Friday, July 13, 2007

moving on

It has come to my attention that the amazing "firsts" and incredible progress stories have turned into a regular thing for us lately. Small bits of development has become the norm, things that we used to consider amazing developmental leaps are now just ordinary daily occurances.

Jacob's taking swimming lessons. I didn't tell the instructor (or anyone when I signed him up) that he has Autism or any special needs at all. It's been one full week into a four week set of classes, and the instructor hasn't said a word to me about him. Just the same smile and hello that every other parent gets, the same wave across the beach to acknowledge I'm there waiting for him at the end of class. I've stopped expecting her to accompany him across the sands to chat with me about concerns or ask for strategies. It's obviously just not going to happen. So I signed him up for a couple of museum classes, with no intention of saying anything to them either.

He's become mobile in the water, comfortable now to lie across his boogie board and paddle. Today he fell off and into the water completely, head and all. He came up panicked, then realized he was intact and smiled and said "That was easy!" got back on and paddled off.

He's trying at least one new food a week. He doesn't like most of them, but he's giving me the benefit of the doubt now when I say that he might like something. He's tolerating peanutbutter sitting next to him.

We went underwear shopping today because he's outgrown the size we started fiddling around with, and, well, he needs underwear. Because he's potty trained. 100% no accidents, not even at night, in 20 days. Probably longer. We have a 50-day sticker chart set up, but as soon as his reward (the coveted Jaba The Hut Sail Barge lego set) comes in, we'll fill that chart with the rest of the stars, hand out the prize, and be done with sticker charts and potty training schemes. We're out of pullups and we don't care. We've even gone so far as to discontinue the Glycolax he's been on for the past couple of years. He just doesn't seem to need it anymore.

Today I walked into a hairdresser with my kids, and BOTH of them had their hair washed by her, and then cut by her. Jacob had his hair washed. At the hairdresser's. And then she offered to cut his hair. And he said YES. And let her do it. And I stood by in shock and amazement and awe and numbness. There were no tears (well not from him! I was a little misty), there was no trauma, there was no resistance. There was just this really cute kid getting his hair cut, chatting with the hairdresser, flinching a bit at the "hard parts" (like around his ear), but patting himself on the back for getting through it.

I think we're there. I mean, I don't think he's "recovered" (whatever that means). But I think we're back on the proper developmental path. He hasn't "caught up" to his same-aged peers, and there's plenty of development left to happen, but I think we can start letting it happen on it's own, in a natural manner. No more video tapes and constant monitoring and checking off objectives. Let's just give the boy a chance and see what he can do on his own.

I take this step with the full confidence of knowing that we're supported by a really great curriculum. The Enki Education homeschooling plan fits our needs perfectly -- a nourishing, sensory-rich curriculum with an empahsis on comprehension and natural child development. It's a curriculum that promotes letting kids "mess around" with just being a kid, which is exactly what he needs. He's had too many of his years unable to do that, now that he can, I want to give him the time and the space to explore that. I don't want to rush him through something that I strongly feel is so important.

So, with our consultant's approval, we're putting RDI to rest for the coming school year. Next summer, I'll pick up the phone and give her a call. We can take a look at the objectives, figure out where he's at, see where he's come on his own, determine if he needs any help to progress with what's left. If the answer is yes, then we'll pick up again and focus for awhile longer on guiding his development step-by-step, nudging him back onto that natural developmental trail that we've now blazed for him. If the answer is no, that he's obviously moving along on his own at a natural rate, we'll close the book entirely and continue onward.

And I'm moving on myself, to only blogging over at Along The Crooked Path. I'm leaving this blog intact, as a resource if anyone should need it, and as a scrapbook of how far we've come. But I'm done posting here. If you want to see what we're up to, you know where to find us.

I want to thank each and every one of you who has ever read this blog, left a comment, or sent a word of encouragement. I wish the very best for all of you on your own journeys, and hope that sunshine lights the path ahead of you.

We may be done with this leg of our adventure, but really, our journey has just begun.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"I love it!"

Words that are music to my ears! Jacob tried a new kind of ice cream treat from the ice cream truck at the lake, and declared victory. A red letter day for us!

Some day I'm going to look back on posts like this and laugh that I was so excited about him agreeing to eat junk food...but for now I'll take what little victories I can and slowly build the memories of trying and liking new foods.