Monday, March 8, 2010

Things continue on....

...the last couple of weeks have seen a lot of sadness in our extended family and I haven't been comfortable posting about what's been happening in our own household, but now that everything has settled down, it's time to continue with our story.

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of activity, mostly with Rachel.

I finally had time to visit her at school for more than a few minutes and really see what her program is like. Unfortunately, I had to miss "circle time" because they do that first thing in the morning, and since I had to drive Daniel to school, I wasn't able to get there until well after it was over, but I was with her for approximately 2 hours, watching her go through the ABA trials and work with the SLP for about 30 minutes. I had never actually watched her when she was working with CSAAC because I always had Simon with me so I really didn't fully know how the trials worked. It was very interesting. They have Rachel do 3-5 tasks (currently [I understand this increases over time]) and each is completely different from the others (showed her a picture to label, moo like a cow, brush a doll's hair was one sequence I witnessed) and then she is given a reward (in this case, she got to watch a Wiggles DVD for a couple of minutes while the next set of tasks were set up). She was so happy going through these things and was very responsive to her para-educator. It's strange how well she responds to such a rigid and no-nonsense routine when she herself is so rigid and unwilling to bend to the wills of others. But, that's what works. And I certainly can't argue with the success we've seen with Rachel and ABA-based programs.

I am visiting Simon's school again next week and getting a chance to see how he works with his new teacher. The teacher he was assigned to before he started, resigned for medical reasons before he began and so he's been working with a qualified substitute teacher until recently. He was very happy with things as they were and, now that they've hired this new teacher, he still seems just fine with the situation. I met her briefly last week when I had to pick Simon up from school and she seemed very nice, but I look forward to seeing how she interacts with the kids in her class. And, I have to admit, I do LIKE to visit the kids' schools and watch their progress. The day-to-day "kid-stuff" has been so much of my life for the last couple of years (since I've left the workforce) I'm not sure I'm ready to fully let that go (but I love the opportunities to have a cup of coffee with a friend without having the kids hanging on or causing problems all around me).

The other news this week is that we are planning on attending "Circus of the Senses" on Wednesday. It has been nearly a year since we learned that Rachel and Simon were both on the spectrum and almost immediately after learning this, we put them in the car and drove down to Walt Disney World (the vacation had been planned months before). We didn't know ANYTHING about autism and I (at least) was in complete denial that my children had issues as severe as "autism" and none of our plans changed. We took the kids to several shows and we'll just say that Simon didn't do well at any of them (we were able to keep Simon in the auditorium for ONE of the shows we tried, and that was with a LOT of coaxing). This is the first time since then that we are exposing them to any type of live show. Circus of the Senses is designed for children with special needs, but it will still be interesting to see where we are now versus where we were a year ago. And, if this goes well, I am considering taking them to see the Laurie Berkner Band when they travel to Baltimore in May (all of my kids LOVE her music).

I guess you can say we have embraced our new lives here....

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