Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back from Gulf Shores

Long post coming up! Get on your reading glasses! : )

Last moments at the pool on the last day. This pool was in the shade in the afternoons.

We had a truly wonderful time on vacation.  Hayden was miraculously on his best behavior, despite all the change.  It wasn't until we got home that he had some meltdowns, but things are calming down now.  He went to daycare today with no fussing-- he was probably glad for a chance to play with kids again. 

On the trip down to Gulf Shores Hayden wasn't feeling very well.  He had a cold, and didn't pee all day. Around 5 pm at the rest stop (thankfully, not in the car), he peed about three diapers worth down his legs and into his shoes.  Later, I was making him laugh after he drank some chocolate milk, and he puked a bit on his favorite blankie.  Other than that he watched shows on his portable DVD player, got a couple of new Dollar Store toys, and slept.  He did well on the way back home to Camby, too, until the last half hour. He decided his seat belt was hurting his waist and that he needed to tear it off at all costs.  I was craving ice cream but we didn't want to stop with Hayden screaming, so after we got home Jason was wonderful and ran out to get me a sundae.

We stayed in a nice condo called Sugar Beach. It was right on the beach. The first morning Hayden woke up at 5:40 am, so we all walked down to the beach to look for shells.  It was Hayden's first time seeing the ocean or the beach. (He used to call Jason's salt water fish tank the ocean.)  When he first saw all the sand he said "snow!" Then he kept saying he saw a whale, and "it's so loud!" He was scared to get his feet wet at first, but then was having fun searching for shells and crabs with Daddy. Later that day he swam in the water and had a great time. 

The water was quite clean when we first got there.  On Tuesday a huge storm brought all the oil in to shore from the ocean, and we didn't go out to the beach any more after that.  But the four pools were warm and Hayden and I spent most of our time there swimming with the other cousins. There was a nice spot in the shade to put our stuff and get out of the sun.  Jason spent a good deal of time each morning watching the World Cup upstairs in the room. : ) But it was his vacation, too, and he loves soccer, and Hayden and I loved the pool, so it worked out.  At lunch time we went up to eat, then Hayden and I napped while Jason watched more soccer or played board games with the cousins. 

We ate some dinners with the family, once out and two as pitch-ins and cookouts, which was fun.  It was so good to see far away family with whom I talk so much on Facebook but never see!  The week really allowed me to rejuvenate and take a break from being a mom and researching autism. Mostly.  : )  It was also great to get advice from the other moms about Hayden. I got a lot of great ideas, some of which we're already trying out.

On Tuesday we went to the Naval Air Museum, where they have a huge display of helicopters and airplanes. Hayden really enjoyed it (and it was free!). Then we went outside to watch the Blue Angels practice. Hayden didn't really like this at all, since it was super loud. I warned him ahead of time, but for him regular speech is loud, so the jets taking off and flying 100 yards from where we were standing was just too much for his senses to bear. "Go dis way! Dis way!" as he tried to get me to walk back. We went back into the museum after about 15 minutes, probably halfway through their practice.  Grandma Ann got him a blue angel toy plane, and he said it was "loud" and "scared," and "fast".

One thing that definitely came about from the trip is Hayden's new love of Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear.  He already liked Buzz because he likes astronauts, but he wouldn't sit and watch the show.  On Tuesday afternoon, we took all the little cousins to see Toy Story 3. Hayden made it about an hour, but again it was loud and he held his ears and asked to go pretty much the whole time.  When the monkey came on screaming and screeching Hayden yelled "Let's get outta here!"  So we left early. But back at the pool, Max (age 4) had many Buzz and Woody toys, and he and Hayden fought for who got Buzz.  I think the combo of seeing the movie in the theater (his second movie in the theater ever, first being Wall-e), and the fact that Max liked Buzz so much and Max was a cool new friend, made Hayden like Buzz and Toy Story. We watched Toy Story 2 for most of the car trip home, and non-stop the past two days. He now gets his robot toys out and one says to the other: "we meet for last time. Not today, Zerk!"  He doesn't really understand the line but he likes the robots to talk to each other.



Improvements in Hayden's speech lately have included asking, "what is it?" and pointing to an object to find out its name or what it does.  If you tell him the name of something he'll often ask "what is it?" again, so I explain what the object does.  He's been asking this about Toy Story, as well, and he's never asked about things on a show before.  Another thing is that he's using more helper words, like "it" and "a," and asking friends to play or saying "watch this."  At the pool he kept announcing in a loud voice, "hey guys, it's me Hayden! It's hot out here!" when he arrived at the pool. He would go up to kids we didn't know and ask them to play (from about 3 inches from their face).

Hayden has also decided, after vacation, that naps are now over-rated. He took naps on the trip but has not taken any since we got back. He keeps getting out of bed at night, as well, so something needs to be addressed there.  My brother Bill is staying with us all next week from Washington, D.C., but after that I may move the queen bed into Hayden's room and take apart the toddler bed.  He hasn't slept in it all week and I think he's just too big for it. Maybe if it's in his room he'll stay in the bed.  I also started the Epsom salts last night. We're going to try it for a few weeks and see if it helps calm him at nights. He's really been sensory seeking and running into me lately, and it's getting out of control.

Yesterday Hayden went to the dentist for the first time. She specializes in special needs kids, and said all the right things.  Things only I would know to say to him (or a special needs teacher) to calm him down. It was great. She had pirate stuff all over the room, and gave him a Buzz Lightyear toothbrush right off the bat. Plus Jason and I were there to hold his hand, encourage, and tell him everything was a robot. : )  His x-rays were clear, with a couple of stains at the back.

Today I called about a new ABA therapy in Greenwood. http://www.appliedbehaviorcenter.org/2009030354/center-based-program.html

From their page:
"Social skills are addressed systematically throughout the program beginning with one-to-one peer interactions, then small groups, later moving to more advanced social skills. At least 30 minutes to an hour a day and snack/lunch times are set up specifically to address social skill development and interaction.
What is the schedule of a Typical Day?
8:30-8:45      Student Arrival/Sensory Time                   12:00-1:00    Lunch/Recess
8:45-9:00      Socialization/Circle Time                           1:00-2:30      Therapy Session
9:00-10:30    Therapy Session                                       2:30-2:45      Snack Time
10:30-10:45  Snack Time                                               2:45-4:15      Therapy Session
10:45-12:00  Therapy Session                                      4:15-4:30      Clean Up/Departure

Each therapy session is comprised of periods of instruction interspersed with reinforcement and necessary sensory breaks. The specific needs of your child, based upon the data and assessment, will be addressed throughout the day. Depending on the child, this can be done within individual, small group, and large group instruction. Children participate with similar peers within both instructional, social, and snack/lunch periods to ensure they are learning appropriate skills and do not acquire undesirable behaviors. Learning never stops within the context of our day.  Each child receives 30 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes for recess. However, recess time is used to work on play, gross motor, fine motor, communication, socialization, and other important and necessary skills."


They are going to find out if our insurance will cover it, which I'm guessing not.  But it's all day therapy and it would be so great for him.  It's the only one I've found that would be close enough to be feasible (most are in Fishers/Carmel). I'm hoping we can somehow make it work for him, because it sounds absolutely wonderful.
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