Does anybody even read this blog? I'm assuming the answer is "no" because we aren't good at posting anything. I guess that's what happens when you live with autism and it consumes you.
I find myself needing to write again about it all, though. J.R. just started 3rd grade. I knew it was going to be a big adjustment, but with the change at his school (his charter school just made a massive change to adopting another charter school's program) and the higher homework load, it has all been about transitioning and adjustment. Overall, he's done well, but yes, we are still adjusting. I think I'm adjusting more than he is.
The bigger issue is the social skills. I knew it was coming, and I was so grateful for the kids who have played with him and have been patient with him. His differences are now being more noticed. He has been excluded, teased, and has been called names -- all within the last week. My momma's heart has been taking it as much as it can.
Last week I noticed a new clinic opening up in the area. Okay, it's an hour away, but this clinic offers two classes for children in a group therapy environment. One of the classes is a Social Skills class! Score! My insurance has said that it should cover the cost. Double Score!! My husband readily agreed that the cost of gas and weekly sessions is worth it! Triple Score!!!
This afternoon, J.R. attended his first session. He met about 6-7 other boys around his age (no girls are in the class- that I saw today anyway), and there were 3-4 therapists/instructors with them. They talked about voice volume in social situations and reviewed appropriate space and eye contact. Yea!
J.R. loves having attention and even better, they offer incentives. Today he left with a Tootsie Roll and a popper (one of those toys you turn inside out and it pops up). He was thrilled. His little brother (we adopted two years ago) and I waited in the waiting area during the hour-long class. J.R. left positive and excited to have something that's just for him.
On another note, I've had a rough couple of nights. I've felt completely inadequate to be his mother. I've lost my temper with him, pounded my brain, and shed a thousand tears trying to figure out how to help him. I realized that my toolbox was empty. I've known about this diagnosis for THREE years, and I couldn't help him!!!
I realized that I needed to do more, to learn more. I also needed to set aside a couple of other things. I've been a cub scout volunteer for three years, and this week, I realized that I can't do that anymore. You see, I haven't been J.R.'s den leader, but I've been a den leader for another group of boys (my church asked me to fulfill that position), and it takes up precious homework/mom-time in the evening with J.R. This year I need to be completely focused on him. I asked to be "released" (or to step down) from this position. Of course, I will continue to volunteer until a replacement leader can be found. That was a very hard thing to do. I've loved the cub scouts, and they always need help.
For my education on these matters I checked out a book from the library. I've been researching more on the internet, and I've almost convinced my husband that we need, yes need, a cat or a dog for the boys. (Personally, a cat seems more realistic for our family). There are several studies about the positive effects pets have with autistic children. We are going to think on it more. . . it would be a HUGE step for me as I'm SO not a pet person -- dander, hair, poop, pet smell -- yuck!
On another note, I found this image on another site, and it made me smile as it comforted me and explained what I was going through: