At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Friday, September 27, 2013

Double AA for Isaac

Autism Speaks 2013 walk for us will be October 5th and we've created a team: 
Double AA for Isaac
Last year we attended the walk and had a great time! 
Thank you to everyone who supports individuals with autism.

Our Isaac has a double diagnosis: Autism with Apraxia, thus our Double AA, which is hugely ironic since our little guy has double AA in his name as well: ISAAC.


Those double A's mean Isaac experiences the world in a unique manner... 


Isaac is fearless,....


Extraordinarily athletic,...not embroidering the facts here,...he's fast!!!


Loving,...


With ALL his little heart,....


Isaac is seemingly undaunted by his challenges,....



Isaac wants to be social,...and is trying his hardest to learn how the very odd game is played,...


Isaac is curiosity personified,...


I did mention, Isaac is fearless,...didn't I?


Isaac doesn't let Apraxia stop him from trying to communicate,....he'll use every resource he has in his little arsenal to get his message across,....


Isaac helps others experience the world in an uniquely different way,...


And boldly leads them to new adventures,...


Isaac is just a little boy in a great big world dealing with challenges that would make most adults quake, but he is unfazed, he's too busy living his happy little life to worry about Autism or Apraxia, they are just words to him,...and already at three years old, Isaac knows:
He as a whole is more than the sum of the parts,...
And that includes his double A's!

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





Friday, September 20, 2013

Cookie Face's Successes,...

 Preschool has been going wonderfully well, but that's not the reason Isaac is munching on cookies at Walmart. He is munching the cookies because Daddy's such a pushover while Mama is shopping for the healthier stuff,..


Signing and saying, "Cookie, cookie, cookie," -- has been a sure-fire success for Isaac, when he is with Daddy and big brothers, and Mama, sometimes, it is really cute, but mostly I'll offer an apple or some grapes,...as it avoids getting Isaac into a cookie coma!!!




Of course these pictures were taken after school and Isaac was a wee bit tired after a busy day of coloring, and cutting, and pasting, and painting,...along with speech therapy and some occupational therapy, and the most important, playtime on the playground!!!

Preschool has been a wonderful resource and we're so thankful Isaac has transitioned so easily and has had so many successes:

1. Nap time: Isaac sleeps - actually sleeps at school - hurray!

2. Breakfast and lunch: - reportedly Isaac eats more breakfast than lunch, but that's about par, but he has been trying new foods and new textures - so another hurray!

3. Social: good eye contact, and such nice good-byes to his teachers.

4. Verbal: thru the roof!!!! The other day, Isaac walked by my office door, and said, "Hi Mama," as if he's been speaking as such for day one!!! Apraxia hasn't let him say it again,...but it was beautiful to hear,...and is an emerging skill....He, also, is appropriately responding to requests by saying, "OK!"

5. Potty: there has been success!!! Only six times and only at school, but who cares, success is success, and a this new skill will eventually be mastered!!!!!

6. Bedtime: getting our late night owl into bed at a more reasonable hour has been easier,...anything before 10:00 o'clock is utterly wonderful, and anything before 12:00 pm is a vast improvement!!

7. Routine: finally getting into one,...which again is an improvement, as before the only thing predictable about our daily routine is that there was nothing predictable about it.


Yep, our little Cookie-face guy is coming along nicely,...

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




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Count With Me,...

Having mastered the alphabet,...upper and lower case,...sign language sign for each letter,...phonics for each letter,...and letter order,...in order, out of order and backwards,...Isaac has turned his attention to the fascinating world of numerals.

Thus we count all day,...up to fourteen, as I think quickly flicking all your fingers twice for fifteen is throwing Isaac off as that sign, in a backward sense, is somewhat similar to bye-bye. Although Isaac is aware numbers climb higher as we have a hundreds chart for him to explore,....

Any bystander would be excused to mistake our home for NASA,...as we 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0,...on a constant basis.

Some of this fascination is perhaps too repetitive for comfort, autism can take hold that way, but all this numerality is actually very social, as Isaac likes to have another participate in his countdowns, and it has been a useful tool for teaching: turn taking, eye contact, inclusion, and it happens to be Mama's very sly weapon whenever we do need to redirect,...so we are hoping for the best as we count along.



Only catch is that when Isaac wants to count, he wants everyone to count with him and Daddy taking a call while we were on an outing was just not acceptable. 


Oh dear, I know he is thinking, "She's got that camera out again!"


Waiting patiently for the call to end is a good choice to make and we did wait so nicely,...



For a time,...hey we're just three years old,...after all,...and it is TIME TO COUNT


Mommy will just have to do,....as Isaac says, "10," my task is "9",  Isaac says, "8",...and then Mommy makes a mistake, although I said, "7" -- apparently I didn't say it right.


Unacceptable!!!


However my little guy has a loving heart,...he climbed into my lap and recited the rest for me: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0,...and the best part,...a great BIG hug and kiss.


Then off to play,...until time for the next countdown!!!!





