Dear Pre-Autism Friends…

I feel like this one of those instances where the “it’s not you, it’s me” statement is full of truth. I was different before Filbert’s diagnosis. I participated in mom and child activities, had play dates, went to the grocery store, discussed rolling over and other child milestones and fed my children what I perceived to be healthy foods most of the time.

Now life is totally different.

I have a military like schedule of therapy, supplements, special food, and of course all the regular tasks of a stay at home mom. I am unable to leave my home, as there are few others that can take care of Filbert, making participating in play dates or other social events a near impossibility. It is also a challenge having people over on occasion for play dates as I have to ensure that I have cooked at least ten things ahead of time and the socialization will be interrupted with alarms going off for the next supplement to be administered in the playroom.

I realize that I am a challenge to befriend and have so many complications that make things very inflexible. However, I realize this is something that is strange to understand, as I started off the journey after diagnosis with isolating myself and my family for several months as we processed this new information and formed a game plan. It was not intended to be rude or uncaring, it just seemed necessary as we navigated the new water of “Autismland” and pulled ourselves to a place beyond survival mode — back to a place of living and loving everyday. It took a big transformation which I attribute to God putting the Son-Rise Program in our lives to shape this new phase of helping not just Filbert, but our family unit and community.

I admired those that have continued to be our friends through it all and those that have endeavored to form a new friendship with us during this transition. As a result of my growth over the last year I am hoping that things will be a little calmer this school year and I can be more available to make friends and expose our little girl to more friends while Filbert is engaging with his amazing team of best friends that provide him every opportunity to learn and love through their giving of themselves daily.

I appreciate your patience and look forward to a new school year full of growth for all of us. God is so amazing, cannot imagine this journey without the guidance of His hands. I feel like He has really carried us through and had so many stand up and join with us in this growth.

Take time to be present in each moment and show unconditional love to someone today.

Enjoy your Monday!!!

New, new, new…

Another beautiful spring day with a light breeze perfect for putting laundry on the line, exploring plants and of course playing in the playroom with Filbert. His growth always surprises me and most recently I feel surprised multiple times a day!

Every week it seems as though there is a theme among the team of a something new Filbert is doing. For the past week the theme has been sustained eye contacts and lots of genuinely long and deep smiles with eye contact. Many of his looks last several seconds and give you the feeling he is “reading” you.

On top of this wonderful new connectedness we are all observing, he is imitating actions, drawings and words immediately or within minutes of them being introduced. His new vocabulary includes astonishing, accurate, demolish, outstanding, distinguished, wiggly, nobly, and many others – as you can see adjectives are what we are working on :). He is making ramps with books, his legs, our legs and arms and we are showing him concrete ways of understanding the words “under” and “over” using these ramps. He learned how to play the recorder from imitating a wonderful volunteer and enjoys drumming on bongos from time to time.

His current favorite stimming activities are to draw music notes and spin objects. However, he is allowing more and more extensions to these activities when he engages us in play. We have made different size music notes, music notes with different faces, taking turns spinning things, spinning things on the same surface so they crash and many other fun extensions to his interests.

The interaction that surprised me the most of late was that he bowled with me taking turns for over 15 minutes. We took turns knocking them down and cheering and counting how many fell down. The rolling the ball was just as much fun as the emphatic high fives, foot high fives, dances and funny faces. We ended up laughing until we cried. So much fun!