Reading the Social Cues

“I don’t think she understands me Mommy.” That was the beginning of an unexpected conversation last night.  Johnny has some friends at school that he’ll play with when he wants to play and usually most of them are girls. So immediately he had my attention when I heard this because of the fact that he was…

Speech Therapist Surprise

    Today I’m speechless.  A speech pathologist from the school board who has accompanied some of my son’s regular Autism SLP visit a number of times commented about how incredible he’s doing and she how she can’t get over the leap he’s made with regards to speech. I am very happy about this but at…

How Do You Know If I Can Read?  REDUX

  or….The Argument For More Motor Speech Therapy.   Last year when Johnny was in Grade 2,  I wrote about how important it was for him to get more specialized speech therapy so that he can learn to read orally. How could he sound out letters orally if his motor speech delay literally made it…

Showing What You Know

Every year I have to attend an official placement review committee (IPRC) meeting regarding Johnny’s status in special education.  Lots of good things were discussed but one thing really bothered me.  I was told that Johnny’s reading level is at around mid-Grade 1 level even though he’s in Grade 3.  I wanted to remind teachers…

When Everyone Is Not On Board

An early childhood educator told me this one very particularly frustrating day: “There are going to be well meaning professionals in your son’s life that will help him move forward and others who will only hold him back if you let them.   My advice to you is to keep the ones who “get” Johnny…

Past Triumphs….Let The Words Begin

  Some children who are Autistic are verbal and others never become speakers.  This is one of the harder parts of being a parent raising a child on the spectrum.  As parents, we need to be able to communicate to our child as we raise them so being told during a diagnosis that your child…

Autism Symptoms Now….four years later.

Johnny is 7-1/2 years old now and we cannot believe that 4 years have passed already.  So many hours of speech therapy, OT therapy and then attending parent training courses as well.  I want to make it clear that my son will always be Autistic and as parents we have come to accept that.  So when…

Adamant About Math

I received an email from Johnny’s Special Education teacher yesterday who teaches him in the Autism ISP room. “Yesterday for Math,  Johnny was ADAMANT that he wanted to stay in Mrs. ********’s class for Math.  Her and I looked at each other and she said to Johnny that if he was quiet, listened and participated he…

He’s a BAD boy

Originally posted on Everything Under the Sun:
? ? “He’s a BAD boy” the little girl in Johnny’s class says very loudly while we are all sitting around the lunch tables at the Pumpkin Patch farm. Silence. Who is she talking about? I look over at Johnny who is happily sitting at the lunch table…

Its Simple Just Comment And…..Wait!

Johnny is speaking very differently in different situations and depending on who he is with.  When Johnny is comfortable he speaks in complex sentences, often starts a conversation, and speaks clearly enough to be understood much of the time.  When he’s uncomfortable like in when he’s with his peers or in the classroom, he becomes  very quiet,…

If You Can’t Talk Do You Understand? If You Don’t Talk….

  Is speaking words by using your mouth a true measure of our  level of understanding?  If we have challenges doing oral reading does it mean we cannot read?  If we only answer questions with yes or no responses or with three word sentences does it mean we are not capable of more?  If it takes…

Happy Birthday My Little Guy

  Johnny turned seven years old last weekend. This year he told me that he wanted a birthday party, cake, decorations and games like I did for his little sister’s birthday. When his sister asked him who he wanted to invite he said “you Princess are invited, Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa.” Princess…

Looking Back At Speech Therapy

  I’ve been reading about other parent’s journeys with their children and navigating the system to access help for their child who they suspect has developmental delays.   I became reflective about the beginnings of our journey with Johnny.   Looking back at when Johnny was assessed for his speech delay at 2-1/2 he was not a happy…

Letter To New Grade 1 Teacher

I thought I’d share on my blog what I wrote to Johnny’s New Grade 1 teacher. It really gives a snapshot of his journey and where he is now. Dear Ms. ******, First I’d like to welcome you and I’m looking forward to meeting you. I am sure that Ms. ******, the EA, has been…

What We Did In The Kindergarten Years

A few weeks ago I was asked to be part of a workshop for parents of special needs children specifically Autism regarding the transition from preschool to kindergarden at Johnny’s former preschool.  I wrote about it here http://wp.me/p1KVmo-1xT  and here http://wp.me/p1KVmo-1y5 I’ve had a few questions over the last 2 years about this on my blog…

Look What I Found In His Back Pack!

