Nov 11

A whole hand!

Wow, my Spencer turned 5 last week!  Some days it seems like it’s totally been five years and most days, I can’t believe he’s 5 already.  He’s getting SO big and has so much going.  We haven’t done our “official” 5 year old photos, but here are some good ones we took on our fall leaf drive.

ManyFaceSpencer

Some big things that have happened to Spencer in the last year:

  • Started Speech therapy and Occupational Therapy
  • Enrolled in Pre-K at the “big” elementary school
  • Had a blast at family reunion
  • Started Pre-K at the “big” elementary school
  • Earned a trip to LegoLand Discovery Center
  • Went to see several movies in the Theater
  • tried lots of scary things
  • Made lots of new friends

I’ve started a tradition (last year) where I interview Spencer every year.  Here is his interview from this year:

What is your name: Spencer
How old are you? (holds up his hand and says) 5
What is your favorite color? Red, and white and pink and purple.  Those are the only colors I like.
Who is your best friend? Branden (a friend he played with today at school)
Favorite animal? Insect
What do you want to be when you’re all grown up? a police man
What is your favorite movie? Curious George
What is your favorite book? Curious George Books
What makes you happy? having Lucy (our dog)
What makes you sad? When you [Mom] take candy from me
What is your favorite food? Nothing
What is your favorite song? None
What games do you like? Lego City, Nintendo Land, Twilight Princess and Nintendo Land.  Those are all the games.

Spencer is the best big brother for Matt.  And Matt ABSOLUTELY adores his big brother and tries do do anything that his big brother does.  Spencer is very curious about things he loves, and he asks all kinds of questions about them.  He has a fantastic imagination, and we often find ourselves telling him he has to turn back into himself before he can go into school, church or some where.  He loves watching his dad play Nintendo, and he often has good ideas about how to solve some of the puzzles we encounter in the video games.  He is very clever and comes up with some pretty amazing things.

We love having Spencer as part of our family and are so grateful for the all the joy and challenges he brings to our family.  We would not be the same without him.  Happy Birthday Spencer!

Oct 12

It’s been quiet, but not really…

September was a good one for our family.  We had lots going on, but we also had a very nice rhythm of our routine of school and the therapies I take Spencer to every week (3 therapists, 4 different appointments). We are loving the predictability of a regular routine, and the lovely fall weather.  We have been so blessed in so many ways.

NovemberCollageStarting at the beginning, we started a new therapy with Spencer called Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT).  Spencer has responded to it brilliantly.  Basically, it will give us better tools to deal with Spencer’s reactions to our requests and help him to deal with some of the things he feels in the same manner every time.  We are still in the beginning stages of it, and we are still doing the Child Directed Interaction.  So what that looks like for us right now is Special Time.  For 5 minutes a day, each of us plays with Spencer using something like blocks, legos, tinker toys or something.  During this 5 minutes, we are not allowed to ask questions, give commands or use any negative talk or sarcasm.  We ARE aiming to praise him, talk about what he’s doing and reflecting back to him what he says to us.  Spencer has just been eating up Special Time, and Adam and I are pretty close to the goal of 10, 10 and 10 (praises, descriptions and reflections).  He has responded so well, that we are actually having his teachers learn the same thing,TCIT.  We’ll see how this goes, but his teachers are wonderful and willing, so I’m not worried

Adam and I were able to go see Wicked again.  It is such a good show, and we were so glad we were able to see it again. Not much else to say about that, but it’s always worth mentioning.

Adam jumped on a planed and headed to Sugar City for a visit.  No real reason.  He just thought he should go visit, so I made sure he went.  When he came home, we were SO glad to have him home.  The boys really missed their dad, and I really missed my husband.

I started trading boys with my friend (thank you so much!) while Spencer is at school.  So Matthew has gotten SO much better about going to other people and being less of a Momma’s boy.  We were really concerned about when he goes to nursery in November (oh yes, just 3 more Sundays before Nursery!).  We were nervous he wouldn’t be able to be there without me.  He’s shown us lately that he’ll be JUST fine.  He’s such a laid back guy, and he’s really good about going with the flow.  We are so grateful for his attitude.

Adam and I spend a lot of time training for our half marathon (running it on October 19th).  Our Saturday mornings are spent doing our long runs, which get increasingly longer as the half gets closer.  I was supposed to do another sprint triathlon on September 28th, but it was cancelled because of nasty weather.  I was a little bit bummed, but it did let me get closer to running the half marathon distance wise before the race.

That’s what’s been happening with us for a while.  Just in a very deep routine, and we’re loving it.  It’s so good for our kids.

Aug 27

Living with an Aspie: Starting School

First Day

This is Spencer on his first day of Pre-K

Starting school is a fun time of year for a lot of kids and families.  It’s exciting with all the changes and things happening.  They just can’t wait to see who their child’s teacher will be and to send them off to school.

Well, that isn’t the case at our house.  The start of school means the end of all our summer routines, which brings about a mega case of meltdowns.  Throw in the fact that Spencer is going to a big public school (new building), new teachers and new amount of time being in school, and you’ve got the recipe for major pain.

To combat that, we tried a few things to help ease the transition from mostly being with Mom all the time (and a very small Pre-school class), and for the most part I think what we did REALLY worked.  Starting a week and a half before school started, we went up to the school EVERY day and started working wake up time to school wake up time.

The first time we went up to school, we met the secretaries and some of the counselors and learned the procedures for dropping off and picking up Pre-K students.  Everyone at our school has been SO accommodating to Spencer and his needs, it’s been wonderful.  Anyway, we practiced dropping off and picking up.  Then we would also practice walking from the front of the school to Spencer’s classroom (area before we knew which room for sure), from his classroom to the resource room and vice versa, and from his room back to the front of the school.  We made sure he knew how to get to the important places he would go during his day at school.

Frist Day 2

What is your teacher’s name? Ms. Austin (I caught the end of him saying it. Can you see it?)

When school started, he was VERY confident about where he was going, and I know that eased some of his anxiety about being at school.  The only thing we could not simulate was the number of people who would be in the lobby and moving about the school while he was.  The large crowds make him very nervous.  He’s getting better and better about going where he needs to go everyday though.

We also created an All About Spencer folder for his Pre-K teacher and his resource teacher.  This folder included a letter about Spencer and his diagnosis, and what that really looks like with him.  It also included a 4 page Sensory Profile for him.  We were hoping these things would give his teachers a head start in dealing with him, and it REALLY has seemed to help.  The last two days, his resource teacher has been sick, and has had a sub there for her.  Everyday, the sub has been waiting up front to be introduced to him with the para-professional that Spencer already knows, and he has gone with them mostly willingly.

I’ve been so impressed by all the faculty and staff at our school, and how willingly and lovingly they have taken my daringly son into the big elementary school.  He still has his bad days, but I know it could be SO much worse.  Here’s hoping things continue to work well.