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.


At 11:24 PM, Blogger Bea said...

Congratulations !!! Thats so great!!I love the progressreport!!Jacob has come so far!!!
I will see you at you other blog!!
Thanks for all the great updates.

At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations - you must feel fantastic. I've been lurking for a while, learning a lot from your stories (I'm a special educator from Australia). Your achievements have been really inspiring.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just amazing news. Thanks for the blog. It's been an amazing resource and the one I recommend to people who want to learn about RDI.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Aspergertopia said...

Wow, I am a little misty, happy misty. I feel fortunate to have found your blog and have enjoyed riding along with you on your journey. You are such an inspiration. When I come here and to your other blog, I get such a boost, motivation and confidence to keep going.

Thank you. See you at your other blog!


At 4:50 PM, Blogger Helen G said...

thanks so much for this blog - we are just coming to do first RDA and this has been great .Helen .

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am excited for you and a little jealous. It's funny, I have a feeling we won't be doing RDI after next year either.I want to take a good look at the new OS and get a feel for it and then make a decision. Again. Congrats

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Willa said...

I will miss this blog! It's one of my favorites. Glad to see that everything is going so well these days, though.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Alex & Javier said...

I am very happy for you, for your family and for Jacob that you have reached this point in your life. You and many other moms (and dads) fighting really hard to "recover" their kids have been my inspiration. I have been reading your blog for quite some time and I look forward to starting the new journey with you on your other blog. Take care.


At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Count me in as another one with misty eyes!
Potty Trained, dry nights
Trying out new foods
Off Glycolax
Taking lessons solo
Not getting caught up in mishaps, but instead moving on
Getting a haircut w/ no problem

Fantastic! Awesome! Phenomenal!
Go Jacob!

This is one of the most awesomest (is that a word? lol) posts EVER! My prayer is that every child gets back to a natural/proper developmental path as Jacob's on. And I pray that you're able to find peace finally and leave behind the constant worrying about development that can take over one's entire being.... and simply enjoy you're little boy before he's one no longer.
Take care and thanks for sharing your journey.
Wishing you the very best
;-) smiling huge here!

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous kyra said...

yay!! congratulations my dear!! i am crying over here. i am so moved by your story, by jacob's story, and by this new start. thank you for your clarity, energy, enthusiasm and all these wonderful stories and insights.

and go jacob in the new big boy undies!!!

i'll see you over at your homeschooling blog!
much xxxxx

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous Malar said...

Congratualtions to both Jacob and to you. Its heartenning to read how far Jacob has come... :-). Your posts have been inspiring and motivating.


At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog since shortly after you started, but took a break as I took a break from my remediation program. I started it again recently and I want you to know you are an inspiration to me. Congratulations on your hard won accomplishments!
Thank you for creating this blog. And count me in for the teary eyed contingent.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Dadof6Autistickids said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Maddy said...

Pasture new, has always got to be a good choice.
Best wishes

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Emma said...

I just found your blog and read back through your earliest posts about your dear son. It was like reading my own (still in my head) story of our family's autism journey. Like almost EXACTLY the same. 2 boys, older is autistic, younger is not. Your description of The Storm was just extraordinary....we had the exact same experience after the birth of our 2nd, typically developing son. One of my theories is that I was my son's full-time round-the clock therapist and he lost that when baby brother came along.
I have so much to write, but wanted to let you know how much it meant to read this and how grateful I am to you for taking the time to write it. My little guy is 4.5 years old and we had the official diagnosis almost a year ago. Been doing our own mish-mash of ABA, OT, ST, etc..... mostly because that is what the insurance will pay for, but am seriously inspired to take a strong look at RDI. It rings so true to me and sounds like a better mesh with my parenting style.
anyway, too late, must sleep but I just had to write

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did that conversation with the RDI consultant go this summer? Would love an update...

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Harvest Mom said...

We haven't actually felt the need to consult with our former RDI Program Consultant -- we are currently working with a fabulous SLP who is intuitively very RDI-friendly, so what we're doing with her is very supportive of continuing to address areas of challenge with an RDI-type flair. For updates on the sorts of things we've been up to, please check in on my other blog, Along The Crooked Path.

Thanks for asking! :-)

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Jill Escher said...

Please consider writing a book about your experience. The blog is truly outstanding but your insights and experiences deserve a wider audience.


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