Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday with Words: Look Me In The Eye


Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison is the autobiography of a man who grew up with Asperger's and didn't know it.  I have two family members with ASD now identified, and I'm trying to learn all I can about the condition  - the way they think, what they see differently, how they can learn to function better in society.  Hence, reading all the books I can get my hands on!  These was free via Kindle a while back, so you might want to check, if this interests you.

This book was interesting.  There is great detail about his childhood, sparser in the teen years, then again great detail about his working life.  He talks about how he saw the world, and how he thinks other people saw him, and how the difference between the two caused many relationship and understanding issues.  Like many people with Asperger's, he was gifted with electronics and had an interesting career, full of twists and turns.  He had a failed first marriage (also normal for Aspies - 80% of their marriages fail), but the second one seems like its still going well.  He had children, and when one of them was diagnosed, that's when he realized he had it, too!  (That is increasingly common these days, and similar to what happened in my house.)

I was engrossed in his story, and do think it worth the read if you have Aspie's in your circle of family or friends.  I didn't highlight anything until the Postscript:

If I had written my story at twenty-five instead of fifty, it would have been much drier and less emotional.
   I believe a similar evolution is evident in Temple Grandin's work (she's the author of Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation). In fact, she and I have discussed that very issue on several occasions.
   This insight was inspiring to me because it shows that our brains continue to develop throughout our lives. This is completely counter to what I've often heard but never accepted: "If you're autistic, you never change."  If I am any example, it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks.

Hope.  Change.  There is a future with ASD.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ALL the Therapies

Last month, I wrote about receiving the diagnoses.  I let it sink in, and started reading books (and websites, and Facebook pages, and blogs...) on all the various issues my son is facing.  I have learned a lot! I also started making the phone calls to start the various therapies that were recommended.

Vision therapy started last week to help correct his convergence insufficiency (CI).  The next 16 weeks will be pretty intense (out of town twice weekly, plus homework), but then it should be over for good.  In three weeks, he will start back to occupational therapy at the same place he went earlier this year, and also add pragmatic speech therapy (social skills).  This is only once a week, but for an indeterminate length of time - could be a year or more, now that the Boy is on an insurance that doesn't arbitrarily limit his visits (woohoo!).

Counseling starts soon - paperwork was filled out today, parent consult next week, then he will start sessions with a counselor who is used to ASD children.  This will help him cope and give us someone local to help guide us along this journey.  This clinic is growing and should be adding other useful opportunities for him in the future, such as social skills groups.

Tomorrow is another visit with the psychiatrist who started it all - all the referrals started with her.  Hopefully, we will get a genetic test (from GeneSite) back at the appointment that will help us know what medications work best with his body, in case we decide to go that route in the future.

Speaking of genetics - we did get one test back.  It was through LineGen and did show an abnormality!  That was a surprise.  He is being referred to a pediatric geneticist at some point so it can be explained, but the paperwork we were sent did a pretty good job.  Its interesting to see that other people with the same micro-deletions have a lot of similar issues, but not all.  My husband and I will likely be tested to see if we carry the same deletions, or if it was a fluke.

His sensory issues have been pretty mild this summer, since I've been focused on getting him plenty of exercise and time outdoors, and limiting school expectations.  (We've been plugging along our homeschool readings, typing and math games, and its been working really well.)  He has had friends over several time, and made new ones at the pool.  In less than a month, though, we will be back to full-time school!

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop -- a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it's like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!



Friday, June 19, 2015

How We Do Summer School

How we do summer school....well, this summer, anyway!  In summers past, I've continued the math program and copywork, as those are his weakest areas, but they are also hardest and cause the most anxiety.  After all the diagnoses he has received in the past month, and the recommendations he was given, I decided to try something different.

This year, I've stopped the math program for a while, and dropped copywork completely.  Instead, I'm keeping up the parts he enjoys and has the potential to make big gains in.  He enjoys the "readings" - history, literature, science - most of all.  He doesn't like narrating as much, but he knows it goes with the territory and doesn't fight it.  His regular volume of reading in the school year is Bible plus 3 other readings, so I've backed it down to 2.  It seems a good amount at this time.  

You can see the books we are using by looking at weeks 9-12 of Year 4.  We are in week 10 right now.

We are keeping up with typing, which he has finally started making regular progress in.  We are using the free website, Ratatype. which is simple and effective.  He used it 2-3 times a week during the school year, but I'm aiming for 4 or 5 times a week during the summer.  Knowing what I do now about his attention, speed and vision issues, its not surprising that the children's typing programs were too overwhelming.

We are also doing math facts, to try and solidify the multiplication tables that he has done so far.  I have been doing them aloud, and actually seeing some progress and retention since dropping the regular program.  Seems like less is more for him.  Anyway, I'll continue doing some out loud with him, but I found Mathbreakers early Tuesday, and immediately bought it.  He spent several hours on it in 2 days and finished the Addition segment!  He really is enjoying it, and doesn't think its "school", which means he will naturally spend more time doing it. He can move on to multiplication, fractions, operators, and more!

In addition to  the above, we are still listening to our folk, hymn, and composer songs, although not as regularly.  I gave up reading Richard the II (Shakespeare) and we will watch it on YouTube.  I like this version because it has the words on the screen.

Recent homeschool group trip to Bernheim Forest

I'll try to work in some more Plutarch - we've stalled on  Timoleon, as its the first full Life we've attempted.  I regret that working in memory work, poetry and a few other riches isn't happening, but I am glad to have more time outside, with friends, and at the water park.  A few weeks of relaxing and living a slower pace before all the therapies begin is just what the doctor ordered.

Besides, we have a new kitten, Moxie, and she needs "lots of lovins", I'm told.