Parenting a spectrum of girls

Posts tagged ‘child development’

Where did it go?

image

Me & my girls goofing off, pretending to be zombies (K is obsessed with zombies)

I know everyone says this but…seriously, where did the time go?  And why won’t they stop growing up so fast?

I am posting late (and short) tonight because I am preparing for a mom to mom sale.  Finally getting rid of some of the baby clothes (we have SO MUCH to get rid of), but it is a LOT of work if you want to do it right.  Going through all of these clothes is hard, though.  Before I could hardly get rid of anything but now that its been a while since any of them have worn these clothes its a little easier to get rid of most of them.  Still, I remember when they were so tiny.  I wouldn’t miss their current stages (11, 5 and 3) for anything, but I also miss those baby years.  Also until A was 2 I worked full time…like, 9 hours a day plus commute time, 4 days a week (5 days before A was born) and I missed too much.  Financially I needed to work, but I finally couldn’t take my high stress corporate job anymore and moved to more gratifying, meaningful and part time work.  But I mourn for all of those years, all of the things I missed.  I always wanted to be a stay at home mom but caring for your children’s basic needs is most important.

Hind sight is also 20/20.  There were things I noticed different about M at the time like not laughing, babbling or crawling, very repetitive and rigid in routine…but other things I can see now looking back that I couldn’t see then.  The biggest one is the shutting down.  When she was 4 she started to completely shut down, would not move, blink or speak for periods of time when overwhelmed.  It was so scary!  Other times were not as bad but she wouldn’t hear us talking to her or move away from what she was doing and had a vacant expression.  She still does these things and then (or when she is stimming or displaying a lot of scripting or echolallia I know she is in “autism world” and not here with us.  Now when I look back at pictures I see so many from all ages where she has a vacant stare, and I know she was in the autism world then, too.  It makes me sad to realize she wasn’t even present for the moment and I didn’t realize it.  I was totally missing or misreading her cues.

But now I know, and we move on.  I couldn’t always be there then but now I have a flexible part time job working in early childhood where my girls can come to work with me.  And although we won’t get those baby and toddler years back I try hard to appreciate all of the moments and milestones now, because I know when I go through clothes again next year, I want to have fewer regrets.

Advertisements
Video

Oh the places she is going

When your child has special needs, there are…lower expectations.  M’s therapists, teachers and I have not expected that she would do some things as early as her peers, or that she would do other things at all.  I was told by her OT last year that they could not help her any more with her fine motor skills and that she would likely need AT (assistive technology) for writing.  That she may even need a full time aide due to her various issues.  We haven’t expected her to ride a 2 wheel bike, tie her shoes or completely dress herself (buttons, snaps etc) any time soon if at all.  We figured it would be a while yet before she could read, or write anything other than her name (which is difficult to read due to backward & misshapen letters).

We haven’t pushed M the way we do K and A.  Maybe pushed isn’t the right word…we just haven’t asked her to work as hard or as advanced, because we know what A and K are capable of (K was reading by the time she turned 3, A is almost there with some sight words at 3 1/2).  M would not do well at all with pressure or high expectations due to her already overwhelming anxiety and need for sameness.  A and K thrive on new and challenging experiences.

Yet despite everything, the hurdles, the lower expectations and more lax learning schedule at home and at school, M is all of a sudden thriving.  It just had to be on HER time, because she was ready to try.

This weekend we introduced the idea of giving M the next size taller bicycle, with no training wheels.  Last year M (at 4 1/2,  5 years old) finally was able to pedal a bike.  Even with the training wheels she often had a lot of difficulty and became easily frustrated, but when we got the bike out this year she was riding great!  Unfortunately she balked at the idea of a different bike and it caused a meltdown.  Later at a friend’s house she really wanted to ride and the bike available did not have training wheels.  Well, this determined little girl took right off on that 2 wheel bike without hesitation!  She still needs practice to ride well/for long on her own 2 wheel bike but she is trying and succeeding for short intervals and it is amazing!

Here is a video of M on her bike (A running along behind).

https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=515129191862187

For the longest time M disliked any books at all and did not like being read to, could not pay attention or recall any information about a story.  I think a combination of being in school, her medication and our repeated efforts to find books she likes and to read to her and around her (we are all avid readers) helped finally change that.  Since late this fall, early winter she has let me read to her every night, at least.  When she was comfortable with reading, and different types of books (she initially could only handle board books) I decided it was time to see if I could teach her to read.  This started just a week or so ago, and I used the Biscuit books, teaching her one word at a time, the same way I taught my oldest daughter to read.  She caught on to the first word pretty quickly and showed she was ready to learn.  The next day I moved to the second word and started to introduce a 3rd word at the end of the story.  The third day she took off, reading better than 1/3 of the words herself!  The last 2 days I have had her read different Biscuit books, one she had never seen before, and she could still read many of the words.  She even sounded some out which I never ever thought I would see her do, since she has had a very hard time with written words and sounds.  This is the girl who just 6 months ago literally had a fear of reading & said she never wanted to learn to read!

