Sassy

Autism Mommy-Therapist

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“Mommy, will you pray for me that my kids aren’t sassy and they don’t have autism?” my youngest son queries me as I struggle not to choke on my lemonade. I am torn between laughing at the “sassy” and taking the second half of the question very seriously, as seriously as I did the night he asked me for the first time if he had autism like his big brother.

You know, the night my husband was conveniently not home.

I decide to tackle the question in two parts, and when I inquire as to why sassy is banned I am informed that sometimes he is sassy (truth) and it’s hard for his mommy to deal with it, so he wants quiet kids.

Frankly, unless there’s some sort of genetic miracle in the next generation, I think he’s out of luck with that one.

I gently explain to him that…

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Back to School Letter to Kahlila’s Teacher

This has been a week of my life, drafting and then re-drafting this letter for back to school. ***Edited to omit personal info, family specifics and identifying info.

August 10, 2015

Dear Mrs. T,

I am writing to let you know how very pleased I am with the education my daughter, Kahlila has received so far in her time at C***** Elementary School, and it is my hope that this school year shows a continuation of the progress Kahlila has made since her first day of preschool last year.  I am beyond grateful that as a team we have come up with a plan to give Kahlila her very best chance of being able to start Kindergarten and beyond in a regular education classroom.  I am much more confident that I am not overreaching with the expectation that she will be placed in a full-time regular education kindergarten classroom will all the appropriate supports and services to meet her unique needs, as I understand the Least Restrictive Environment law to require.

Kahlila has had great success with beginning to verbalize what she wants and needs, while stringing multiple words into short sentences.  She is really trying to get the whole potty-training thing, however it is currently hit-and-miss at best.  I would wholly appreciate if we could continue working toward this particular goal.  I look forward to Kahlila’s continuing progress toward all of her goals.  Thank you for all your efforts, and those of the other staff.

Over the summer, Kahlila continued her speech therapy and her occupational therapy. She did have a bit of an emotional regression.  We have had some family issues that do not need to carry over to her school records, but we are working extra hard to overcome these issues.  Grandma continued to take her to speech therapy, where she basically spent entire sessions with her arm over her face to keep the student clinician out of her view and/or clung to Grandma.  Only in the last few sessions did she warm up and actually participate.  This carried over to occupation therapy as well, when they had a student observer in the room during our session.  Kahlila also began to express signs of extreme separation anxiety at daycare drop off; this is still an ongoing issue.  She kicks, screams, cries and clings to me instead of going on into the daycare like she previously had been.  She is always fine within a few minutes of my leaving, but it is very difficult for both of us.  I am hoping she will not carry this behavior over to preschool drop off.

Kahlila has seemingly developed some mild aggression issues.  She has begun to hit, usually but not always in a playful manner, however she doesn’t understand that this isn’t always acceptable behavior.  We are working to correct this behavior at every available opportunity to do so.  It does not seem to have carried over to daycare, so my hope is that it also does not carry over to the classroom.  Please try to reinforce that hitting is not nice and not allowed in the classroom, if it becomes necessary to do so.

The remainder of this letter should come as nothing new to you, as you had the opportunity to have Kahlila in your classroom last school year.  However, I feel that the following should be addressed and included in her school record.

As we both know, my child has been diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she also displays some characteristics of Sensory Processing Disorder.

As a parent, I expect my child to behave in an acceptable manner at school and anywhere else.  However, I have had to recognize that certain behaviors are characteristic of ASD and/or SPD.  I have had to realize that while some of these behaviors may be inconvenient or unexpected, they are not unacceptable or “bad”.  They are simply different.

Please keep these differences in mind as you teach my child.  Correct when you must, and please accommodate –or tolerate- when you can.  Please contact me if there are any questions or problems.

Because my child had ASD and displays some characteristics of SPD, you may expect to see these:

Physical Behaviors

  • Fidgeting, squirming, or otherwise being in “constant motion”.
  • Clumsiness

Classroom Behaviors

  • May not listen to instructions
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Trouble staying on task
  • May have to be reminded to clean up any work areas that may be used
  • May give unexpected responses to questions

Social Behaviors

  • Tends to be “bossy” with other children
  • Tends to object strongly to what is perceived as “unfair”
  • Interrupts other’s conversations
  • Intrudes on other’s games or activities
  • Trouble waiting in line or waiting her turn
  • May ignore others or simply walk away during a conversation

Emotional Behaviors

  • Sudden and sometimes drastic mood swings
  • Has feelings hurt easily
  • Easily frustrated
  • Tends to overreact to correction or criticism

Appearances

  • May appear disheveled– even five minutes after being bathed and dressed. (We TRY, honest!)
  • Often lost in thought
  • May “self-talk” with silent lip movements

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my letter. Please stay in contact as necessary throughout this school year, either by email or phone.

Sincerely,

Melissa D. Brown

Drowning in life…

Autism Awareness Month has practically come and gone without the first post on the blog. 😦

We have had quite the chaotic month, and it isn’t even close to over. Two IEPs, all our normal therapies, an ortho doctor, moving, and my typical work schedule…this month has been a blur.

Kahlila is doing so much better with not having complete meltdowns. She is talking in 3 word sentences with pretty good frequency. She is also finding new love for some of her old favorite books, Read to Your Bunny and Where’s Spot?(the lift a flap book).

Our new neighbor has a small dog, “woof, woof” as Kahlila calls her, and she loves her. Truly makes me reconsider my whole no pet stance.

I’ve almost came to the point of feeling like a blogging failure because I can’t post regularly, but I appreciate those that follow us and our progress on our journey and I wont quit completely.