Sep 23, 2012

HE DID IT!!

Have you been wondering how Logan did on the bus? He did great he woke up and was nervous. We got ready and walked to the bus. We did not speak about the pending adventure we barley made eye contact. He was holding it together by a string. I am sure he would have lost it if we tried to have a conversation about it. He waited in line with Ruby. He paced a bit. Then the bus drove up and he followed Ruby on board. Here he is on his first bus ride.
This is a perfect picture of how he was feeling. Not sure if he was nervous, scared, terrified, excited, happy or all of the above...lol. When he came home and got off the bus for the first time he said "Mom am I going to take the bus everyday?" and I said yes. He said "wicked". When I asked him how was your first day taking the bus and going to school he said "brilliant".
I must also tell you a funny story. Logan has anxiety and worries about things that can't be controlled. One being the weather. He has learned a lot about the weather. So we were in the kitchen and he says "I really don't like Salami. Salami worries me. Do you think we will have a salami?" Dad and I looked at each other a bit confused. When we asked him "Salami? What do you mean? He says "you know a big wave comes and sucks everyone and everything out to the ocean and people die and all their stuff goes out in the ocean and showed up on the beach in California?". So dad said "Logan that is a tsunami not salami!" Logan says "that what I said"! It reminded me of a time when Logan, Ruby and I were in the car not long ago and Logan was looking out the window and says "Oh no! there is a big potato coming!! we need to get home before this potato hits" I brushed it off like he was joking around and he frantically carried on. Finally Ruby pipes up and said "mom I don't think he means potato, I think he means tornado!"

Sep 5, 2012

A New Path

Is this the beginning or is this the end? Kindergarten marks a new path for Logan. We are amazed to see how far Logan has come. Kindergarten in a typical Calgary Board of Education school. This is the stuff dreams are made of. When we started this journey at two we did not know where we would end up. I am full of joy to know my two kiddos will be at the same school. My heart races when I think there will be no aide in class with him to make sure he is not talking to loud, playing nicely with the other kids or watching out for the dreaded stim. Then I think to myself he has five up on these kids. He has had a "personal trainer" in socializing with others, he has learned how to manage his stim and really it does not seem to bother the other kids that he is loud. Maybe his teacher will teach him to use an indoor voice? I was wondering to myself why am I having such a difficult time sending him off to school. Then it hit me...it is the other parents that should be concerned. I should be happy the principle, vice principle and teacher got a 50 page Psychologists report on who Logan really is. Where his challenges are and what causes him anxiety. It is nice to know two years (15 pages each) of Individual Personal Program Plan (detailed report card) from his specialized preschool were included in the package. These detailed everything and anything that Logan needed to learn, was taught and how they taught it. We met with the the Program Specialist in early May and she observed Logan in preschool for an afternoon then met with the staff at school to share her observations. Logan also attended Kindergarten one morning with last years class before the end of school with his aide and we came up with a list of thing to work on over summer which have all been achieved. So why on the eve of his first bus ride to school am I wondering if he is ready? I know that with Autism anything and everything could go wrong at the drop of a hat. That sometimes nothing is as it seems. That we have worked so hard to teach him (literally) everything he knows. We have been there every step of the way and tomorrow he will take every step himself. He is nervous/anxious but I need believe in him. He has gotten us this far. At the beginning of this post I wondered if this was the beginning or the end. It is the ending of the path we needed to take to get to this point. It is the beginning of a new path for our family. I am anticipating Kindergarten to be full of wonderful memories that we will continue to share I hope you will join us.

Oct 5, 2011

Integration

With the holidays done and a new year upon us I thought it would be a great time for an update.
We had a wonderful summer with fewer tantrums and more fun. We were able to travel, visit family, attend weddings, and go camping. This summer we enjoyed our kids and watched as both kids enjoyed themselves. As the school year started to approach I noticed Logan becoming anxious and full of nervous energy. The stimming started to creep back in and behaviours we have seen before started to show themselves. Was this the beginning of a regression?
When I spoke with his team about the anxiety and behaviour they assured us it happens to many kids, not just those with an autism diagnosis. As I started to watch Ruby I noticed she was getting more frustrated with tasks and moody or snappy but with Ruby I needed to look for it. In Logan it was right there showing itself to me. I realized it was the pre-school jitters.
Logan knew he would be starting a new preschool, integrating to a typical preschool with typical kids three days a week. The other two days would be at his specialized school. He would also still have his morning sessions from 8-11:30. His first day at Bearspaw (the new school) was a huge success and as the year has progressed, Logan's anxiety is less and less. He has made many new friends and fits right in.I can't tell you how happy this makes us! After my volunteer day I could see the things that he still needed to work on but I can see the other kids don't really seem to notice these things.
In October our house was buzzing with Halloween talk. Logan wanted to be an Oreo Cookie, but ended up going as Iron Man to school and a as Hockey Player trick or treating. Ruby went as a Witch.
Come December, both kids were full of energy with the pending holidays. School was going smooth and the thought of a break was nice. Logan's sessions were going well and Bearspaw was the highlight three days a week. A decision has been made and his aide will be transitioning out of the Bearspaw class. There will be regular checks with the school that all in on track. It is bitter sweet for Bill and I because we like that someone is there making sure he is ok but if we really want him to fit in he will have to be like everyone else. The other two days at his specialized preschool were not as appealing and Logan started telling me he did not want to go and he did not like it. After a meeting with the director we decided to try and reduce the amount of time he spends in the specialized classroom and look for a kindergarten placement two days a week to get him around children his age or older and also get him used to kindergarten for next year. I am happy to report a placement has been found and Logan will be attending Dalhousie Jr. Kindergarten. If you are no familiar with Jr. Kindergarten it is a kindergarten setting but the kids like Logan were not ready or too young for Kindergarten but to old for a four year old preschool. Our home program has also changed a bit with three days a week as regular sessions and the other two having Logan taking part in activities within the community with other children. The goal for the rest of this school year will be to expose Logan to as many social opportunities as possible.
I am exited to report registration for kindergarten is taking place this month and Logan will be registered in a typical elementary school! This is something many families with children with Autism strive for and many can't find the right placement within the school board and are forced to go private. I count my blessings everyday that Logan has made such amazing progress and I will keep you posted.
The next few months should be interesting as Logan's Contract with (FSCD)Family Services runs out. He is doing so well in December I could have guaranteed he would not be renewed. After a recent meeting with his FSCD case worker and her supervisor they are on board with a transition year. This means his funding will be renewed but by this time next year he should be fully transitioned out of Autism Partnership. To my relief they are so happy at all the progress he has made. I love the feeling of a light at the end of the tunnel!
Logan's PUF (school funding) contract is also running out after this school year and it is up in the air weather he will get another year or not. PUF determines weather or not Logan will have an aide in the classroom for kindergarten or not. I am ok with whatever happens and will try my best not to worry. I think with the progress Logan has made we can handle whatever comes our way.

