Monday, October 14, 2013

Whispers....

Or I could title this God's Not Dead.

It's a Monday.  Granted a beautiful fall Monday but Monday nonetheless.  We did not want to start school.  I turned on Family Life Radio and this song was playing.





Kid was walking around the kitchen putting away the dishes.  About three quarters of the way into the song (at around 3:35) they WHISPER..'God's Not Dead.  He's Surely Alive."  Kid stops.  And smiles.  He heard the whisper.  I love that. It truly is such a whisper from God I could not let the moment escape without getting it down in black and white.

And to make the connection even more personal, the "Three Things" on the 1000 gifts list   TODAY is "3 Things Said."  

1.  Whispers..  God's Not Dead.  He's Surely Alive.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Freedom and Expectations

I was discussing with our RDI consultant about AJ's behavior.  He is such a good kid.  But sometimes, as most spectrum kids do, he focuses on the negative.  AJ WANTS to know how to behave.  And I want to help him but sometimes things get off track, as they did on Monday with our OT.  This morning I wrote our consultant about our audiology appointment today.  Basically I was asking, "how can I make it work?"  Subtext... "how can I make it PERFECT?"  Here is what she wrote:



I would use the same strategy--review how he felt after negative behavior with OT, preview how he wants to feel after the audiologist, and then discuss how things need to go in order for him to feel good. I would be general rather than specific--polite, hands to self, etc. I would preview, and then see how it goes. If it starts to derail mid-event, I would give him a time out to calm down and then have him go back and finish. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can't control it. You can preview and you can guide, but this is up to Andrew. That is important to know because it will impact your guiding in the moment--you can only do so much, and the rest is up to him.



Answer to "how can I make it perfect?"  I CAN'T!!!!!!  (Control is an illusion.)  And knowing that is FREEING and it calms my own nerves and expectations which decreases the tension in the room paving the way for a better result.   When you let go of expectations, amazing things can happen.  I am not sure how today will go.  But it doesn't have to be perfect.

ps:  You can apply this to basically any part of your life and in any relationship.  :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Broken Glass

I have read several books, blogs and listened to messages about 'broken glass.'  You know.. how God uses broken glass to shine His light thru.  We are the broken glass.  Yada yada yada....

Today I was going through my journal from August.  I was following along in a "listening to God book" where the author suggested asking God, "what do You think of me?"  His answer, as I discerned it, was "broken glass."  I wrote it down.. I meditated on it.  I think He was telling me that He will 'glue' all the pieces back together seamlessly.

Here is how I pictured it at our starting point.



Purty isn't it??!!!!

Yesterday shortly before  I was pulling roasted broccoli from the oven, I heard a pop.  Thank you JESUS I had not yet opened the oven because THIS is what I found when I opened it this morning.



Ugly ain't it?!  The funny thing is that the timing was not a coincidence.  I had forgotten I had written about the broken glass in August.  I "just happened" to decide to spend this morning looking through my journal from the past month and saw that 'visual' that God had given me.  Yes.. this is the starting point.  It is gross, it is messy.  It isn't clean glass.  There were defects that were in there long before the shattering even occurred.  I just didn't see them.  And THIS is the starting point.  And yet He STILL seamlessly pulls it all together.

Somehow..

Someway...


Friday, August 30, 2013

We've Come A Long Way Baby

We have been working on an RDI objective for over a year and a half.  (I went and checked.  We started in February of 2012.)   Other objectives have been tackled in between but if you have a spectrum kid, you know this is a big one:


Student Objective: Distinguishes between significant and unimportant changes and reacts differently based on the analysis



We have done all sorts of different frameworks for this one but yesterday I was cleaning thru a pile of 'junk' that has been in that pile for probably around a year.  I found these little pieces of paper in there.



One of the first activities that we did in this objective was to talk about changes that already have happened or 'easy' changes.  I included some of my own.  There are also a few in there that were difficult for him but he still handeled them "ok."  I would spotlight.. I have decaf and sometimes regular coffee.  You can put different things in a smoothie.  In winter you wear long sleeves, in summer short.  (This used to be BIG for us.)  I also included FUN things such as, "we can skip work and go to the park."

