Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Griffin's IEP/Transition Meeting

I was so impressed with how smoothly the meeting went, everyone was so professional and organized. Finally, an IEP meeting that went as well as the ones did in Anchorage. A woman from the South Carolina Autism Society went there to help me out and I am so glad that she did, she asked some very important questions that I wouldn't have thought of like a summer program within the community for Griffin. It just so happened that the speech path. knew of a summer program at one of the nearby churches, don't know if it is for special needs children or not but they're getting the information to me soon. Here is just a little bit of what is on his IEP:

Academic Achievement:
Speech: According to speech sample and therapist observation, Griffin can correctly produce all age appropriate speech sounds.He has made some improvements in using correct voicing; however, he still needs to work on producing audible speech in conversation. His language has also improved, but he still has difficulty answering wh questions and initiating conversation. He also needs to work on decreasing echolalia and making choices.
Cognitive: Griffin can name and give the sounds of 26 letters of the alphabet, he can read simple words, he can give the name of 4 coins, can count rote to 49, he is emerging in simple sequencing.
Motor: Griffin can write numbers 1-19, draw recognizable pictures, write his full name and cut shapes out with scissors.
Language:Griffin is emerging in sequencing, tells definition of concrete sounds, rhyming simple words and tells use of senses.

All in all it was one of the best IEP meetings that I have attended for Griffin and I am looking forward to him going to his new classroom in August. His new teacher Ms. H is such an awesome teacher, she is so sweet and always smiling when I see her. Here's the really good news...........Griffin will be mainstreamed for part of the day to attend library, regular PE, art, and computer class with the kindergarten classroom. I am so thrilled that he is finally going to go into a regular ed. class for at least part of the day in the beginning and depending on how well he does he will also attend the classroom as time goes on. Everyone there agreed that he is quite the little genius and that it will be a task to challenge him daily. He only needs one time to see a task executed to complete it himself but on the other side of the coin, his weakness is that he likes to say "NO" quite often and that he has a hard time making choices like on the smart board or when it comes to having too many to choose from. He needs to work on walking in line in a timely fashion and sharing/waiting for his turn. I feel confident that he will master all that is put before him, maybe even over the summer while working with Ms. A. He might just thrive and progress throughout the summer and excel beyond all expectations. She is an incredible woman/educator and I am so grateful that she is with us.

Nothing about me this entry because I get tired of talking about myself so it's off I go to have dinner and to get Griffin in the bed. Take care everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Griffin Talks To A Little Girl......Yipee!

Here is Griffin with his afternoon bus driver she is so sweet and Griffin, she reports,he is always talking to her as she is driving along. Yesterday while I in my therapy appointment my Mom took Griffin to the playground. While they were there Griffin went up to a little girl and asked her what her name was and how old she was then he followed her around through the maze. I was so thrilled to hear this and I am so proud of him because he usually doesn't speak to children but will often speak to adults out in public. It is such a huge step for him to take to do this and I am looking forward to him interacting with children much more frequently.

Lately Griffin has not been doing so well with the toilet training, he hasn't done well since Spring Break I think that the change in schedule threw him off. Now he is totally refusing to go even when he is escorted to the bathroom. I have taken away his privileges and let him know that he could resume playing with the computer or watching tv once he uses the toilet but that doesn't seem to work, he just doesn't seem to care if he gets to do those things or not. So, I wonder if he even understands the whole concept, I told him that he needs to use the toilet like a big boy but it doesn't seem to phase him. He does not respond to rewards such as a treat so I don't know what to do. I am open to ideas and comments on this matter because I am once again stuck . Maybe it is that he just needs to get back into his routine and start using the toilet again in his own time. Maybe I am trying to push him too much. It is so frustrating because I just don't know if I am doing the right thing. Otherwise he is doing really well and his behavior has improved markedly especially since I have been telling him "no yelling" when he raises his voice.

Griffin's IEP/transition meeting is coming up and the parent mentor from the SC Autism Society will be there to help me out. I am looking forward to it because I am excited for him to start school in the fall and hopefully be mainstreamed at least half a day, we shall see how it goes. I have heard wonderful things about the teacher that he will have in the fall and I can't wait to meet with her. She is apparently a stellar educator and outstanding person but her classroom is just a special needs class and is not specific to autism so I think that Griffin will be bored in there and not feel challenged although my assumptions could be wrong. I will keep you posted on how it goes. Tomorrow Ms. A comes to visit and Griffin will have new Spanish words to learn, he can count to 20 in Spanish now and to 100 in English. Did I mention how proud I was of him?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Griffin and Jade

I just love this picture of Griffin and my parent's dog named Jade, he adores her and loves to give her affection. Here they are both sitting in Griffin's car seat we put Jade in the truck while sitting in the driveway so that Griffin could hold her and give her hugs.

I went to the doctor (psychiatrist) and he was really cool I liked him a lot. We both decided that trying an anti-depressant along with the existing mood stabilizer will help my depression. Some of the symptoms that I had been having were not necessarily just the medication but also the depression. Today is my third day on the Zoloft and I can already tell a difference, I'm so excited to be feeling better. I'm looking forward to a brighter/happier/healthier future.

