At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

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!



Saturday, November 18, 2017

When You Are Seven and Superman

Posts for this year have been few and far between,...but when you are seven years old and Superman...you're a very, very busy little guy!

Lots to do! 
Like a Bounce House party organized by our church's Special Needs ministry.


Super fun!
Thank you to all the volunteers who gave of their time to make a special event for our super children. 


Paying it back,...volunteer work,...offering service to hungry folks!


And on Superman's agenda there is school,...and field trips!


Canoeing anyone?


Charming the goats and donkey!


Our little guy also charmed the socks off all of the Miracle League buddies!
It was a great season!
But,...new ventures are opening for our little guy.
How about some Upward Basketball?


Basketball is a very, very, VERY big deal,
team sport,
cooperation,
sharing,
more cooperation,
lots and lots of social skills.
Practices have been going well,...our little guy has a nice little shot.
Communication is a challenge,
but sign language visuals have been invaluable. 
It's hard to believe there were those, who argued against us using sign language
with our child,...but signing has been such a blessing,
and without the visual cues,...our little guy would not have made as much verbal progress.

Speaking of progress,
Isaac has no problem whatsoever taking the leadership role in any project,
which might be interesting during the actual basketball games,
if Isaac decides to 'correct' the referee. 

Please note in this pix,...WHO has the lumber list!



But like any 'true' leader,...our little guy only wants to serve others. 
He's a true superhero!


This was the first year Isaac showed any interest in dressing up for the 31st. 
Notice the curl,...it was a detail,...I missed, but our little guy didn't. 
"Hair, Mommy!" said I.I. showing me a picture of Superman,
for let us be precise!


For us it's been a crazy busy fall,...
and this winter doesn't seem like our schedule is going to let up. 
Therapy,...therapy,...therapy,
and extra-activites,
sports,
service,
social,
and 
then ACADEMICS.

Oh yes,...playtime is over,
our little guy has made enough progress it is time to get serious
about educational standards. 
Let's make no mistake,...this will be a Mount Everest, 
educational standards are solidly centered around 
the ability to communicate. 
But,...then this challenge shouldn't be too
difficult,
as we're dealing with Superman,
he can leap tall buildings,
and speed faster than a speeding bullet,
so 
Reading,
Writing,
and 
Arithmetic
should be a piece of cake
We'll see,
and no doubt,
more about academics in future posts,
Mama could get on a soapbox,
but not this post,
we'll only too grateful to have this challenge before us.  



Nothing,...absolutely nothing is off the table for our little guy.
College?
You bet!
We're going to take it one academic standard at a time,
and have FUN while we're at it.
When you're seven,
and Superman,
it's impossible not to have a blast!

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





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Life's Simple: Lose Teeth, Get Legos

September where did you go?
The month was a blur, not a single blog post, 
because we were too busy doing STUFF for Mama to actually sit down at the computer,...

For starters: Adaptative P.E. 


How cool is getting to go swimming while everyone else at school is in school?



Our little guy is going to be a GREAT swimmer,...
he worked really hard and made significant progress,
plus had fun,
but fun and I.I. are always a given!



Big Brother Teddy had a birthday in September, 
and Isaac went ALL OUT for the celebration!



Birthday hiking, anyone?


Such beautiful weather that day,...
it was difficult to believe hurricanes were roaring through our nation,...
only a couple states away.
Even as we celebrated,...we didn't forget to remember those in the path.


Teaching empathy for others,
Big Brother Teddy is instrumental in helping Isaac learn about loving others. 


It doesn't hurt that I.I. is a great side-kick,
oh the giggles during this "cheesy' pix!


More giggles for Miracle League baseball!
Of course, the only way to play baseball is with a firefighter hat!!!
Those firefighters who brought their engine and passed out hats and stickers,
were FANTASTIC with our kids!!!


Duck, Duck, Goose,
has been the real winner for baseball this season,
Isaac has totally gotten into this popular outfield game,
and plays sooooooo appropriately.
Mama's gotten misty eyed a couple nights.
It might seem like a small thing,
but it's HUGE that our little guy had take turns and wait patiently,
even as he cheers everyone else on!!!!
But, of course, Isaac is still Isaac,
when he's done taking pix,
he's DONE!
But then again,
at least this season Isaac will patiently pose for a group pix,
that's more progress. 



Isaac with a sticky lollipop?


Nah,...that didn't take, but our little guy is more open to try more ventures. 


Like his FIRST haircut,...at the local barbershop!!!!
After some of the rodeo-like haircuts with Toddler-Isaac,
which left everyone in tears,
we NEVER knew if this day would come,
but it did,
no tears,
just giggles!


Also artistic Isaac is emerging.
Okay,
maybe this isn't his favorite activity,
sensory stuff is still a challenge,
but again, Isaac is willing to try,
and really enjoyed our painting session!


Not bad for his first try!
Bright, colorful, full of energy painting,
very much like our little guy. 


Lots of first for our little guy this fall.
How about,...your FIRST football game?
Popcorn and diet coke?
Isaac was willing to be a fan. 



Showing off the gap where he lost a tooth, while enjoying the game. 



We chose a small school venue
to keep the sensory load in check,
and Isaac enjoyed cheering for the football teams for a whole quarter,
but I.I. is a man of action. 

"Football, anyone?" 
or rather Isaac asked, "I go play kids?"
In such a small venue, it was easy to say, "Yes." 
Pretty brave for a little guy to go make new friends,
but then Isaac's brand of charm is very charming,
as he is totally into encouraging others.
"You did great, catching ball!" 


But what about that tooth,...Isaac lost at school?
That's simple:
teeth,...of course,...go under one's pillow,
and then,
the teeth disappear,
and poof,
LEGOS
appear. 


"For me?" asks Isaac,...so thrilled the tooth deal, works. 

Is life that simple?
For Isaac it is,
and perhaps for us as well.


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