Jun 8, 2011

What I know now

I was digging through old pictures and videos of Logan and my reaction surprised me. They were from a time when this little boy was lost and unable to communicate. The images should have brought back all those feelings of helplessness, fear and uncertainty. I should have been crying. But I wasn't. I was laughing. From the crash course in autism I have had since Logan's diagnosis, I now look at these images and wonder how I could have questioned whether or not my son had autism. From the first day I noticed one of Logan's behaviours until the day we walked into Autism Partnership, I knew that Logan was developing differently than other children. I just didn't know if it was autism. People would tell me he was fine or that he would "grow out of it". I didn't believe them. As a mom, I knew and I accepted that Logan was different. I just needed to know what "it" was. As I learned about autistic traits, it felt like I was seeing "it" everywhere. I want to share with you some traits you often see in children with autism.

1. Eye Contact - It was very difficult for Logan to make eye contact. I felt like I had to work really hard to get his attention. The doctors initially thought Logan had a hearing problem.

2. Flapping -Flapping is very common in children with autism. Because Logan was so young when he was diagnosed I didn't notice it as much as when he grew older. This is one of those things I look back on and see clearly now. To the unaware, in toddlers, the flapping may just look like they are excited. I can remember I would call Logan my little bird because he would flap so much. Our doctors initially tested him for seizures.

3. Toe Walking & Bouncing - From the moment he could walk, Logan would walk on his tippy toes and bounce a lot. Our doctors wondered if the muscles in his legs were long enough.

I am not sure why these traits are often present in children with autism but they are very common. The flapping is what sent me to the doctors with Logan. I was worried about seizures. His whole body would stiffen up and shake and it would happen numerous times a day. Once seizures were ruled out and his hearing test came back normal, they put it all together and suggested we have him assessed for autism. It seems so clear to me now but hindsight is always 20/20.... At the time, it seemed to take a long time to get a diagnosis. In reality, Logan was diagnosed with autism earlier than many children and therefore has been able to benefit from early intensive intervention.

I am happy to report that Logan is now able to control all of the traits listed above. It was a lot of hard work with his behavioral consultant and aides. It is also a daily struggle but he is aware of it and has control. We are so proud of him.

This video is of Logan "not cool" flapping.

video

This video is of Logan "cool" not flapping.

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** "cool" and "not cool" are terms used in therapy with Logan. He understands that the goal is to keep his body "cool".

Apr 30, 2011

Spring is here!


Great news our contract for Specialized Services has been renewed for another year. We are so happy to receive this news. This time around our experience with FSCD was wonderful. I felt that our worker was behind us 100%. I wonder now if it is because I understood the process, had more confidence and a past experience under my belt? Or was it that FSCD realized we are dedicated parents willing to do anything to help our son?

We had a wonderful Spring Break it was great that both Ruby and Logan were out of school at the same time. Logan continued with his morning sessions so it gave Ruby and I some one on one time together. I feel that our days are really full during a regular week so I tried not to plan too much. I just wanted the kids to have some fun at home together and spend time playing outside and just being kids.

We pulled the bikes out of the garage. Logan surprised us all when he got on his bike and started to peddle away!! This is huge...last year we tried and tried to get him interested to learn how to bike but he hated every minute of it. He would protest even sitting on it. He peddled to the bottom of a small incline then abandoned the bike and came back to the garage, I still consider it a major accomplishment. Since then he has shown interest in continuing to bike.

Biking is not the only thing Logan tried this past month. We celebrated Ruby's 7th Birthday. For her party we went Roller Skating. Logan gave it a try and loved it. They had a great time and it was a wonderful party.

Easter was so much fun. We created an Easter Egg Hunt for Ruby and Logan with 7 clues. Ruby is reading now and Logan has been working on listening for information. Ruby was told the Easter Bunny wanted her to read each clue and wait until Logan knew where to look. She read each clue to Logan and they made their way around the house finally finding their baskets in the tub! They were so into it they have make Clues a regular game at home. We are hoping this helps Logan learn how to play hide and seek.

I wanted to share with you a link from Autism Partnership (Logan's Service Provider)on The Today Show. The video is about half way down the page.
http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/04/15/6473011-finding-calm-in-the-storm-saving-my-family-from-the-chaos-of-autism

Hope you enjoy it talk to you soon!!