The Shoes

Amidst all my praise for all the progress Roger has made, there is one area in which he has not improved.  It’s his feet.  When he was little, Roger never wanted to be barefoot.  Then, there were a couple of years that Roger would only wear rain boots.  It was when he was 3-5 years old.  Any other shoes would cause him to meltdown.

Sneakers have been really tricky.  We used to be able to do Velcro sneakers.  But, alas, the Velcro starts to be less effective/less sticky and Roger would meltdown trying to reattach the Velcro over and over again.  We decided, since the Velcro were never tight enough, to do lace up sneakers.  He has been using lace up sneakers since he’s been in baseball.  That was how we got him out of rain boots for one day a week — he had to wear sneakers if he wanted to play baseball.  Thankfully, he eventually gave up the rain boots and will wear either sneakers (for school and baseball) or flip-flops.

Every morning has gotten increasingly worse since spring break.  It used to be tying his shoes 2, maybe three times, for him to be okay with them, for the shoes to be tight enough for him.  This morning I tied his shoes five or six times before we left for school.  He was in tears, screaming and hitting his head.  They still did not feel right to him.  I told him we had to leave or he’d be late.  Once we got to his school, he asked me to tie them one last time.  I did.

It’s so heartbreaking to see my son react like that.  When he was younger, he had many more meltdowns and would hit his head.  He outgrew/out-therapied the majority of that.  It’s just the damn shoe issue that keeps rearing it’s ugly head.  It will subside for a bit and then get ridiculous, and then subside, and then get out of hand again.  I am wondering if it is linked to anxiety.  Obviously there is a sensory component but for it to flare up, I think there is something else going on: anxiety, OCD, control issues.  These are the only times he gets violent — recently with hitting himself in the head and in the past (January 2018) with him hitting his head into my back.

Tomorrow he has baseball and I know the shoe tying will be a nightmare in the morning.  He’s also informed me that he is getting a small hole in the toe of his shoe and that he wants to buy new sneakers tomorrow.  Oh boy, sneaker shopping with Roger is a whole other story!

I look forward to Sunday when he can wear his flip-flops.

April

April is an interesting month.  It is Autism Awareness month which really makes me reflect on Roger’s progress, how proud I am of him, and how thankful of the opportunities we have had in the past 7 years.  As Dr. Wooten proclaimed, my clinically diagnosed OCD is really helpful for my researching the best therapies for Roger, school districts, activities, and insurance policies.

Roger’s  annual ARD is in April, which is really apropos.  His goals went from many to few.  He is hitting most of his grade level work and exceeding it in DRA (reading levels) and Istation.  Due to hyperflexion of his thumb, he will remain in school OT for once a week and eventually be moved to once every other week.  We are lucky, since OT is usually the first in-school therapy that is dismissed.  He will remain in speech twice a week mainly due to his lisp.  He will get 30 minutes of handwriting help and 60 minutes of reading comprehension help per week with the special education teacher.

Outside of school therapies, Roger’s private therapies have dwindled to only occupational therapy once a week.  He could use food therapy, since his food is still so limited, but he really does not want to go back to food therapy.  Up until this year, Roger had private therapies 4 days a week.  I really do not wish to add back therapy at this point and really think Roger has worked hard enough (and still is working harder than most kids).  Academically, I found a tutor for Roger in reading comprehension that he sees once  a week at the library.  At this point, he really enjoys the tutoring, especially since he gets to raid the juvenile biography section of the library afterwards!

Besides therapy, Roger is in a few extra-curricular activities.  He has swim lessons (he has advanced from Level 3 where he would not put his head under water up to Level 7 in less than a year), goes to School of Rock, and is in special needs baseball.

It is amazing to see Roger bloom and have such strong interests is music, scientists/inventors, and death.  Yes, my son is obsessed with when people died.  He watches YouTube videos on famous people who have died and asks all about them.  He is full of facts about history.  He is so talkative and loving.  Who could’ve know that my son who had so few words and hated to be touched would grow into such a person?

Simply, my son is extraordinary!

To see tidbits about how Roger was when little, I started this blog when his therapies began.  Start with the oldest blog and work your way through (if you want — I know I may do so just as a reminder).
https://wordpress.com/post/leahbisrael.com/9
https://wordpress.com/post/leahbisrael.com/11

 

 

The Mind

Despite my sleep deprivation, we had a fabulous Sunday at Fort Worth Zoo.  The weather was perfect and the animals were mainly awake and visible.  The last time we went to this zoo, Roger was three years old and not at all interested in the animals.  His autism made him only interested in fans, the train, and other inanimate objects.  This time he had more interest in the animals but really was interested in the dates on plaques.  His brain must be filled with pages of dates.  According to him, he takes pictures in his mind that he pulls up when he talks about specific people in history.  He will be looking at a book and if he needs to put it down to go to a class or therapy, he says he has to first take pictures with his mind.  It is so interesting to hear him vocalize how his mind works.

Yesterday and today were days to get back into the regular routine of school and work.  I am adjusting better to life in my upstairs office, although I still have hiccups that require almost daily calls with IT.  I am still trying to figure out the balance of housework, Roger’s therapies/classes, trying to exercise, and my job.  I have decided to let some things I wanted to be weekly to go on a bi-weekly schedule.  I think that may help out my stress level.  I have also asked Rob to take over Roger’s after school schedule every other Wednesday so I can deep clean the kitchen and bathroom.  It may not be exciting to you, but it’s been plaguing my mind.