We also did varying degrees of changes with the same framework.  Stubbing your toe vs. cutting it and needing a bandaid vs. having to go to the hospital for stitches.  Or on the positive end; winning a dollar vs. a thousand vs. a million.

People off wonder about the inner sanctum of RDI work.  There really isn't mystery but you do need a trusted guide.  And our guide took us step by step through this. (She still is.)

Honestly we are not yet done with this one.  We still want to re-arrange the living room even more.  That should be insignificant to him yet it is not.  When we changed where two couches were placed we heard about it for six months.  When the sheet on his bed ripped he didn't want a new one and we heard about that for three months.  But this week we gave him an option to move a futon from one room to another or sell it.  And he has also chosen to sell two gaming systems because he has a replacement for them.

We have come a LONG way BABY!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Have A Dream....

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr Speech I Have A Dream.  I have been doing some dreaming of my own this week.  I have a dream... that one day..

Healing will be something more expected in the Church.  Faith will grow, healings will flow.  It happened that way in the early church.  It can happen ..and does happen today.. but I pray it is a regular thing.  An extravagant thing.

Disabilities that still exist will not be something that a program has to be built around.  Children, and adults, with disabilities will just be a part of the woodwork.. the framework.. for every day life.

Children with disabilities will not be excluded from a Christian education.  Christians will see that academics are not the only reason to send their child to a private school.   They will see not only the NEED, but the privilege there is when including those with various abilities and disabilities.  (Here is an example of that. Here is another example.)

'Service' within the framework of church and Christian schools would not be an "outside activity" done for "10 hours a month,"   but rather an 'inside the heart' activity and something that is part of their being.. not part of their life.  Churches would not have to think about programs.  There would just be individuals who step up and just 'do.'  Programs would be an outpouring of that.

And.. as a personal note, I have a dream to be part of this.  When I was a kid, I received this book, Somebody Go Bang a Drum.  It is  about a family with one child that adopts many more of various nationalities.   That book has stuck with me.  And perhaps someday, we too will have a home with various different people.  It won't happen the way I thought.. way back when.. but I still have a dream to build a 'family' of some sort that would include a wide range of individuals.  Someday..





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nifty Neighbors.. I Am Blessed.

A nasty letter made the front page of yahoo today.  You can read about it here.  And a bit more with video on Huffpost.  It is hateful.  It is sad. In a nut shell shell the neighbor of an autistic boy thinks the young man should be euthanized.  One thing that is important to remember is that the other neighbors rallied around this family with the autistic child.  Most people are not like this one neighbor.   So at this point I started thinking about my fantastic neighbors and felt the need to share.  Because it is always the bad ones that make the press.

---  I have written about this one before but on one warm summer day, my son was playing super soakers in the backyard.  He decided to flee to the neighbor, open the front door and open "water" in their living room with the super soaker.. on their TV.  The first thankful item is that their attack dogs did not attack.  The mom couldn't believe this.   (Thank you for your protection Jesus.)  The second was that the TV was not damaged.  (At least they told me it was not.)  But they were spectacular.  They forgave us without a second though AND.. brought US cookies.  Who does that??  Only fabulous neighbors.



--- There is an elderly gentleman who lives across the street.  He likes to talk. The kid likes to talk.  Sometimes they can not understand each other but there is always a grand conversation going on.  He is so nice to the kid.  And... he remembered when kid's birthday was a few years ago and brought him a gift.  (He does not drive anymore either.)  Whether the present was tucked away in his basement or he went out to get it somehow, I don't know. But it was very appropriate.  It was a paper, pencil, sharpener combo packet with super heroes on it!



---  Next door is a lovely woman who always has a special packet of Halloween treats for the kid and actually for all the neighborhood children. She figured out somehow that we are on the GFCF diet.  The next year, she had a full size box of GFCF animals crackers waiting for him. (I forgot to mention..At one point the kid has also gone in this woman's house unannounced, when we were talking on her porch.  He went in and hid under one of the her beds... again.. forgiveness.)



--- One time many years ago, I went to the high school down the street for a walk with the kid.  On the way home he melted down.  I could not really even get him home.  I did manage to get to our street but he plopped down with a major tantrum.  A neighbor (who we did not know) was outside with someone who had stopped at their house and this stranger offered to take us the rest of the way home.  So with kid screaming bloody murder, she allowed us in the back of her car and took us about 10 more houses north which would have been an eternity on foot.

