake photo props, as our little guy has never eaten birthday cake, either. Oh he tries, our little guy is the bravest kid in the world,...he will try to bring that laden fork to mouth,...but he just can't, yet, sensory, sensory, sensory road blocks are just not overcomeable at the moment.  

Don't giggle, and don't even dare to sneer,...YOU have sensory issues, too. Think of that one food,...you jussssst can't bring yourself to eat,...and then magnify that feeling by a factor of 1000,...and you're kinda close to how hard sensory issues are for those on the Autism Spectrum.

Six years ago when we were dropped into the Rabbit Hole, think Alice and Wonderland,of Apraxia and Autism,...holidays were already beginning to be confusing. Hello, it's one thing to have a picky eater on your hands, but when any kid shuns Christmas cookies, hot chocolate,...pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and any type CANDY,...something is up. Or down,...like our spirits.

Thanksgiving is so traditional. It's all about family and sharing a traditional meal, but our little guy couldn't speak and seemly lived in his own universe where traditions and holidays, and family didn't matter. We were just waking up to the fact our little guy experiences the world in a different way and he makes sure YOU do, too. That includes holidays.

Yeah,..it was a huge,...whoa factor to realize our holidays were never going to be the same. Sob city. You bet I bawled my eyes out,...wouldn't you? But tears dry, sniffles ease up, and adults, adult, which is soooo much easier to do with faith in the LORD, because God doesn't make mistakes. Would we rather our child not have challenges, ah yeah,...of course, but as people of faith we trust the LORD's direction even when it takes us down very untraditional type roads.

It also helps to put holidays in the proper perspective.

Perhaps you already know the word: holiday is derived from Old English: Holy Day,...a day set aside for devotion,...like Thanksgiving. Hello, but who are we giving all that thanks to? Christmas,...celebrating the birth of Christ, Easter is not about the Easter Bunny, about the death and resurrection of our Lord, Christ Jesus,...

Therapy helps, too.

Happily I can say our little guy got over his turkey and dressing aversion,..only took about five years. Not even Autism could conquer my mother-in-laws fabulous chicken and dressing,which our little guy consumes with surgical precision. Trust me, we've rarely ever had to wipe our little guy's mouth,...smears do not happen in his world! There is one, and only one cake in the world our little guy will eat, again with surgical precision, and we happily procure that sensory-proof carrot cake from a local barbecue joint. Hold the cranberry sauce, and any and all pies,...but Thanksgiving is not about the food,...it's about family and friends, and unconditional love,...not ours, but the LORD's.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16


But back to that pie making class.

Why in the world would I take my child with sensory issues to a class that is guaranteed confront one with sensory shuddering gooeyness?

The answer is so simple: "It's not about the pie."

The entire evening was about Thanksgiving,...spending time with family and friends. New experiences are broadening and our little guy learned you can have fun making something for others.

Look at that little champ! Please notice the spotless table,...not a smudge. Wish the giggles could translate upon a page - his and mine. We had fun following that recipe, with precision and dispatch. Team Isaac and Mommy finished first!

"We won!" Isaac cried with fist bumps and high fives, and I didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't a contest.

Actually our little guy was a right, as always,...amazing how this kid always seems to nail the most important things. The pie, wasn't the most important, spending time with mommy and his library friends, was. Take that Autism, we won!

Seeing that our local library doesn't have a bank of ovens we had to bring our prepared pie filling home to cook,...this morning. Thank you to our librarians who were thoughtful enough to provide already baked pumpkin pie and whipped cream for us to feast upon last night. Of course our little guy didn't eat the library's pumpkin pie, although he did try a taste, "Mmmmm that's delicious," said Isaac, which is very polite code, "I am not eating that, thank you very much."

No doubt the second our little guy wakes up,...you bet I write as much as I can in the mornings while he snoozes, he'll want to put our class pie into the oven. Science and all, the heat from inside the stove will cause evaporation and chemical reaction from the starch and protein molecules,...thus creating,...voila a pumpkin pie! Cool!


Cheesy photo opp pose with that pie filling held not too close,...but it was a great evening, we left happy and proud with new memories and new traditions,...and of course pumpkin pie!

The gift of Autism is that it break down life into its most elemental elements:

I love you.
You love me.
What else is really important?

From our family to yours Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless!


Friday, November 9, 2018

Shall We Count?

Can it possibly be that three years ago our little guy was barely verbal? 

Hello, those ISAAC tee shirts aren't a fashion statement. The trend began in preschool because our little guy could recite the entire Alphabet frontwards and backwards and EVERY phonetic sound,...but couldn't say his name!

Note to those mathematically interested: some free math worksheets can be found at the end of this post 


Now so much verbal progress has been made we can get picky about pronunciation in speech therapy.

"You love Ls," Isaac said to Miss Ferne, his speech pathologist, two weeks ago when the L worksheet came out once, again while Mama was all smiles trying not to gleefully giggle about,...the apt observation,...the inflective tone, which is totally lost in translation,...but I.I. can be spot on hilarious, and the expressive advancement our little guy has made! Take that Apraxia! Our friendly little guy wants to communicate with others,...and it's a HUGE climb to have reached the level of now working on the social structure of speech. 

Have you considered the social structure of speech, lately? So intuitive, we rarely give it a thought in our day-to-day lives, but it is an elusive skill for those on the spectrum. Our little guy experiences the world in a different way,...and he makes sure YOU do, too. 

Prime example,...take our post title: Shall We Count? Have you counted to a thousand, lately? Ah, we have, and there are the delights of skip counting,...and not just the easy fives and tens and twos. Week before last after our school work was completed we hit a local park for some fresh air and fun. There was a former classmate of Isaac's at the park. "He's ISAAC!" said the little boy, excited with the meet up, and Isaac was delighted, too, although he couldn't tell me the little boy's name, "He's him!" - was the best I got, but I.I. was only too happy to have a game of tag,...treating it like a chess match,...and it was happy giggles galore,...until social talk took over on the climbing equipment. 

