Showing posts with label ADHD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ADHD. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Do You Compare? You. Don't.

School, school. You are tiring! I don't know about any of you other parents out there but elementary school wears me out! It's a LOT to keep up with. My kids have a way better social calendar than me, but somehow day to day we make it through. Lots of things have been going on lately this year with school. Jackson of course is in the Angel Program at HR and LORD knows those people are miracle workers! I have a working post to dedicate solely to them that I'll post later (it's a work in progress). School has been up and down this year. Of course Jackson is ecstatic to have Hallie at school with him this year and she is doing wonderful! I never worry about Hallie. She is smart, ahead of the game and always on top of everything she needs to do. She is so smart. And ohhhhh I have had the wish that I could switch her to 1st grade and Jackson back to 4K a time or ten. So sue me. It's only human to wish that you could make things easier every now and then right? 

Jackson started school and the first month was O.K. Just ok. He always has a period of adjustment it seems when we have a new teacher, new classmates and new surroundings. I guess that's pretty normal. As the weeks have gone on, several adjustments and academic modifications have been made for Jackson to help him at school. Everything from his "team" ARMY of teachers/aids/helpers/tutoring staff/etc being added to the mix, fidgets for the classroom, medications (ugh I hate those things) and even filming him during school to try and come up with the best plan for Jackson. But NO WHERE ELSE are we gonna get that kind of attention and help for him and for that I am beyond forever grateful. Like I said, he has some real miracle workers in his presence. So week by week and adjustment by adjustment we just hang on and ride the ride. He started out going the full day with his classmates but in the last few weeks has changed to a lot stricter schedule in the  mornings and then joining in with his classmates later in the day. I stopped his ADHD medications because the side of effect of him biting every single finger to bleeding almost daily was just terrible. So off of that and only now do we continue with his sleep medication at bedtime. That however has been a savior in the meds department because he is actually getting sleep and not looking like a zombie when he wakes up. He's always struggled to sleep. I am not here to push pro/anti meds on anyone but I have decided that if there is a medication that improves his quality of life and doesn't change who he is then I am for that medication for my child. 

Academically he is still struggling. Really struggling with reading and language in particular. Math is much better and art/music/PE are all pretty good. Homework is painful, PERIOD. There is just no other way to put it. Some days he finishes at school (thank goodness) but even then we try to review at night. Some nights take us up to 2 whole hours to do homework that should normally take maybe 20 minutes at the most. It's like a full time job folks! And it takes a LOT LOT LOT of patience to remain calm and help Jackson, but I'll do it everyday if it's what it takes. Some days are better than others, some days he wants to learn more than others but I only take it one day at a time and I think he takes it one minute at a time. Each year the kids take the ITBS test (kinda like the TCAP standardized testing for all you oldies out there like me) to determine where your child is on the scale of the "national average" of students their age. Well #1 Jackson is already a year older than all of his peers (strike one), he is not an "average" child (strike two) and he doesn't participate in the normal time constraints/settings of the testing with his class because at this point he is not able to take a "timed test" (strike three). So in my book he's out. Not out as in he doesn't count. Just he's out in that it doesn't compare. I stopped comparing Jackson to other kids a LONG time ago. I'm not sure everyone will agree with that or not, but that's my choice. And I know he has to take the tests as part of his school and since the state mandates it for academic placement so of course he takes it. But I really don't look at it as a true representation of how he really measures on the scale of school. 

I'll be even more honest here. His scores are low. Really LOW. But that's ok because ultimately those tests are just a bunch of numbers on a page for me. What I want to see is progress. How does Jackson today compare to Jackson last year? That's what I measure. That's not always an easy measurement either and it's also not easy to just let go and accept that measurement. Of course I have my days that I want him to be the straight A student, the most popular kid in class, the sports MVP, I think we all want that for our kids right?!?!?! I even thought about posting those scores and his report card and I did take pictures, but I decided I don't need to justify anything with a picture and some things are just better left for Mom and Dad's eyes only. 

So how does Jackson compare to Jackson? Well let's see... this time last year he was failing (miserably) every spelling test he took, maybe one word right if we were lucky, usually it came home as a blank page or words that were reversed letters, unreadable mumbo jumbo, you name it. This year, we started a little rough, he made an F (I won't even mention the score) and now? Last test 100, the one before that 80, the one before that 100. We are making progress! Whooo right? Yes! To a certain degree. 

Yes, he is doing better at his spelling words, he has a smaller list than the rest of the class which is fine by me!  What's the catch then you ask? He is SLOWLY starting to retain some of the words he is learning. That has been a HUGE struggle for Jackson because he can learn the words no problem, but two days later and he needs to learn them all over again, literally he can't remember what he just learned. And reading? Well, that''s a whole other animal. He can read words, he can also memorize words. By words, I mean books. He is memorizing books! WHAT?!?! He was "busted" so to speak reading to me and one of his teachers. He has learned to associate the words on the pages with the pictures associated to them and that's how he reads entire books. It's actually pretty amazing if you ask me, who the heck can do that! Cover those pictures and he can't read the book to you anymore. Insane. I CANNNNNNNOT wrap my mind around that. That is a lot of pictures-to-words ratio of memorizing. It's not that way with every book he reads but there is a couple of Dr. Seuss books and beginner reader books (about 30 pages each) that he has memorized completely. As super cool as that is and I think it's a gift really, he is still struggling to read. But again, one day at a time. 

