a little background

hi, my name is mandy and I have two amazing little boys. My oldest son, Ty, has been diagnosed with autism (which is what you will read most about in this blog); I also have Tripp, who is an amazing little brother to Ty (who you will also hear alot about). I was encouraged to start this blog to document our journey through life and life with autism... my world has been rocked in last few years and i have responded in good ways and bad ... but Jesus has gotten me through all of it...

i hope i can be an encouragement to you, and for the friends and family that will read this - maybe this will keep you posted indepth on what Ty is learning! :) and the adventures of Tripp too

thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, comments or smart remarks; feel free to post them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New places ...

Well I can't express how excited I am at this moment! Ty has been accepted to The Children's Center at The University of Southern Mississippi! This is a place that I did not know existed until this year and I put Ty on the waiting list and it seems like in just moments he was in (it took a month or two - and I know that is really fast but it seemed like it would never come... but now that we are here it seems like the time just flew by).
I kept in touch with one of the therapists at the Children's Center via email and she was very sweet and willing to answer all of my questions - not only about their center but also about Ty's therapy in general and she gave me insight and advice on different things and I was just yearning for the day that he could have a chance to work with this amazing group of people. People who genuinely care about my child and his well-being without even meeting him?! People who are willing to communicate with you about therapy for a child that they were not treating - really shows me that they are in this business for the right reasons.

So when I got the call that they wanted to evaluate Ty and she asked "when would be a good day & time" all I could say was "anyday, anytime, anywhere" (for those football fans you get this) but this really was my exact response :) So last friday Ty and I made a trip to USM; after & during his eval the coordinator came in to let me know how things worked, asked if I was ok with everything & that he would be starting Tuesday (which was yesterday) and I could barely sit in my seat, I wanted to jump up and hug the lady but I didn't want her to think I was crazy so I just said "ok great" as if I knew what was going on... but the truth is I didnt. I was under the impression that it was just an eval and then we would go from there... and part of me wanted to think it would be that easy but there was still a little doubt in the back of my mind, and I thought there was still a chance that they would have wait to place him. Come to find out - they created a group for Ty and another child.  Did they already have this in the works? Bc after their summer evals I was told that he would remain on the waiting list (which I was fine with) and then I started to wonder if my connections made an impression and thats why he got in... or maybe they fell in love with Ty from the picture I showed them? maybe they decided that since they were already emailing me then why not work with my son??? whatever the reason I will never know ... but the bible says "i know the plans i have for you says the Lord..." - yes Lord you do - and I see that now ... but i sure haven't always seen that.... and some days I still wonder.... but on that day... there was no doubt that I knew God had a plan!

So now what - well he had his first day of therapy yesterday, and that was fun! well it was fun for me and Ty is still learning who these people are and what they expect from him - but it was fun to watch him test his new therapists. They dont know what all he can do so as I am watching therapy behind a 2way mirror(which I love, bc the other therapy places I just sat in the hall at school and waited for him to come out) I laugh alot bc at first they were helping him sign "more" bc they didnt know he could say and sign more - I wish I had a camera, bc his face was priceless! the therapists asks him "more?" and grabs his little hands and helps him sign... and he just had this evil grin as if he is thinking "oh you dont know i know how to do this?!"
It's hard to sit behind a glass and watch someone require something of your son and him fuss and scream but still know that it is good for him. And to let Ty and his therapists get use to each other... I know they know what to do and how to handle him but part of me wants to be in there... but i'm sure the best thing is that they do it their way. right?
So when therapy was over- he was worn slap out, but in a good way - oh and he also got to go outside! which was awesome! And I told his teacher everything I knew to tell her and she did the same .... I am real excited to see where this takes us... I know he will soar like an EAGLE!

Friday, August 12, 2011

two year old therapist and an iPad

Well I am not completely surprised but my little Tripp has turned himself into a therapist :). I am amazed at how quick kids can learn! In the past week Tripp has been re-enforcing any requests that I give Ty - for example; when we are swinging in the living room and I ask Ty to tell me "ma ma more" and I will push him higher; Tripp looks at Ty and does the 'sign' for 'more' and then says "ma ma moore Ty Ty" and grins real big waiting for his reply?! Ty looked at Tripp and then said and signed "more" and then Tripp clapped and Ty clapped and we all laughed and gave him lots of tickles and praise!