I wish my mind was filled with pictures that I pull up, rather than lists of scheduled activities!

Unintentional Hiatus

I have a few minutes and due to today’s “dusting accident” I cannot lounge in my comfy chair.  Stuck upright, I decided to blog.  I cannot believe the last day I blogged was February 9th – 18 days ago.

There have been quite a few changes since that time.  Let me pause and see what was happening on the 9th and I will see what I was doing then and comment on the changes.

Well, that wasn’t the most exciting of blog posts…not sure this will be either!  Well, my husband gave notice at his job and has been working from home as an independent artist since February 19th.  We are into the second week and things are going considerably better than I thought.  Work has been considerably busier than usual due to a huge yearly project.  It is nice having that workload, actually.  It makes the day move faster and I think it made the transition easier having my husband home with me.

Mental health wise:  I had my second appointment with the therapist and was not as thrilled as I was the first meeting.  There is no stress management plan in the works.  I think I need to “stress” that at our next appointment on March 6th. (ba-dum-ch)

Physical health wise:  The past few weeks my elbow has been killing me (where I had ulnar nerve surgery).  Last week I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  She believes the pain is stemming from my cervical issues.  She used a water hose in describing the “Double crush syndrome” with the ulnar nerve and my cervical issues.  Two people are stepping on a water hose, when one person steps off, the water may flow, but it still needs to get around the second blockage.  My neck and elbow were both crushing the nerve.  One blockage has been taken care of but my discs may be pressing on my nerve as well.  I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday to discuss, yet another, cervical epidural with the pain doctor.  I guess while I am there I will discuss my dusting incident.  I was enjoying dusting upstairs, twisted wrong (I guess) and sharp pain in my lower left back down my left leg.  Tried meds, icing, hot bath, and it still hurts.  Guess it was a good thing Rob works from home and could pick Roger up!

Roger wise:  Roger was accepted into the STEM Academy at Donald Elementary for 2nd grade.  We applied because it sounded awesome, but we knew the odds were low — about 450 families applied for 80/90 seats (20-25 students for each grade K-3).  The decision to go would be made on the off-chance Roger got selected.  I reached out to Roger’s past BCBA, his special education teacher, his long-term substitute teacher, and his principal asking their advice.  Basically, they all agreed that Roger was a “hands-on” learner and would excel in an learning environment that was 50% hands-on.  We always have the option to return to his neighborhood school.  Roger will be going!

Here’s hoping I will be writing more and in less pain!

Happy Friday!

Today has been a good day.  That is, mainly, thanks to a great first session with a new therapist in Denton.  I knew checking her FB and seeing her being a fan of Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” was a good indicator.

One of the issues with therapy is usually when you find you have nothing to talk about.  Today, we gabbed and I could’ve talked more.  One of our topics of discussion was the prevalence of religion and high-maintenance individuals in the surrounding areas.  She understood why, once going to the neighborhood school, my stress-level and anxiety went up.  She said she was told to try a Brownie troop for her daughter and it had many girls in my neighborhood (this was about 5 years ago).  She said the girls and the parents were very entitled and, downright, rude to her and her daughter, especially since they were not religious.  This makes me want to rebel in the opposite direction and show my opposition to the hypocrisy of most religious zealots.  However, that is not my main focus, but it could be a fun side-project.

I am looking forward to my next visit in 10 days.  I woke up excited to try a new therapist and left looking forward to going back.  One cannot ask for more!

Freezing

Today is not the coldest day we have had this winter.  However, for some reason, I cannot get the chill out of my bones.  I have to take Roger to a swimming lesson later and all I dream of is taking a hot bath and going under the covers!  I am done accomplishing anything today, except for body heat generation.

I had a nice teacher meeting with the long-term substitute (who is a retired teacher).  She told me how fantastic Roger is, how intelligent, and thoughtful he is.  It was great to hear.  She has no concerns about him.  Who knew he would be so well-adjusted when we started this autism journey?  Sure, we still have our daily shoe torture, but the pluses outweigh the minuses by far!  I am so proud of him.  At 7, he has worked harder than most adults I know.  He has his school therapies, his private therapies, and his other lessons.  He is definitely not a quitter and full of love.  I think we have produced a far better person than either Rob or I am singularly — that is the goal of reproduction, eh?

Funny, spending those few minutes reflecting on Roger helped me deflect my fixating on how cold I am.  I no longer feel so cold.  I am sure I will have a different mindset once I return from my walk to pick Roger up from school and back!

Last week and new beginnings this week

Last week was a really tough week.  My mood was incredibly low, as was my patience.  There were many stressors in regards to deliveries, appointments, and feedback (or lack thereof) in regards to Roger’s academic progress.  My week was filled with many thoughts all over the place and total lack of focus.

Today I have decided to try and get back into the swing of things.  This is a theme of my life:  out-of-whack week followed by an in-focus week (or attempt to that).  So, today I have focused on work, exercise, my weekly schedule (and Roger’s), and some laundry and garbage chores.

Today, I had a podiatrist appointment (I need orthotics due to some feet issues).  He politely stressed that I need to be healthier.  I couldn’t agree more.  I am hoping my motivation can remain.  It comes and goes so quickly!

I have a new therapist appointment on Friday of this week.  She is a “psychotherapist”.  I am not sure how different that is from the counseling I have received in the past.  I hope this time I “click” with the therapist.  I always do some on-line research when I make appointments.  On FB, I saw that she “liked” the God Delusion, so that is a positive to me!