It's been quite the morning, between the rain and the IEP meeting out at teach and picking up Julien early. I'm still kind of processing it all and feeling a fair amount of trepidation but also excitement about Victor and school.

Read more... )
thursdays_child: (Vic: Snow)
( Jan. 30th, 2009 03:41 pm)
Victor came charging up the driveway just now, jumping over ice and snow and kicking at piles of slush.

Good things )
thursdays_child: (Election 08: Hope)
( Jan. 26th, 2009 05:21 pm)
Through my dad, I got a link to Obama's Disability Agenda. Included is a four-part plan for addressing Autism Spectrum Disorders. You can read the whole Agenda here:

The fourth part is the one that made me burst into tears just now though:

Fourth, President Obama and Vice President Biden support universal screening of all infants and re-screening for all two-year-olds, the age at which some conditions, including ASD, begin to appear. These screenings will be safe and secure, and available for every American that wants them. Screening is essential so that disabilities can be identified early enough for those children and families to get the supports and services they need.

If only. If only. If only.

But if this is put into place, maybe other families won't have to go through the unknown the way we did. Vic was still caught pretty early on, but what if he'd started some of the behavioral therapies when he was 2 or 3?


That definitely gets a big cheer from me.
thursdays_child: (Vic: Smile)
( Jan. 9th, 2009 03:26 pm)
Going back to school on Monday and Tuesday was tough for Vic but he managed it.
Doing his homework the rest of the week was also tough but he made up for it by doing his work during Homework Club and didn't lose any points for having not done it at home.

He had an unsatisfactory on Monday, a good on Tuesday and the rest of the week has been outstandings every day.

Today he brought home his spelling quiz. He got 100%.

I could cry for joy I really could. Before the holiday, he got a 0% on his first quiz.

Now just a few short weeks later, he aced the whole thing. And I thought he was only copying the words and didn't know how to sound them out and wouldn't be able to do it.

I was so, so, so wrong and this is tangible proof that yes, he can DO THIS. He can do school.

He just has to have the right environment and he is finally, FINALLY, where he needs to be.

I'm taking him over to CVS to get him a prize for that perfect score.
thursdays_child: (Dragon)
( Dec. 16th, 2008 09:19 am)
Standing out in the bluster this morning, I waited with hands in pockets with Julien beside me observing his big brother.
Saying good bye in the morning )
This entry was selected as a "Best of Holidailies" entry for Holidailies 2008. Thank you reader's panel!

It's 6:45am and the alarm is going off. Sabs is up and taking a shower and running the clothes through the dryer to warm them for the kids.

Day in the life ... )
thursdays_child: (Vic: Autism)
( Dec. 13th, 2008 05:37 pm)
Reward Chart )
thursdays_child: (Vic: Autism)
( Nov. 11th, 2008 10:52 am)
Well. Vic starts at the TEACH program on Monday. All fingers crossed.

The classroom was set up similarly to the program he was in in California. The way it's structured is also similar with everything integrated except for particular special needs that need to be done individually.

The doctor we talked to paid attention and connected the dots, in my view, correctly.

It just felt right.

It's a long ride away for Vic but as long as they have a yellow school bus I think he'll be okay. Still. We need to get him a nose-clip for that ride out to Coatesville.

I have hope.
thursdays_child: (Vic: Autism)
( Oct. 20th, 2008 10:10 pm)
There's a line in this article that just ... resonated a lot with me.

"You meet one child with autism, and well, you've met one child with autism." (Linda Brandenburg, Directory of School Autism Services, Kennedy Krieger Institute)

The opening of the article is both frightening and heart-achingly familiar.

Victor could be like one of those boys in a few years.

Latest in our adventures with Vic's schooling: his teachers are recommending that he leave the Autism Support program and enter the Emotional Support program instead because they feel that most of his issues are behavioral and anything autism-related is relatively mild.

More under cut )
This article about a kindergartener being 'voted off the island' by his class kind of hit a nerve today.

Vic wasn't voted out by his peers, but he was essentially, removed from his mainstream kindergarten class because of his behaviors. Voted off the island by his teachers. And by us, because in the end we supported the decision.

