Sunday, July 12, 2009

An overall progress report and new thoughts...

I decided to go back and re-read the blog, so I have done so over the past couple of days. All I know is that as I, read over the pre-Meridell stuff, I am so eternally grateful for his time there. It was so hard to send him, but the changes we've seen...they are nothing short of miraculous. I'm not saying it's always perfect, but nothing ever is. It's just so much better it's amazing.

The medication has helped him get over his fear of getting his face/head wet, so after many trips to the pool and him being so proud that he can dunk his head under the water (a huge triumph for him), I decided that he is finally ready for more swimming lessons. This time, private lessons without me in the pool. He is thrilled about this, and I am I think even more so. We start them Tuesday, and I am so anxious to see how he does.

I also have realized that my biggest struggle is letting people know...letting people in...and letting people help me with supportive words and encouragement. When I get it, it is such a lift to my spirit, yet I am stubborn and proud and don't want people to look at my baby like he is any different. And the thing is, since he's come home from Meridell, most, if not all people, wouldn't have a clue that he was anything different than a normal 5 year old kid. The mornings can be absolutely insane before the medication gets into his system...he is running and jumping and all over the place, but once he gets his medication...he's sweet and obedient...and my normal, sweet Eli.

We don't tell about his issues except to people close enough to us who watch him and would need to know of potential issues when we are away for an hour or two, or Sunday School teachers who might face an issue in the classroom. But all reports we've gotten back from everyone who has watched/taught him have been wonderful. He's making friends here in our neighborhood, he's obedient in class, he's kind to the other children...And to everyone else, he's just sweet, polite Eli. He says 'please' and 'thank-you'. He is considerate. And when he does have tantrums, he is much more obedient to go to time-out, hand toys over that he has lost priveledge of, and he can turn his behavior around and not let it ruin our whole day. We have made great progress.

And because of that...because of the strength I have found through my faith, family, and my well as the counselors and teachers at Meridell, I feel strong enough to open up this part of my life that I have tried to keep hidden for so long. The reason for that is because I realize I am NOT alone. There are so many families with this struggle. The latest statistic I read was that 87 children are diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum each and every day. So maybe my moments of weakness and pain could serve as encouragement to someone who is facing the same exact thing - every single day. So as of today, Eli's blog will become an open blog. If anyone can find hope through our story, then I will have found a bit of peace in knowing that there IS a purpose for this. Our Heavenly Father created my Eli, and he is perfect in his own way. I suppose the biggest struggle I deal with is learning how to cope and best help my special, precious Eli. And never forget that he is a gift. Because on the difficult days it's so much easier to ask "Why Me?" , instead of asking "What should I do...What does he need?".

To understand our story, if you are new to this blog, you have to start at the beginning...the very first post.
And to those of you who have been following...keep checking back. There is so much more in store for us... So with a deep breath...I now open up the blog...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ice Age III

Today the Autism Society of America (ASA) hosted a national movie day for kids on the spectrum. They did a special showing of Ice Age III, and made some changes for the kids to make them more comfortable. They didn't turn all the lights off, they allowed families to bring their own snacks, and the biggest one is that they turned the volume down to a level that is more comfortable for the kids.

I can't speak for all autistic kids, but I know a lot of them, including Eli, have very sensitive hearing. Sounds that are normal for us like traffic or a car horn, although they may be a bit startling to us, totally are overwhelming for some spectrum kids. Eli used to walk around a lot of places with his hands over his ears until we would tell him it was okay to uncover his ears. And I noticed a little boy who came in with his dad today was covering his ears in anticipation of the loud sound.

The ASA hosts these AMC movies once a month, and our first time at one was just a great experience. We left the movie with Eli talking about how he liked the sound and the lights, and it just made a difference for him. It was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to the next one.