--- And finally, another neighbor recently gave kid the job of taking care of his cats.  To the tune of $20 per weekend.  We are going to frame that $20.. because it was so much more than the money to him.  It was confidence of a job well done.  And it meant so much to me that a neighbor would give MY kid this opportunity.



They are not all bad apples.  In fact most are not.  And I am sure I have more instances I can't think of at the moment.  We are blessed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Some People Go to Disney

The summer is a little rough for those who have kids on the spectrum.  Vacation pictures abound.  I know people like to call Facebook ...Fakebook or Phototopia...  because they can't be having NON-stop fun at that beach vacation.  Can they?  I tell myself they aren't writing about the hemorrhoid that is causing them great pain as they bounce around on the tube behind the boat.

But still I have to confess a bit of jealousy when I see all the fun people are having.  Yea. Summers are rough.  Long vacations are just a little difficult with kids on the spectrum.

But tonight I had an exceptional experience sharing moment with my kid.  Several in fact.  Experience sharing is a term used in RDI (and child development) but it is self explanatory.  It is just sharing.. no agenda.. no skills involved.. no pressure.. just sharing.  With spectrum kids it doesn't necessarily happen automatically.

Kid will be thirteen soon and when I looked in the mirror this morning, he shot up higher than me.  I told him certainly he could ride in the front seat.  You would have thought I said, "we are going to Disney!!!"  He was so geeked.  And it was so much fun.  He sat in the front, we opened up the sunroof and stuck our hands through the top.

And.. then we came across a mama and her baby deer crossing a fairly busy road.  I yelled GRAB THE PHONE!!!  TAPE IT!!!  You can see a wee bit of the last baby deer off to the right of this video and you can hear just a small bit of what 'experience sharing' was all about for us tonight.



We kept driving and were able to find the dairy free soft serve place in Birmingham after driving around the block several times.  And we parallel parked right in front!  Bonus.  Thank you Jesus.  (He does care about the little things.)  We had never been there and so it was .. an experience.  It was loud and crowded and we were both a little overwhelmed but it was fun.  Kid gave the ice cream itself a so-so review.  It was more about the experience for him.

On the way home I'm pretty sure I saw Matthew Perry or his doppelganger coming out of the Townsend Hotel.  (There are a lot of movies shot in Detroit.. so it is possible.)  I tried to share this with the kid  but he could care less!

And the stars.  The ones in the sky.  There is a bright one out tonight.  I think it is Venus.  We had to come home to open our iPad app to find out, but it was one more thing to share.

And just so you know, when we got home, and he headed straight to the computer!  I guess he was done.

But I am thankful.. I am blessed.. and #sometimesitsthelittlethings.


Anyway... just sharing.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What's Your Wire?

I watched with baited breath as Nik Wallenda crossed the grand canyon.  It was crazy.  And the whole time he focused on Jesus.  I know that's what I'd do if I had that grand expanse below me.

But it got me to thinking.  He focused on Jesus the WHOLE walk.  And during that talk he MOSTLY praised Jesus.  There were times when he did ask for help from God, specifically to calm the winds (which He didn't), but also to just wait for the toughest winds to pass.

And I can't believe almost two weeks later I still haven't seen any references in any of my groups to how this is relates to real life.  I'm sure someone has done a blog or two on it.  But it has been on my head and heart since half way thought his walk over the Grand Canyon.



Here are a few things I noticed....


  • His prayer was mostly praise!!
  • There was a time for rest even on that short walk.  
  • He waited.  
  • He had requests to God along the way (which may or may not have been answered regarding the wind.  I don't really know.. but the wind didn't stop.  That much is for sure.)  But the requesting was the smaller part of the ongoing dialogue.
  • Conditions were not perfect.  But he still walked forward.
  • His pace changed during the walk based on conditions and information.
  • He had human guides helping him.  Mentors.  
  • He told people no. (He said he didn't want to talk to anyone during the walk.)
  • He ran to the finish.


Of course Nik did this seemingly willingly. Although I'm pretty sure God called him to do it or he would not have done it.

Many of us don't have a choice to walk our high wire.  You can read our story (just a small part of it really) here.  But there are many that deal with autism, hearing impairment, other disabilities... .. illness, accidents... divorce...addiction...  infertility.. ..  the list goes on.  Everyone has a wire.