So report cards finally came out for the first nine weeks of school. We have a LONG way to go, but compared to last year, he's flying! So I have no doubts we are headed in the right direction. He learns at his pace and his pace only. There is no rushing him or you lose him. There is no scolding or he shuts down. There is only Jackson pace. He is a turtle of a learner. But slow and steady wins the race, so as long as he continues on a good path, fast or slow we are on the same pace too. I still push him every now and then but I know his boundaries only because I know my child. I can tell when it's too much or when he can be challenged and pushed harder. We put blood sweat and tears into homework for the 30 minutes it takes on a great day or the 2+ hours it takes on most days. 

We keep fighting the fight though, my little turtle has a hard shell and he will win that race one day. I can't wait to compare Jackson today to Jackson at the end of this school year because by then he may running this race. 

Still learning from this kiddo every day. He amazes me.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life Has Been Loco & Tomorrow - Tears

Oh my goodness! My poor poor blog! She has taken serious neglect and abuse the last ohhhhh 6+ weeks!!! Ready to hear my self-defined "good enough excuses" as to why? Even if you don't care, I'm going to at least attempt to make myself feel better as to why I haven't blogged in a while so here goes. (Deep breath...) Two monkey's birthdays, a baptism for a godchild, 3 weddings, 2 baby showers, tons of autism updates, my Mom's birthday, the Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs, looking for a new house, and my husband traveling so much I barely know the city he is in and you see where my  time has been the last 6 weeks. PHEW! I'm tired just putting it all down. Sooo with all this time going by, I sure do have a LOT to update on. 

Let's just make a list of all the post updates I need to do shall we? (I tend to like to check things off lists, it makes me feel like I'm getting something done so maybe this will publicly hold me accountable to make me catch up, ha!!)

  1. Mine and John's godson Tucker's baptism weekend in D.C.
  2. Hallie's 4th birthday
  3. Autism and school updates for Jackson (that will have to be a post or three probably, lol)
  4. Autism Fundraiser with the Memphis Redbirds 
  5. Grizzlies playoffs
  6. Baby shower for a bestie! (We're adding another girl to the fam!)
  7. Jackson's 7th birthday 
  8. Doctors and Medicine Updates for Jackson... this one's gonna be a doozie!
  9. Therapy Updates and the summer game plan
  10. The Never-ending house hunt
Are you tired yet!?! I am. I probably have a couple more I could add to the list, but I think that's enough for now. But, at least you know I've been rather busy and not just absent and lazy right? 

Anyway, moving on from my mountain of a to-do post is Jackson's 7th birthday. I have a 7 year old, what!?!? It feels like only yesterday he was this little tiny baby with bright blue eyes and perfect round little face were just looking at me with wonder and excitement to be in the world. I miss him being a little baby. He's not so little anymore, but he's still my cuddly baby. Tomorrow will be a rough day for me I think. Jackson graduates from Kindergarten tomorrow morning. I could not be more proud of him and I am so excited to see what his future holds. I know I am going to cry like a BABY! I have already teared up a couple of times this week and it's not even graduation yet! (I need to get a grip, I know) I decided that since his teachers/therapists/aids/etc are so important to his success along this long journey with autism, he needed something to always be able to carry a little piece of the people who are so important to his life. I bought him the Dr. Seuss book "Oh the Places You'll Go" and wrote a letter inside to him from me and J. Here's a pic of the book and letter. 

Tonight we'll be celebrating Jackson turning 7 at home with mini cupcakes (since I sent 30 big ones to school today and we did a big bowling cake over the weekend) and whatever he wants for dinner - now don't get too excited, it'll probably be the staple meal of mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets, his favorite meal he eats probably at least 4-5 times a week for dinner, but hey it's his day and we are gonna do it the Jackson way! Happy Wednesday and Happy Birthday Jackson! We love you more than anything!!! You will always be Mommy's little monkey! 
Made cupcakes for the class per the birthday boy's request! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Even Autism has Winning Odds

It's like the lottery. Will you defy the odds or will it just be another day of numbers on a line that make no sense but on the flip side comes with a huge reward if you're lucky enough to guess right. Never knowing what tomorrow will bring with autism (or Jackson, ha) it's like a daily lottery in our house. Some days make no sense, some days you get a few things right and some days you hit the jackpot (or at least in my mind we do). 