Griffin's behavior has improved since my last post, we have been telling him "NO yelling" and he has been using an inside voice as a result. We have learned to correct him, teach him that there are consequences to his actions, and also ignoring his insistent behavior which seems to cause it to dissipate after a short period of time. I am just not going to let him push my buttons and manipulate me because I have figured out that it's not a sensory issue. If it was a sensory issue he would not respond to my correction, he would just get worse with time instead of getting better. I don't think that I am being cruel or anything I think that I am not allowing him to become a "little stinker" and act out. As he grows older I will have to distinguish between sensory and acting out and perhaps it will become more difficult and challenging but I guess that I will just have to do my best and rely on the help of my friends and all the useful advice that is available to me.

The weather is very nice here in the high 60's and 70's, ideal weather I think. Since taking the new medication I have had the motivation to take Griffin for a walk outside and enjoy the weather. I have been spending less time at the computer so I haven't been reading blogs again........sorry folks. I will get around to it because it's important to me, hope that you are all doing well and that you have a great weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Late Egg Hunt and Behavioral Issues

My sister and her family came down from North Carolina to visit this past weekend and it was so nice because it has been awhile since we have seen them. Pictured here is my sister and Griffin coloring Easter eggs. Yes, we celebrated our Easter again with them because they didn't get to come and visit on Easter. Griffin loved coloring the eggs and especially loved hunting them afterwards. On Easter Sunday we were at my brother's house and did not hide the eggs for Griffin because I was concerned that he would get into the habit of hiding the eggs from the fridge in the future but I decided to take a chance this time and I guess that we will see how it goes.

I am so grateful that I have a child who is capable of doing such regular things such as searching for Easter eggs. I make sure that I don't take for granted the little things in life and with Griffin. When we were at the Special Olympics I most definitely counted my blessings because there were children there with different abilities than Griffin and some were having much more of a challenge with simple tasks. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't look at my beautiful son and count my lucky stars. He has been having some behavioral changes going on lately and I wonder what it has to do with. It has been suggested that the changes could have to do with the climate change but I don't know. I have also read that the changes in behavior could have to do with the full moon but I don't know which phase the moon is in, guess I should get a farmer's almanac. These changes in his mood/behavior seem to be more nuero-typical than anything else. He seems to be acting out like a misbehaved child rather than having some kind of sensory issue or something that might be related to his autism. Griffin will yell and say things over and over until he gets the reaction that he wants or until I let him wear himself out doing it. I have not let him get the reaction that he was seeking but once because I don't want him to get into the habit of doing that in order to get what he wants. What do you think? Is my child being a real brat or do you think that maybe I am misinterpreting his actions and that he could legitimately be having some sort of meltdown? Yesterday I just let him go about it for awhile and then as he began to calm down I re-directed him and that seemed to work well. I am up for suggestions and would greatly appreciate your comments. Have you had an experience where your child has acted like a brat rather than acting/being autistic? How does one determine the difference? I have said in the past that Griffin usually conducts himself more as a NT child than an autistic child and for the most part that is true but it can be confusing when it comes to behavior and behavior modification. Please let me know what you think.

Thanks ahead of time for your comments and hope that you have a fantastic week!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Special Olympics

Unfortuanely this is the only picture that came out because all the others were way too light....bummer. Here Griffin is running on the track because he had so much fun running a few minutes earlier that he wanted to do it again. He especially loved the tennis ball throw, he laughed and laughed and just kept throwing them over and over. He did the bean bag toss several times too. It was great because Griffin didn't seem to mind the huge crowd and all the comotion going on, there were so many children there and older kids too. It was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many smiling faces and to hear all the laughter was something I will never forget. Griffin's teacher explained that Anderson county was the only county in the state that had developmental games for children under the age of 8 yrs. and for that I am grateful because I think that it was a great experience for Griffin and it's exciting that he will be able to go back next time too. Another thing that was really cool is that Griffin recognized and named all of his classmates who were there, although he showed no interest in interacting with them I think it was cool that he did remember them by name. If you ever get the chance to go to the Special Olympics please go because it is such a wonderful and heartwarming experience. I actually got a lump in my throat several times just because I felt a connection with the kids there and was so proud that my little fella was participating in a very honorable and prestigious event.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our Trip To North Carolina

Unfortunately I forgot my camera but I took pics with my new camera phone which I incidentally do not have a usb cord for so I cannot upload the pictures to the computer, what a bummer. When I do get the usb cord then I will share the wonderful pictures that I took. Anyhow, Griffin and I went to N.C. to visit with my brother, his wife, and their two kids who are age 10 yrs. and 15 yrs. Griffin had a grand time playing with them, it was nice for all of us because the kids had so much energy to really play with Griffin to the point of wearing them out. Griffin of course cannot be worn down but he sure did seem to have a great time with them. The weather was pretty cold and it snowed our first night there, not much but nevertheless it was cold. Because it was cold we didn't do a whole lot on Saturday but we did go out to eat at a really nice Mexican restaurant and then later got some homemade ice cream at an old fashioned ice cream salon (I think that's what they are called). We went to the toy store and played around for a long time, we kept on trying on different hats on Griffin and taking pictures with my new camera phone. I can't wait to share the pictures with you all.

We are planning for Griffin to go to the Special Olympics on Thursday, that is if it doesn't rain so I will have some great pics from that as well. Cross your fingers for us that it doesn't rain us out.

I haven't written in quite awhile because I simply haven't spent that much time at the computer but then again it is partly because I don't really have that much to share with you as of late. I am also behind on reading blogs and commenting so I apologize and I plan to catch up real soon. I miss reading about what all of you are doing and letting you know that I am thinking of you.