Our little guy is all about sharing fun. Fun to I.I. is counting, and I could hear the unison, "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty,..." -- for a while, but then Isaac came to me,...distressed, "He (pointing to his friend) count ten, yes, but not fifteen. Why?" 

Social stuff with communication disconnects, sigh. How to you explain to your child, not everyone is comfortable counting by fifteens? The puzzle of Autism,...it's not worth stressing over,...sometimes what is,...is,...like the fact not everyone in the universe is as enamored with math as our little guy. Thankfully most people like science! Science is cool!

Our local National Weather Service Center had an open house a few weekends ago,...and you bet your bell bottoms we made the hike to check out all the cool weather science. 

Water Saturation demonstration, anyone? 


Or how about THE coolest garage just for blowing up weather balloons!!!! Oh yeah,...that was fun, and the meteorologist on hand was great about chatting with our little guy,...who absolutely loves to try out his social skills, and is not adverse to being the center of attention. We had arrived at the garage first,...and started our conversation with the weather balloon guy,...but what we didn't know was that a CROWD had assembled behind us,...listening to our instructive conversation,...and when I say CROWD,...I mean crowd,...that's about 100 people I.I. is grinning at,...'cause our little guy is NOT shy!


Sometimes you don't need to have a lot of conversation to have fun. Our children on the spectrum are experts on speaking in the language of love and acceptance for one and all. Isaac and his princess pal had a blast at a local fall fair. 


Sometimes social skills are more about action than perfection in conversation. Paying kindness forward by helping serve our community at a food bank,...and counting a couple hundred lots of shoes for the needy in the bargain. YOU bet our little guy was all over this task,...he can count to a thousand, easy. Also please notice who is wearing the leader bandana!


You know,...if you've only been verbal for about three years, and Apraxia still throws monkey wrenches in your verbal motor planning, and Autism likes to throw its own little twist on the confusion of  'social norms' - I think we can cut our little guy some slack on the social structure of his speech. Hello, he's genuinely interest in others and wants to communicate,...that's the most important criteria. We can apply therapy to everything,...but those factors,...so that's a very positive prognosis for the future. 


So how is homeschooling going? WOW,...another great report to report,...our little guy is really making tremendous progress in all his subjects,...although math is the stand out. Mathematics utterly fascinates our little guy,...he has 100s charts, additions/subtractions charts, and multiplication charts in the back seat of the car,...ready to drill Mama, or just peruse for fun. 

Fun?

Gotta be,...according to the giggles. 

Of course, Mama's practical,...she's put the skids on mathematics to run tests to make sure her little guy isn't just an algorithm wonk. Math is more than functions, it's important our little guy understands the principals of number theory and why mathematics works,...and yes that's what is taught to our children in the 21st century. It is so much more than just timed worksheets, and memorizing the multiplication table,..and with communication disconnects that means lots of practice, and lots of testing. 

Have you priced educational material lately? Oh my goodness,...it's all sky high,...and we needed more worksheet options as I.I. has already blown through an entire 2nd Grade math unit. Mama's been busy on the computer,...and I've got some stuff to share if anyone is interested. 

NOTE: wonk, wonk wonk,...Blogger won't let me upload a pdf of these files,...or else I can't figure out how to do it. These are jpeg images which you could download and just print a copy to use as is, or laminate for reuse. 

I've also offered these mathematic worksheets on my other blog which is a Wordpress blog and pdf was super simple,...sorry Blogger, but is is. 

Katherine Johnston is me,...I write a weekly devotional/type blog post,...and books, or rather I've written one inspirational young adult novel set in the 1970's, and am editing my next book - a collection of food fiction short stories, and working on the second book in the Becoming Portia series. Hello, it's really hard for special needs parents to hold down a regular-type job,...so this Mama is doing what she can to jump start a writing career,...which is a hard slog when you are so time pressed and a nobody in the literary world, but hey we've all got to start somewhere. Anyway,...here is the link to post that has these pdfs if you are interested,...it's free,...one homeschool Mama trying to help other educators,...or math wonks. Many your little one likes math, too! 




Using this one for assessing numeral mastery. 


I.I. likes to plug in the numbers in these worksheets and he's a pal about not just plugging in the easy numbers. 



These number cards are 1-200,...I did mention I.I. likes to count. Trust me,...this was a labor love, it's not quick to type in all those numbers into an application, but it's done,...and I am only too happy to share with others,...to save them the time. These are great for choosing random number, memory games, and a thousand other applications! I've laminated ours. 


Can't practice number families enough!


Math Bonds worksheet can be use in so many applications: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division,...just plug in the numbers and go!


Hands down this has been I.I. favorite,...he's LOVES a 100s chart. 


More worksheets,...I am not kidding,...our little guy can't get enough!


The beauty of these blank worksheets is that you can plug in any number that your child is struggling with or just needs a little reinforcement. Why waste your time on problems your child already knows? Target what needs targeting,...and make it fun. 


United States of Awesome,...reads I.I.'s tee-shirt,...and he wasn't happy with it. 'It's the United States of AMERICA!" -- also it didn't have ISAAC on it. Oops, Mama gotta get that stencil made, but it's been a busy few weeks with getting a stride in homeschool and generating educational materials. 


Looking forward to more math,...and more counting with our little guy. He's come such a long way verbally I'll never get tired of hearing his voice speak whether it be negotiating for 'computer time' or counting to a thousand,...for the thousandth time in a day!

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