Friday, May 30, 2014

Peer Modeling Visit

Hayden visited Cornerstone today as a peer model. It went very well and he and several other students had some great interactions, played, asked questions, and had fun. Today went much better than our first peer model visit, partially because I learned some things from our first experience, and partially because it was really nice outside and Hayden spent a lot of time on the playground, one of his favorite activities.

At Cornerstone the kids do their "work" (activity programs) to earn a fun reward of their choice (time on the trampoline, iPad, outside, a walk, bubbles, etc.)  Two little boys wanted to "earn" play time with Hayden as their reward today. I thought that was pretty special.

Here's Hayden in a Cornerstone car, which is quite obviously much too small for him (and I told him so) but he wanted to try anyway. Getting in wasn't too bad. Getting back out was tricky. I think he gave several staff members walking by a laugh today at least!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hayden Turns 8 Today!

Happy Birthday to the reason I am who I am today. Your sweet demeanor and persistent focus inspire me to do more. Thank you for coming into my life and making me be a better person. I love you Hayden!  

[Hayden with his Lego Mixels he made for his birthday today, and his new glow-in-the-dark Lego movie shirt.]

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rylie Is Good At Hiding!

In which Rylie demonstrates her prowess at Hide and Seek.  Not everyone can repeatedly hide in a great spot like this!  Being sneaky is a learned skill.

This is all we're hearing at our house right now.

"Mommy count!  Mommy count!  You count and I hide. Ok?  Ok?  Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

"You count and I hide, ok?"
In a minute.

"Ok. You count ok?"
In a minute.

"Mommy count!"
Sigh.  1...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Hayden is a pleasure to have in my class"

From Hayden's First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Blackley, today: 

"Hayden comes into my classroom during Reading and Math on a daily basis. He is such a pleasure to have in my class. My students really enjoy working with him and having him in the classroom. He always volunteers, participates, and positively contributes in both of these classes.  He enjoys working in partners, small groups, and also as a whole group. He has made a lot of friendships in this class and the students look forward to working with him. He socially interacts appropriately with the rest of the class. Hayden very rarely needs redirection, works well independently, and excels in both of these classes without much teacher help."  

{Image is of Hayden helping Rylie put her socks on in the morning, a task he struggled to do for himself two years ago.}

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

You Have to Whisper

When I was neighbors to the Whites, I watched them speak in a whisper to their young children if they misbehaved. It was something I'd never seen before and I was entranced! Rather than yelling at her (typical) child from across her yard, Angela went to him, bent down, and spoke so softly that I could barely hear. Her tone was not angry but calm, kind, and informative. It was amazing to me how respectful this approach was to the child, and how much better it worked than raising one's voice.

When I had children of my own, and one of them turned out to have special needs, it became quite clear that their approach was the only one that worked to calm him. Family members who didn't know this secret and used a stern tone with Hayden were met with rapidly worsening behavior rather than improvement. It was only myself who could calm him, perhaps because I never thought to teach them the secret. Maybe I was never really fully aware of what it was until now. 

Thank you, Angela and Dennis, for unknowingly helping me learn one of the most important lessons in raising a child with Autism:  

You have to whisper.

The linked article below begins:  

"I walked into a fifth-grade classroom and saw a student with autism sprawled out on the floor. The classroom paraprofessional was standing over the boy, warning him, 'Get up now or you won’t get computer time.' The boy began crying and then biting his hand."

Click the image below to read more:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Joe

At first Hayden kept introducing Joe to his friends as "that's not my dad... That's just Joe." 

Joseph  would say, "yep, I'll never replace your dad, but I'll always be your Joe."

This morning on the way to school Hayden said to Joe "I kinda love you a lot."