Friday, July 5, 2013

Constant Learning

This summer has so far been the most "normal" summer we've ever experienced.  It's full of popsicles and sprinkler fun, sandy feet and sunscreen.  It is everything I wanted in those early years with AJ.

Those days when we were waking up and doing back-to-back-to-back therapies.  One summer we ventured outside for his PT session.  I just about passed out.  He was ready to use his skills in a natural environment outside the house.  I whined about the therapies, the work, the constant "do this, do this, do this".  Summer was hard, with photos of other people's children doing those "normal" things while I was fighting insurances and scheduling constant therapy sessions.  

I'm glad we had that period of time.  What a labor of love.  

When his school team first told me he would not have ESY this year, I thought they were joking.  Indeed, he is attending ESY (things always change in AJ Land).  However, he's remembering verbal prompts such as "let's go to school", "let's go bye-bye", and the ever famous "where are mommy's shoes?".  He shows me a mega-killowatt smile when I pull up school on his iPad.  And when his short session of ESY is over, he has no problem leaving.  

He's quicker to adapt to changing environments and schedules.  This-is a huge step.  HUGE.  

It is a very, very strange feeling to not be running to therapies constantly.  Still.  And we've been out of the constant therapy world for over a year now.  He has done so well, and made so much progress, much due to the intense bouts we did when he was younger.

Never fear we are still in the constant learning phase. Mostly, I find we are working on social and feeding skills.  AJ is perfectly capable of using a fork, spoon, or spork with finesse.  Well, as much finesse as a child can have at his age. Despite his learned skill, we are back to battling utensil use.  We're also working on not just grabbing other people's food, or plates, and not dumping our cups of liquid.  I swear this kid has go-go-gadget arms.  Holy cats.  

Social wise, we are working on reminding him of the proper way to greet someone.  His preferred method currently consists of pulling your hair, grabbing your glasses, and laughing hysterically.  When he gets excited or feels uncomfortable or doesn't know what is expected of him, these behaviors come out.  In the last few weeks I've had two little girls come up to me and tell me "he pinched me".  My heart sinks and I say, "I'm sorry.  He really didn't mean it."  We are so blessed and fortunate to be an example of acceptance that this type of things sends me into a sad panic.  I start to worry if that kiddo told her parents and how they will react.  And then what do I say to them? I don't want to make excuses for AJ, but what do I say? I really struggle with this piece of teaching my child manners. It is such a hard place to be with not completely being sure as to what he understands.  

And then he does things like grabbing an apple and starts munching on it.  Holy use of all the feeding skills we've been working on.  He's gaining social skills by interaction with his puppy.  Constant learning, constant change.

We are constantly working on helping AJ learn.  And this summer, we're doing it with popsicles and fun.  It doesn't get much better than that.

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