So for the time being, I am good on this counting business, the alphabet only has 26 letters, how dull can that be,...but with  numerals,...Isaac and I will be able to count into infinity,....or until he finds a new fascination,...perhaps botany,...he likes trees. 

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Explaining Little Joe,...

Trying to explain Isaac and his condition to others is an interesting task,...


When speaking with others, especially those not familiar with autism, a lot gets lost in the translation.


However explaining why we call Isaac, "Little Joe"  is only too easy. 

The nickname crops up when Isaac is especially silly.

It started, when Isaac began watching Veggie Tales, and then started running for his cowboy hat,...since one of the shows has Larry the Cucumber as "Little Joe"  - wearing a cowboy hat, and we love the imitation, because it is imitation and that's good, but also because it is soooooo cute.


Unfortunately while Little Joe's nickname is easy to explain,...the autism is harder, as the symptom aren't obvious, at first. 


But just try to get Little Joe's attention,...when he's not interested,....and learn the meaning of futile.




Or why our little one can speak, but not converse, other than basic needs. 


That's Autism, with a side of Apraxia, but from the same child, we get Little Joe, too. 

Talking to someone this week, I hit upon an epiphany that for us explains our life with autism best. 

I said, "You want to know what it's like to live with autism? It's like living in a Dr. Seuss book, everything is a little backwards, a little strange, a little off, a little wacky, but a lot of  wonderful, and fun too, it's colorful, imaginative, and makes sense in a strange way, and it has an unique beauty that flows like the Dr. Seuss rhymes." 

Driving home later, my thoughts were on our Little Joe,...we worry about his future and what he will or won't be able to do. And I don't have any answers, nor do the doctors, no one knows - that too is Autism, and perhaps the hardest part to explain,...especially to myself. 




However I do know Isaac is a gift. And his life has purpose, and perhaps that purpose is just to be who he is, and that's OK, because our Little Joe is mighty cute,...he's certainly the happiest person I've ever known,...and we love him,....and perhaps that should be explanation enough for anyone!

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












Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kindred Spirits,...

There are nearly 21 years between our oldest son Teddy and Isaac,...but they are best buddies,...


Isaac is always by big brother's side,....



Could be,...because Teddy is soooooo much fun,...


Strong shoulders to ride upon,...



A gentle spirit,...to lean upon,...

                                                        

A guiding hand to teach and direct,....


Or maybe Isaac just knows Teddy is someone who loves him a lot,


Today this post is in honor of Teddy's 25th birthday: it's amazing to see the bond between my oldest and youngest,...

Last year on Teddy's birthday, Isaac said: "Oh-oh" for the very first time: Oh-Oh Post 2012
That was a real break-tru for Isaac's speech therapy and another reason to celebrate such a special day for such a special man who is such a blessing in our lives and especially Isaac's life. 


"How good and pleasant when brothers live together in unity."
 - Psalm 133:1


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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Teach Me To Play,...

Among the puzzling aspect of autism is having to actually teach the art of playing to children. 



There is no shortage of toys in Isaac's life. His toy closet is quite full, it's organized for my sake, and locked for therapy's sake. 

Limited access helps with so many skills: requesting, pointing, shared interest, and regular ol' responsibilities: clean up and put away because everything is important and everything has a place.

From fine motor toys, puzzles, cause and reaction toys, pretend toys, play-sets, and blocks, most of the toys have come from thrift stores. I've had been blessed to find expensive educational toys for under a buck or at least no more than two or three dollars. Bring them home, clean them up, sanitize, and they become a part of our play therapy.



Aside from puzzles, Isaac's favorite toy is the play food, but for free play Isaac truly prefers active activities,...he loves to run and jump and explore,...and that's important play too. 




But social play needs work and we're working or rather playing together,...




For any child play is a powerful learning tool, and I am grateful to have a toy closet full of incentives because Isaac is always motivated when we open that closet door. 

However, like any other therapy: social play is often one step up, two steps back, but that's life and seemingly part of the nature of autism, but we'll keep playing together, and learning and growing, for that too is life.

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





Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being Three,...

It's tough being three years old,...so much to learn,...and so many expectations:

                                            

Sit still.
Share.
Eat nicely.
Eat.
Lay down.
Nap.
Be still.
Sleep.
Wake up.
Wash.
Brush.
Wait nicely.
Wait.
Then there is the potty training stuff,...
"You want me to do what?"

Throw in developmental delays and communication challenges and ordinary stuff takes on a new dimensions,...leaving us both a little bewildered at times....

Apraxia and Autism are perplexing and that is a rock hard reality,...it hurts,...when your little one faces such challenges over the simplest of tasks such as saying, "Hi."

Good thing Isaac has such GREAT big smiles,...they serve him well in proxy for so many things.



No answers for the challenges Isaac faces,...we're just taking each day one step at a time and if we're bewildered,...at least we're bewildered together,...

"Now these three things remain faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love."
- 1 Corinthians 13:13

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