So lesson learned…children will develop in their own time, when they are ready.  No need to rush them, the results will be happier for everyone if they are allowed the space they need (or the challenge & extra push, depending on the child).  Also, don’t listen when someone tells you what your child will/will not, can/can not do.  Just know your child and give them the kind of support they need and they will surpass your wildest expectations for them!  M does not have an aide (there is a para pro for the class but she does not have a 1:1) and she has a vision problem (which I will talk about tomorrow) that is likely causing her writing problems and when corrected she may well not need AT at all.  🙂

One of those days

image

The end of a long, hard day

I totally had a better, more organized and educational post ready to write today.  It was all about why I am thankful for M’s stims and obsessions.  But that was at about 7:30am and the day definitely went down hill after that, so I don’t have the concentration to write that post right now.  So what you’re getting is the jumble of a confused mama after a rough day and strange week.

Monday we dropped K off at school to head to 6th grade camp for the week.  I was prepared for this to be a rough week because of that.  M had a very rough drop off Monday because of that.  But once she calmed down she had a good report from school.  At home…
Wow.

It was such an amazing day.  We haven’t had a day that good since at LEAST April.  A couple very short minor outbursts about school but no meltdowns, no name calling or aggression.  It was so peaceful.  Like life without Aspergers.  She and her little sister colored pictures, helped me make dinner and were wonderful for the babysitter after I left for school.  I haven’t felt that light and stress free in a long time.

The rest of the week had been, well, not Monday.  I finally ended up telling that mom at school that M has Aspergers, because I could tell she’d had it with M growling and hissing at her daughter.  She seems much more understanding. 

Then came today.  Again at drop off she was hissing and growling at everyone waiting for the school to open.  Yesterday she chilled out by listening to Taylor Swift (her latest obsession) through her comfy new headphones until the doors opened.  Today she would not do that.  I did get her to walk to the classroom on her own, though.

M initially had problems getting in trouble especially at rest time, until the new aide suggested she be allowed to use her fidgets during that time and we took in her weighted blanket, then she was fine.

Today at pick up she said she had a good day.  Turns out she was getting in trouble again at rest, worse than before.  I also got a long note from the teacher that pretty much boils down to the fact that recess has been a mess for M all year.  She spends most of the time crying and will not play with the other kids.  M does have social and imaginative play delays.  She can parallel play and sometimes play with one other person if she can script.  She can not play or socialize with groups of 2 or more kids.  When I ask M about her day none of this comes up.  And she tells me bizarre things that I know are not true.  I obviously can’t rely on her for information about her day.

And then the day got worse.  She wouldn’t leave daycare later when I finished work, it took half an hour to catch her & carry her kicking and spitting to the car.  She kept getting out of her seat belt and crawling around the car on the way home.  When we got home she hit her sister twice, the cat once, and threw her sister’s oranges on the floor then ate them off the floor. 
But oh no, that’s not the worst.
At all.
She grabbed a pair of scissors when we walked in the door.  I’m not sure what she was going to do with them but I know it wasn’t good.  I chased her to her top bunk bed and wrestled them away from her.  Then spent 15 minutes keeping her from jumping off the top bunk.
And then she had counseling, where among other things she hit & kicked her counselor.
Thankfully the counselor now agrees she needs medication.
Good thing we have an appointment in a week and a half.

We talked about balancing understanding she has special needs and can’t control herself with having expectations, not letting her terrorize us and teaching her to control herself.

I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.
So I feel like a failure as a parent
And like I’ve failed at special education before I’ve begun.
If I can’t control my own kid, how can I help others?

I’m sure it’s just the bad day talking.  I took away her ability to watch a Taylor Swift DVD tonight.  When she realized she wasn’t getting to get her way no matter what she went in the basement with her blanket and body pillow, curled up in the old glider rocker and fell asleep.  Our sweet kitty curled up on her.  Now she is in bed but keeps babbling in her sleep.  My husband said all he could make out was “Taylor Swift”.

Tomorrow will be better!  Parenting a child on the Autism Spectrum is certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  But I love her and am so proud of her.  And I won’t stop working to help her be happy and able to function successfully in society.

In the mean time, I keep praying for more days like Monday!

Tag Cloud

Life is all about how you handle Plan B.....

enjoy every moment, even the unexpected.

Gifted Atlanta

A resource for parents of bright and talented children

Writings of a Mrs Mommy

Writings of a Mrs. Mommy is the Mommy blog to my Writings of a Mrs's blog. This blog will be more about my busy life with 8 children and the many adventures on how the Mrs. and Mr. manage it all! Humor, stress, love, food and photos will be the main focus. Alex and Jenn plus kids make TEN!

Ginger Snaps

escapades in life, autism, and other shenanigans

Mama Gets Real

Mamahood is better when you are surrounded by Mamas.

This Side of Typical

Autism + Parenting + Peach Schnapps. Crazy Straw optional.

Laughing Through Tears

Two moms, four kids, many cocktails.

Musings of an Aspie

one woman's thoughts about life on the spectrum

the fairly good mother

... because you don't have to be perfect to be awesome ...

To Be Aware

It's all about disbelieving your thoughts

The True Power of Parenting

Emotional Intelligence for a Bright and Successful Future

The World of Special Olympics

The sun never sets on our Special Olympics Movement. See what's happening now...

It's my Asperger's

Living with Aspergers and ADHD

mamacravings

everything a mama could want

The Voice from the Backseat

One voice, and the journey along the way