Look what was inside Johnny’s school bag today!!! An iPad to use at school!!!  2 years of advocating relentlessly to the school, Autism School Services, and to the School Board with Daddy attending monthly Special Services School Board meetings for one year getting to know department chiefs by their first name and making sure they knew…

Is A Name Important?

John or Johnny?  Princess, Johnny’s 3 year old little sister has been bringing this up a lot to me recently.  At her preschool some of the children class are calling her ***** and she has been telling her teachers and peers , “My name is Princess not *****.”  She has mentioned to me before when we have…

Sunshine calls, Unexpected Advocacy, and….French

I get a “sunshine call” from Johnny’s Autism teacher every Friday to let me know how Johnny’s week has been.   He has been doing SUPER WELL even though his Daddy has been away on business and he has been working very hard.  Johnny even brought tears to the teacher’s eyes because he saw Johnny interact with…

The Berry Juice

Johnny was requesting orange juice this morning when he opened the fridge to get it for us.  He saw the berry juice and decided he wanted it and was going to lift the heavy container out of the fridge and suddenly stopped and put it back in. “I spilled berry juice all over the kitchen…

The Reflector

“Mommy I want the orange reflector.  Mommy will find it.” I stopped and had that moment of panic inside where I have heard what he said but I have no idea what he is referring to.  I do not want to frustrate Johnny so hence the panic because I can tell this is important to…

Who’s the little….

Walking home today after a bittersweet afternoon saying goodbye to a wonderful Occupational Therapist who was moving away who is dear to Johnny topped off by a visit to a new neighborhood frozen yogurt shop this happened: I started singing this little song i invented, “Who’s the little girl that we love so much……” I…

What Changed? It Was More Than Words ….

When Johnny was 3-1/2 and was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, he began to start to say a few words again. We were very excited but after two blocks of 10 weeks of speech therapy provided by community health we felt like Johnny was at a stand still. The SLP’s meant well and were trying…

Let the words begin….

Originally posted on Everything Under the Sun:
One year ago today Johnny began using words again when he requested what he wanted. At around 16 to 18 months Johnny lost any language he had learned and only used grunts and pointing to communicate. Imagine hearing your child say “Mama” “Da Da” at the typical times of…

Communication Goes “Both” Ways

When Johnny first started going to Junior Kindergarten I wrote about the “communication gap” that happens between the classroom experience and home here:  https://sunflowercyn.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/what-id-like-to-hear-the-most/  What do you do when you have a child who is essentially non-verbal but who communicates with gestures, some sign language,  and some word approximations and you want to know about…

What I’d like to hear the most

Originally posted on Everything Under the Sun:
What did you do at school today? Did you have fun? What made you laugh? What did you not like? Who are you friends with? Why are you sad when I ask this question? We always feel like we are starving for any scraps of info about what…

Joint Attention Is The Golden Nugget

“Joint attention is the shared focus of two individuals on an object. It is achieved when one individual alerts another to an object by means of eye-gazing, pointing or other verbal or non-verbal indications. An individual gazes at another individual, points to an object and then returns their gaze to the individual.” What if your…

Johnny has come a long way….

Originally posted on Everything Under the Sun:
  ~ originally written August 2011 It’s been a long time since I wrote an update on our journey with Johnny. Special Pre-school: Johnny really enjoyed his time at the preschool we sent him to. They had volunteers working with him one on one everyday in a happy,…