It’s All Good

I know better than this. All the books I read say it’s crucial to spend more time bragging on the positives than correcting the negatives. But I haven’t even thought to put together a post in the last month or so. I didn’t realize it had been so long until my mom hit me with a “You don’t have to wait for something bad to happen before you update your blog, ya know?” over the weekend. And of course she’s right.

Ready for the first day of First Grade.

We’ve had a lot to be thankful for over the last couple of months. Alex made huge strides during his six-week enrollment with One For Autism. We also finally got a consult with a psychiatrist on whether medication could help his ADHD symptoms. He’s now on a very mild stimulant that helps him relax and focus, and the only side effect seems to be a decreased appetite (and a little extra wiggle room in the grocery budget).

One For Autism shut down their summer program about 10 days before Alex’s school district was scheduled to crank up. This created some brief panic before my cousin volunteered to come stay with us for a week. She’s a saint – positive, energetic, infinitely patient – and she’s worked with childhood disabilities before. I couldn’t have picked a better person for him to spend the week before school with. As a bonus, she brought her adorable 2-year-old daughter, too, and I really enjoyed reconnecting with both of them.

Last Monday was the first day of First Grade. We had been talking with Alex about his new class and his new friends and his new teachers for two weeks leading up to the new school year. He usually responded with indifference or an outright “No!” so I was a little apprehensive. The first day wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t nearly as rough as last year.

Alex cried because he didn’t want to go to school. Conner, our 3-year-old, cried because we wouldn’t let him go to “big boy school” (nerd). My wife cried because the kids were crying. All their emotional blubbering must have stirred up some dust because I got something in my eye and had to excuse myself (but I totally didn’t cry).

Today was Alex’s seventh day of school. He wakes up in the morning asking to go see his teacher, instead of begging to stay home. He has a picture schedule that covers his entire day, and his teacher is religious with the transition reminders and count-downs. We’ve had some minor issues with non-compliance and aggression, but, overall, the reports have been positive.

Additionally, our school district partnered this year with a daycare organization to bring providers into the schools for on-site afternoon care that includes scheduled homework assistance and PE opportunities. This eliminates the van ride to our daycare and means one less major transition during Alex’s day. He’s adjusted to it quickly and seems to enjoy it.

In getting ready for our annual review of Alex’s progress, goals and individualized education plan, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking back on notes and correspondence from last year. The reflection brought back the emotions of last fall and really put the present into perspective. Fighting against autism is like trying to get into shape. If you weigh yourself every day, you won’t notice much of a difference. But if you ignore the scale for a few months and just focus on the work, you’ll be amazed at the progress when you finally stop and measure it.

  1. Photo is adorable. School starts here in NYC today. Good luck!

    Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire. ~William Butler Yeats

    • Thanks for stopping by. I checked out your writing yesterday. Really liked it. Your daughter sounds like a joy.

  2. What a great picture! Glad to hear Alex is doing well and making progress. I feel the same way about seeing how much our kiddos accomplish. Good luck with IEP – we’re heading into our first one in a few weeks.

    • Thanks! I cruised your latest entries yesterday and saw that you were a little anxious about the IEP meeting. I know there are myriad horror stories out there, but we had a really good experience last year. The weak link was our own education. We didn’t go into it armed with the knowledge of what we could ask for and what was available. I don’t know what the rules are where you live, but in Texas you can bring your own advocate (doctor, therapist, what have you) as well as legal counsel if you feel like it’s warranted. Data is king. If your ABA pros can provide you with firm stats on his therapy and the results, it’s usually a slam-dunk on getting what you request, within the reasonable confines of available district resources. I’m rambling, but the bottom line is, from what I’ve read, you guys sound like informed, involved parents, and I know you’ll do great. All the best!

      • Thank you for your insight and support. My head is getting better or me and I know it’ll be ok. šŸ™‚

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