the iPad
So I purchased an iPad for Ty. I'm sure you are thinking "riiiiight Mandy" but really the iPad's main goal is to assist Ty in his therapy and language development and secondly it is a tool to calm and relax Ty because there are so many apps that meet his sensory needs which in turn calms him and balances his little world. Thirdly it belongs to Tripp and boy has he learned alot in the last couple of days! There is an app where a baby shows you sign language and this is Tripp's favorite app - he walked in the kitchen the other day and said & signed "stop momma" then giggled and ran back in the other room ... so of course I laughed not because of what he said but because most of the apps and videos the boys watch have British accents(bc we watch lots of claymation and apparently thats a British specialty) which means that Tripp mimics the accent on certain things and that was one of them - So if you can just imagine my little Mississippi boy in his rubber boots with his mis-matched shorts and shirt that he put on himself, camouflaged baseball cap and sunglasses (he wasnt going anywhere he just likes to dress himself and to be fully dressed at home???) running in the kitchen and signing&saying "stop momma" with a British/country twang.... ahhhh it still cracks me up!? ok back on track...
Well I walked back into the room after he comes to tell me that and he was assisting Ty on the iPad. He would get right next to Ty and put his little hands right on top of Ty's and help him tap the picture or choose words... he would maneuver through the different apps that they both liked and then once the app started playing he would show Ty what to do and then he would help him do it?! I'm standing there thinking "ok first of all Tripp has used the iPad twice and knows how to get where he wants to go and second Wow ... I mean Wow, my two year old knows how to help his brother"
 Now I dont want to mislead anyone, they are not always so willing to work and play together! And Tripp didnt sit with Ty for an hour and show him flash cards or work puzzles. The little bit of time that they both played and tapped on the screen could have been 5 or 10 minutes, but it felt like our little world just stopped and we marinated in that moment! Thats probably not an accurate description but its the best I can come up with :)  There are lots of programs that I am still looking into for Ty with the iPad but I am so excited about where this will take him! And I couldnt have done it without the help of our parents - they are all so good to us!

new friends
I met a new family this week who also has a 3 year old son that is very similar to Ty. The mom is so sweet and the little boy reminds me so much of Ty and he is sooo handsome! It amazes me how God puts people in your life when you need them - I didnt know that I needed to talk to someone that is on this same road that we are on but it felt so good to talk to her and to know that she understood everything we were doing! She also has a trampoline in their house too (they are actually on their second one) and she said she was going home to tell her husband to find a stud to hang a swing from indoors lol! There was so much we talked about in such a short period of time and I could have gone on all night comparing stories. We are both curious about the same things and looking into new therapies to see if it is something that will benefit our kids.
I knew that other people were going through similar if not worse situations ...but to meet someone face to face and discuss things was just amazing...
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galations 6:2

i think i've rambled on enough ...
thanks for reading

Thursday, August 4, 2011

some people make me angry!

ok I normally don't post twice in one day... I usually don't post twice in one month ... but this really ticked me off ... I guess my blog has also become my soap box at times ....
I read an article about the autism project through USM's gulf coast campus and this was a comment from an anonymous writer
"having a "special" child in a mainstream classroom diminishes the quality of education received by the other students. 
The teacher is forced to spend a disproportionate amount of time with the "special" student. Classroom disturbances caused by the "special" student interfere with the learning process and disrupt the educational process for the other students. 
If my kid is "normal" and I also pay school taxes, what right do you have to diminish the quality of my child's education, just so your "special" child can be in a regular classroom like "everyone else?"

where does it end? Do you really have to fight every person to explain to them that your child's quality of life is just as important as theirs? Now I have two kids and one who, for a better lack of words, we will call "normal" but that doesn't mean I am going to teach him to distance himself from his brother or any other child with a special need? Just like any child in school the parents should be involved in their education and not leave it completely up to the teachers anyway... but if you really want to fight for something then fight for more teachers with better pay so that they will be willing and able to assist the kids that are in their classroom and so that they will be happy doing it! Don't take it out on the kids!

compassion people...

A week of ABA therapy

My little Ty man had a solid week of ABA (applied behavioral annalysis) therapy! He is more talkative and purposefully vocal! He asks for ball "ba ba ba", more drink by signing "more" and then "drink" and he also says "ma mo ma" while tapping his mouth for a drink, he has asked for purple p "pa pa pa" and he somewhat independently eats with a spoon!!! He still needs some help with the feeding but he is getting there! Now he doesnt always make his sounds in 3's sometimes its more than that and sometimes its just once; but you get the idea.
Kamrie has learned a whole lot and is really becoming a wonderful therapist! Maria taught us so much in the week she was with us; what to do/what not to do ... things we need to expect instead of just letting him get by with the minimum - now its not easy but I have seen the benefits! So as hard as it is for me to expect Ty to ask me for things instead of me just giving him what I know he wants, and he knows that and he challenges me with his little grin and smerk or his stubborn streak (he gets that honest I know!), I just have to suck it up and do it.
If I dont expect great things out of him then who will. We are here to teach our children how to function in this world and it might take more time and be more challenging for some but isnt that why God gave them to us?!
Now my little Tripp man has been amazing. He has laughed with Ty, clapped for Ty, and even sat quietly while Ty was in therapy sessions! He really loves his brother and I hope and pray that that never changes! I pray daily that he will be his protector and always include him in everything he does! Now I know kids will be kids, but I hope that deep down they will have a bond stronger than any other siblings bc of their unique ability to understand and play together so smoothly. Tripp was playing with the laundry baskets Sunday morning, just pushing them around the kitchen. So Ty jumped in them with a huge grinn... so tripp started pushing him around the kitchen in the baskets! Those are the moments I love, there was no whining or fit throwing bc Ty got in the basket, he just decided to make it into a game! thats pretty amazing for my little 2 year old...
Now I'm not saying that everything is that easy, they do whine and fuss over things that are "mine" ... but its just so awesome that there are times that they both just play...Ty even sat in my lap while tripp rolled a car to him and then he would roll it back (typically, Ty would take the car and run with it bc he loves to be chased); so it was really amazing to see him sit and play with it on Tripp's terms! So i think Ty is beginning to understand that in order to play sometimes you have to do what the other person wants...

awesome stuff in our little world! thanks for reading!