Tuesday, March 12, 2013


This is Michael's last year in pre-school.  In September, he will move on to a new teacher, a new school, and a new "regular class (I believe).  Now this transition is hard for most parents of
"neuro-typical" children, but Michael has autism.  He doesn't always deal well with change (tough that is improving a little), he doesn't socialize with others very much (or at least he doesn't without someone guiding and modeling what to do), he has repetitive behaviors and can sometimes go into his own world when it comes to imaginary play.  His speech has come so far, yet his volleying back and forth with communication still needs a lot of work.  He doesn't answer questions reliably or at all sometimes. He will ask for things, which he was delayed doing.  He is also not potty trained with poop.  I am not sure what his IEP will look like.  I don't know if he will have someone in the class giving him extra attention so that his socialization skills continue to improve.  We are having a transition meeting in the next couple of weeks, so I'm sure that this will help with some of my anxiety, but I won't feel better until I actually see how he does in school.  Right now, he is in a class of 7 or 8 students and has 3 teachers in the room.  He does go to a regular pre-school class 3 times a week for lunch and circle time. This has been going well, but it is a more structured time, so I don't know how he would do in a less structured situation.

The one good area that I have been really happy with is his sleep.  We have been doing Melatonin for the last 2 1/2 months and have had to up the dose from 1 MG to 2 MG.  It still takes a good 45 minutes to kick in, but it does kick in.  He has been sleeping through the night and has been getting up a a reasonable time.  No more waking his up for school.  No more sleeping til 10:00 if we let him.  He is now asleep by 8:30 and is usually awake by 7:30 at the latest.  This morning he was actually up at 6:00.  I am hopeful that his improved sleep pattern, like all of us, is helping his overall.  He used to fall asleep closer to 10 or even 11 and then not want to wake up the next morning til 9 or 10.  We tried to do a sensory diet which helped somewhat, but it really didn't make a huge difference.  I am hoping that once spring is here and we are outside more, things will be even better.

Michael finally has something that he loves.  He had been really focused on Caillou to the point of reciting lines and acting out episodes sometimes at inappropriate times and often repetitive ways such as bedtime routine.  He now loves Wall-e and Mickey Mouse.  He doesn't seem to act out these shows as much, though he can recite the lines to them as he watches them.  In wall-e, the is a part from Hello Dolly and we watched it a couple of weeks ago.  He wasn't interested in it until that scene came on and he ran into the  room and sang with the song.We probably watch too much TV in this house and I am working on changing that.  He does love music and the Polar Express sound track right now is his favorite!

One thing that is bothering me right now is a family member who is trying to pressure us into signing him up for kindergarten soccer.  he has shown little interest in  soccer or anything like that.  He tends to enjoy digging in the dirt, running around, riding his bike, climbing,  and swimming.  Personally, I would rather see him in swimming lessons where he would thrive not in an organized team sport where he doesn't like to play with other kids.  The problem I have is that this person keeps pushing and pushing and pushing.  I just want to say "STOP TELLING ME WHAT I NEED TO DO FOR MY CHILD".  Yes that was meant to be yelling.  She always tells people what they need to do, not suggest an option that is available.  She then goes on to push her agenda.  With regards to soccer, she was a soccer coach for her kids and they still play soccer in high school and college.  I totally feel like this is her agenda and not mine.  Yesterday, we took Michael to spend $20 of his birthday money at the book store.  I posted it on Facebook (and maybe that's my problem, I open myself up for criticism by putting it out there), and she responded that I should be putting his money away for college.  He will have some go in his bank account, but I think it is important to let him spend some money on a gift.  Again, it is my child, and my decision.  No one else's, except my husband.  Again, I just want to yell, "stop telling me what to do!"

Thanks for listening to my rant!  I am so happy that I have some where to get out things both good and bad instead of only unloading on my husband!



  1. Part 1: I realize you are not asking for advice or opinions, so do what you will with this and I won’t be offended. Again, I enjoy reading your blog and have occasionally commented on it from the perspective of another mom with a child who is not neurotypical.
    Have you had the opportunity to go in and observe your son in his current classroom or the classroom he attends on occasion? If you haven’t, I think you might want to as it will give you a birds-eye view of how he is doing. Some questions I would have. Is he attending to teacher at circle time? Is he participating? How much? How much of the time is he distracted? Sounds like you would like for him to have additional support, particularly if he is to attend a typical classroom. In my biased opinion, I feel that the school district assumes the position of trying to save money and not necessarily provide what your child might need. My thought is that it is easier to have the supports in place when he is young, and drop or reduce as he gets older and more independent rather than trying to get those supports for him later on ( a lot more difficult – most of the time). Perhaps he would benefit from the support of a 1:1 paraprofessional. Does he know his colors/letters? How is he learning? Are they teaching him in a cubicle? Does he have any 1:1 time with a teacher or a para currently? Are they using ABA? Are they using PECS with him? With a class ratio of 3:8 my guess would be that the school identifies his needs as fairly intensive! I am curious if they are providing him with additional supports for OT and Speech, and how many times a week he is getting those supports. Also, I would imagine that he qualifies for ESY (Extended School Year) services. I would be advocating for that in hopes that he doesn’t regress or lose any of the skills he currently has. Also, refer to his current goals on his IEP; is he mastering any of them? Is he demonstrating some of them? Are there some he hasn’t demonstrated or that they haven’t been able to introduce yet? I would identify those benchmarks he has not demonstrated as weaknesses (not your son’s weaknesses, but rather weaknesses in the teaching approach); where the school could beef up supports if this has been a period of more than two progress reporting periods. If you research core standards on the web for Kindergarten in the state where you live, that should give you an idea of what skills they will be aiming for him/his peers to be achieving in Kindergarten. They are in the process of implementing national core standards for education so that if you move from state to state the idea would be that the kids are learning the same information. Hopefully you will find my thoughts & questions helpful and not overwhelming. I know I have thrown a lot of ideas & questions out there; hopefully some of them may be beneficial to you. Best of luck as kindergarten is a big transition.

  2. Part 2: Glad to hear that you are having more success with sleeping; which can also be a big issue for lots of kids on the spectrum. Not surprised that he loves the Polar express sound track; I have come to learn that kids on the spectrum typically love trains and also music! My son loves both, especially music! Don’t beat yourself up about the t.v. either. In moderation, it can be an alternative source for educational instruction particularly for kids on the spectrum and it sometimes can be difficult finding motivators or calming activities. For example, one day when my son was younger, I was flipping channels and for a brief moment when it was on the weather channel he came in from the other room and stood in front of the t.v. with delight.
    We realized that when he was having an extremely difficult time we would occasionally turn on the weather channel; he loved the jazz music and watching the Doppler radar images move across the screen. We also noticed that this had an amazingly calming effect on him. We don’t let him watch it for a long period of time; however, will occasionally use it in our tool box as a thing that does calm him when he is having a difficult time.
    As far as the soccer thing and the unwanted advice from family; you know your son best and what you think is best for him. Go for the swimming, and tell the family member politely that your kids are not her kids and that she already had the opportunity to raise her kids her way and that you are going to raise your kids your way. She should totally but out! Or you could say something like… “If I wanted your opinion on this topic, I would have asked you for it and I would appreciate you not pushing your parenting opinions on me”. Blogging is definitely a great way to get it out without necessarily having to confront someone or address it.

    Good luck with all that you have going on!