Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Most Exciting Thing Ever!

If you easily get grossed out, then this post isn't for you. Cause what I'm talking about today is gross, but nothing short of a miracle at the Graham House!

Not to jinx it, but for the last FOUR days JD has pooped in the potty! He's almost six and this has been something we've been working on for two years. He's been peeing in the potty for a while now, but for some reason he was absolutely terrified of pooping. I mean so terrified that if I made him sit on the toilet he would scream and cry until his nose would bleed. He would hit me, pinch me, spit on me, scream... you name it, he did it. And that was just asking him to SIT on the potty. It's been a true nightmare - one that always ended up with us giving up after an hour of screaming, putting him in a pullup and dealing with the massive mess in the morning. It was causing major stress in our lives.

But then something clicked. Somehow I got him on the potty last weekend (using the iphone, toys, pepsi, etc. as a reinforcer) and he actually went! Of course we drove straight to Target to get him a "poopy toy". Then the next day he went again, and then next day and the next! I'm not completely holding my breath yet that we're 100% there, but we're REALLY close. I can almost imagine a day without diapers or wipes and that's huge for us. Especially since we were getting to the point where we'd have to order special-sized pullups online because JD has outgrown the ones from stores.

Here's a picture of JD proudly showing off his poop! Completely gross, I know, but a MAJOR accomplishment in the Graham household!

In addition to the pooping, JD has made major development leaps recently. One is the consistent use of holding his pencil/crayon/marker correctly. Again, another skill we've been working on for close to two years!

The next is learning math. Recently he got an award at school for completing extra math during class. I'm glad to see that he found a subject that he enjoys and is good at!

This year as been a big one for JD and I'm so proud of him! He learned to write his name, ride a bike, swim on his own, boggie board in the ocean, and so much more! I love my 'trouble graham!"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Difference a Positive Note Makes

One thing you immediately inherit when you have kid with autism is the almost daily negative feedback. Whether it's from a teacher, a therapist, a neighbor, or a "friend" of theirs at school that the beat up that day... you hear it. It can be really hard to focus on the positive when all you hear about is the negative. "JD hit this child, JD slapped this teacher, JD bit his friend..." the list goes on and on. 

JD spent the last year and a half in a public school prek program for kids with autism and I can tell you that in that year and a half he probably only got TWO good notes home from his teacher in his daily communication. TWO. Every day I'd read about his "melts" (the term of which now sounds like nails down a chalk board to me). JD would have 3-5 "melts" in a day. This included kicking, screaming, biting, hitting, slapping, throwing things, etc. They normally last about 10 minutes each. His teacher (in his autism classroom) would call me to even come get him sometimes because he was "uncontrollable." It makes my stomach churn to know that he was dealing with such stress during that time. 

But we're on week three at First Hope and I'm so thankful that he's received a few POSITIVE messages from his kindergarten teacher. Here's the one I got today:

Now, I know that JD has his good days and bad - and the vast majority are not in the "good" category. BUT, the difference to me so far this year has been nothing short of amazing. His teachers share with me the areas where he needs work, but they also share the GOOD things.

As a parent I can't say thank you enough when I get these emails. It completely makes my day! Hearing something positive from another adult or child really gives me hope. It reminds me that JD is working hard, his teachers love and respect him, and best of all - he's in the right school.

I am really looking forward to this year, I have a feeling that JD is going to flourish at First Hope!