Coming off a weekend that didn't go so hot, I was worn out. Not to mention, this week is Jackson's spring break. He was originally registered for a camp where his surroundings would be familiar, the people were mostly the same and he was comfortable. Then it came. Camp cancelled. Dun Dun Dun!! CRAP! Well, now what? After hitting a few walls searching for a different solution, we decided to gamble just a bit and register for a camp at the YMCA. Jackson has never been there before. New places, faces and strange routines don't go in the same sentence as autism. So Monday rolled around and we loaded up to go. I spoke to the camp director who assured me they would take good care of him and that he would call me in case of a crisis or outburst. Needless to say I was just waiting on the phone to ring all day. 

Ye of little faith I am! Jackson always amazes me and for whatever reason he is having a great week with no set schedule, all new people and no sense of normalcy. Excuse me what?!? Where is my child??? That is not the Jackson I know but man what a relief! Isn't funny how we as parents put so much pressure on ourselves when it comes to our children. Just when you think things will go the worst way possible, they do great. Maybe I should give him more credit?? I know he is stronger than I could ever imagine. I just never would have guessed he would be this happy about something off his normal, tired and definitely beaten path. Maybe I should give myself a little more credit?? Maybe we are getting better at preparing for everyday change?? Who knows! 

Although I am not sure we are ready to test this uhhh few successful days as being ready to take on the world, we'll take small bites and victories when we can get them! It just seems as though this week Jackson has beat the odds of one challenge autism presents him with. Don't worry, our quirks, obsessions, and redundant eating habits at home are all still very apparent, but maybe this week is exactly what he needed. A little change of pace from the everyday "norm" never hurt anyone right? 

I say this today and tomorrow will be a disaster (LOL) but as always around our house... one day at a time. I'm just so thankful and proud that he made it this far since the last "camp" he attended outside his comfort zone, he was kicked out of before Wednesday was finished for behavioral problems. That was a tough week and a tough pill to swallow (mainly for me) because you only want your kids to do well and be happy. He was neither at the camp we got the boot from which broke my heart for him and I also felt (at the time) like I had failed him. (this was also pre-diagnosis) I guess we have come quite a long way since then. To all you other parents out there that have kids with autism I encourage you to keep going, don't be scared to try new things. Some will work and some won't and that's ok. Just don't lose faith in your little one because just when you least expect it is when they will surprise you the most!

And so far I'll take this week as a lotto jackpot of epic proportions! 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Add this to the Autism list

Ok, so Jackson has his quirks, his tremors, his own unique and sometimes strange ideas about whatever the subject may be at the moment. I get it. Sorta. But none the less I still get it. I am patient (mostly), I am kind, I try to be loving and understanding, but there is one thing that I CANNOT stand!


For the life of me I do not and cannot nor will I ever understand what is entertaining funny or appealing about licking someone's feet. I mean what! I just don't get it. It's gross, it's disgusting and yet he finds it hilarious. Why on earth anyone would want to lick, touch and really even look and study feet?

I guess it's just another mystery of what's really going through his mind. Having a child who is autistic is like the eighth wonder of the world. You don't know how it happens. It's just this mysterious thing that is just out in the open but no one can seem to give any one real explanation, only ideas and "medical" reasonings. You don't always understand why things are the way they are and I really don't understand his thought processing when it comes to all things autism. 

The whole foot licking thing is just another one of those things I'm not sure I'll ever understand but I guess it's just another small thing in a big picture. I only wish I knew how he can be so focused and obsessive on some things (feet) and then other things I want him to be able to focus on-likes school work, he can't. Getting back on my trail of searching for tools, resources and help groups I'm full steam ahead again no matter how hard it is. On top of ADHD and focusing side of things, we're starting to talk school plans for next year, new therapies and more evaluations to include a neuro-psychological eval and behavioral therapy suggestions. The behavioral part comes in because as sweet and kind as my sweet little hugger is, he can also have a polar opposite side and when that rears its ugly head, Jackson can become quite aggressive sometimes. 

In an effort to protect him, our family and anyone he interacts with I feel like the behavior therapy is the next big thing on our list to get started. By no means do I think he really wants to hurt anyone intentionally, I just don't think he always fully understands there is a line you can't cross. He doesn't understand that just because someone calls you a name it's not a personal attack. It's just that the kid calling you a name is just that... a kid. Just a silly kid doing silly kid things. They don't really mean any harm of course, but Jackson's perception is that he is being attacked and so good or bad, he reacts. Try explaining that one or being in a public situation where people have no idea who Jackson or anything about him. Yet they judge and stare because of his actions. Sometimes, well a lot of times that is a hard thing to deal with friends. It's uncomfortable and it's hard to know if the choice you make in that moment was the right one or the wrong one. Not that I care what anyone thinks, because I don't. My concern is am I making the right decision for Jackson at that moment. Anyone have the answer to that million dollar question? 

Taking one things about an hour at a time, I'm continuing on and putting one foot in front of the other.

But for real if he licks my feet one more time....