But in all of these high wire acts the answer is really the same.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  Run the race with perseverance (and that doesn't mean fast.)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Magazines!!.. give-away

As part of the Propeller review group I was given a free subscription to a magazine from Magazines.com.  I chose Rachel Ray.  Are you surprised?  If you know me, I think not.

There are some real Mother's day deals HERE on Magazine.com.  Even though they gave me a free one, I am pretty sure I will order another.  I have done the virtual magazines and I guess I'm still a paper gal.  The deals are SO good!

So pick one up!!  And..  register to win $10 toward magazines in the future.


a Rafflecopter giveaway





"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why I like RDI....

I have several posts on this subject that I have already done.  People don't have any idea of what RDI is unless they do it.  Several years ago ... probably 8.. I went to an Autism Awareness Friends and Family  Day presentation.  I invited friends and family. ;)  During the seminar they had a video of a child who had graduated from ABA.  It was an example of 'success.'   Andrew was so young at the time and I was full of promise of what it might be like to have a child who had 'done the therapy' and was healed/cured/remediated/graduated from the program but I was so sad as I left the event.  It was a back and forth of a question..answer.

Interviewer:  What's your name?
child: BettyLou
Interviewer: What grade are you in
child: 4th
Interviewer: What's your favorite subject?
child: writing.

And on it went...

And I felt sick to my stomach when I left because that is not what I wanted for my child.

A week ago I went to a seminar where Temple Grandin was the speaker.  I could not put my finger on it, and while it was very interesting, it bothered me.  A friend who does RDI asked how it went and I told her.  This is the email I wrote;


--------
She is very aba… 

She is very 'pro strengths'.. over half the people there were teachers and when she mentioned that not everyone needs algebra.. everyone clapped.   Also when she talked about how schools are not built for those who are visual and spacial learners.. again clapping. 

She talked about the importance of work for kids on the spectrum.. getting jobs walking dogs.. that sort of thing.

Said work places should be more accommodating.  They can give a wheel chair ramp but won't give an autistic person a private office.  Or change the lighting.  And they should.

She talked about fitting job to the person.

People who have heard her before say that it is the same presentation every time but it was the first time i have heard her and it was interesting.

She talked about how you have to teach 'these kids' everything.  My immediate thought is that you CAN'T teach anyone everything!!  


-------  
My friend did not tell me her opinions before I told her mine and I mentioned how it was just..... slightly weird!  And that was it.... the presentation and the Q&A were..awkward.   She did bring up some FABULOUS points.  The jobs are important.   Giving a voice to changes in education is priceless.  Dr. Grandin is to be respected and admired for what she has accomplished and given a voice to.

But, Dr. Grandin is famous.  She has a great life and more power to her!!  But not every child on the spectrum will grow up to be Temple.  99.99% wont.  So how do they 'succeed' in their own right?

That is where Relationship Development Intervention.. RDI...  comes in.  RDI doesn't teach a kid "everything they need to know."  It teaches kids how to think, how to adjust, how to BE.. in the world.  As an example here are the two objectives we are working on right now:


  • Distinguishes between significant and unimportant changes  and reacts differently based on the analysis.


  •  The Student has an accurate generalized experience of himself as a competent decision-maker - someone who can effectively engage with challenges 


If you have a child on the spectrum PLEASE do not go out and just try and do these objectives.  They are of hundreds (probably thousands) and we have a trusted guide that takes us through how to navigate this for OUR child.  But I show them as an example.  As you can see they don't teach.  For the first one we are working on the significance of any change.  And they happen all day every day.  What should we have for dinner or breakfast?  Could we have dinner FOR breakfast?  My child views every change as significant so we have to start small.

By the same token, I have spoken to friends about how ABA may have allowed us to have a more 'normal' life.  Would my child do better at following the rules?  Would we have a quieter life?  Right now... yes.  Maybe.  But what would the future look like?  To be honest part of the reason I am writing this blog entry is  my own therapy.  To show myself that yes we are on the right track.  I was reminded by my PT today that there are many points of entry into the circle of remediation.  (And that is more for another day.)  But RDI has really made a difference in how my kiddo handles real life.

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