I'm still mulling the article through and just thinking about Vic in general as this school year closes and he continues to fight getting on the bus in the morning and having 45-minute meltdowns almost daily in school but is largely fine at home.

Bright Sun At the Game
Originally uploaded by littleowl.
Last week, we went to the Phillies v. Mets game on Autism Alliance Day. Vic did pretty well at the game, started to melt down a little around the edges 2 hours in. I distracted him with his L-Max so Dad and I got to see through the end of the 6th inning.

I took this shot during the time when Vic was starting to get tired of the noise and bright sun and being away from home. He just sat on the steps, closed his eyes and took a little break all on his own.

There's just something about his face that made my heart squeeze up.
thursdays_child: (Mama)
( Apr. 6th, 2007 09:28 am)
Putting this up publicly for those who might have read the other entry and be wondering what's up.

Vic will be starting Special Ed Pre-K, Occupational Therapy for his sensory issues and a more rigorous Speech program at the local elementary school starting on April 23rd.

Kudos to the Mount Diablo Unified School District Pre-K Intake Center for turning this around so quickly so we can get Vic the help that he needs as soon as possible.
thursdays_child: (Mama)
( Mar. 29th, 2007 11:23 am)
Today we were supposed to have an IEP (Integrated Education Plan) meeting with the school district's assessment center for Vic. However, yesterday, the psychologist heading up the team called and said that she wanted to rework this meeting into a parent conference instead to review their findings.

My stomach sort of fell to my knees when Sabs let me know, but I tried to put it out of my mind yesterday and just get through things until today.

The meeting was at 8am this morning, we were about 5 minutes late and it wound up lasting almost 2 hours because there was a lot to talk about.

I'll cut right to the chase.

Their assessment is that Vic falls on the Autism Spectrum either with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) or High Functioning Autism (HFA). (Generally speaking, the description of PDD at Wikipedia pretty much describes Vic's symptoms very well.)

His scores and his combination of symptoms put him right on the line for qualification on the Autism Spectrum, so his is a very mild expression of the disorder.

They feel that with continued therapy and continued early intervention and education for him and for us, that he should be able to join a normal first grade class on time with his age group, though he will likely continue to need additional special education services to support his educational needs. Among those will be ongoing speech therapy to help him overcome his communication difficulties, particularly receptive communication and potentially other services such as special classes etc.

My brain is still processing through all of this, but the overwhelming emotions I feel right now are relief and a touch of sadness.

Relief because his monster, to borrow a term from Rob, has a name and a shape now and that makes us better able to fight it. Sadness because the monster is real and has been living with us all along, shadowy and indistinct, preying on my son's well-being.

I am very grateful to Vic's teachers at Love & Care, especially Valerie who was his 3s room teacher, for spotting the differences in his behavior and guiding us towards the support services provided by the school district.

I also feel vindicated and validated by the assessment. We always knew there was something just a little bit special about Vic, but we couldn't quite put our finger on what it was.

He's not spoiled, he's not difficult, he's just a little different and our instinct to treat him gently, patiently and to find ways to reach him that aren't "mainstream" were absolutely right on the money. I lift a big fat middle finger to the original behavior specialist who assessed Victor when he was 2 for implying that Victor's problems were related to lack of firm discipline on our part. Screw you Mr. Behaviorist, you were wrong.

From here we get to embark on a whole new road to help Victor to be happy and capable.
He'll be leaving Love & Care next week and going to Julien's day care, then starting Special Ed Pre-K classes within the month and benefiting from free transport to and from Pre-K to day care.

He'll finally really be getting the help he needs and we'll be saving a ton of money by not having to pay for preschool anymore. We're planning to reinvest that money into gymnastics and martial arts classes for him because he loves gym and we suspect he'd love to learn a martial art. We'll also sock some of the money away into savings for the upcoming move.

As terrifying as it is to have someone tell you your child is autistic, right now, I have nothing but hope for the future.

Victor is bright, funny, athletic, caring, cute and full of laughter. He just needs slightly better armor and a new sword to fight off the dragons in his head.


thursdays_child: (Default)


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