Friday, June 23, 2017

Living on the Spectrum - Rowan Updates

Things have been busy here lately, to say the least. We have had an appointment or ABA therapy almost every day. Heidi Anne spent nearly a week at Grandma's going on different adventures.

Heidi Anne is making her way through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which she is loving. Char's been waiting for her to be old enough to start enjoying the world of Hogwarts. We even got it on Audible for her to listen to it in the car when we're driving.  
Rowan's ABA therapy is going good. He attends ABA Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30-2:00. 5 1/2 hours a day, 3 days per week. It's a 20 minute drive to the office, (which is a lot better then a 90 minute one way trip that we were facing up in Evanston). Our insurance doesn't cover in-home ABA sessions, only clinical ABA at a facility. We pack him a snack and a lunch. It's basically a pre-pre school. 

Rowan has his own therapist who works with him 1-on-1 and there are 2 other children with their own therapists as well. They all get together about 1-2 times an hour and do their group therapy sessions. They practice on talking to someone their age, work on taking turns, trying to get them to play together, or just plain interacting. 

Rowan's already picked up some new words and learning to use the ones he knows correctly. He can say "Wader" and knows what the word means, he loves playing with water so much. He also knows "car". He enjoys his cars and watching the cars drive by through the windows. He even said he's first sentence the other day, "Car go!" It was so exciting!
They've discovered he has a fondness for puzzles and he's pretty good at them. He loves to jump on the little trampoline. Rowan likes to get on the slide and they chant "Ready? Set?" He promptly says "GO!" as he slides down. 

We, (by we I mean; the Primary Children's speech therapist, Early Intervention speech therapist, the ABA therapists, and us) are all working on teaching him to use the PECS system. Right now we have about a dozen pictures of his favorite things or actions, he brings or points to the picture he wants and receives the item. This system has helped to reduce meltdowns. We slowly add more pictures to his vocabulary as he learns the old ones. 

Rowan is actually starting to speak more. He's beginning to say; "Yes, No, Cool and Shoe". He doesn't use them properly, as of yet. He randomly says "Dank-you" (thank-you) "You Elcome!" (You're welcome). We're loving all the speech and ABA therapy he's receiving. He's made so much progress in just 1 month. I love watching him grow, I can't imagine what he'll accomplish in the next 6 months to a year!

The other day we took the kids to a larger splash pad. Heidi Anne got super soaked. Anastasia stayed in the stroller. Rowan had fun but there were too many people. He kept coming back to the stroller, sit backwards facing away from people, and white knuckle grip the sides of the stroller. After 30 minutes we headed out.
That's when Char spotted the swings at a nearby park. Neither Rowan or Anastasia have played in a swing. Rory LOVED it! He kept laughing so hard and saying "Weee!" or "YESSSS!". Which surprised us. Anastasia was a tad tiny for it and kept slipping backwards inside the swing. Even Anastasia giggled a few times.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Offically the Start of Summer

It's officially summer. Heidi Anne's last day of school was Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. Yep, she was enrolled at her new school for a total of 10 days, (3 of which were 1/2 days). Since it was the same school she went to for Kindergarten and 1st grade, she remembered a few of her old classmates and made some friends. She's already had kids call and set up play dates with her. 

On Saturday Char's Mom came to visit and to see the new apartment. She took us out to lunch to McDonald's, since it's 1 of Rory's approved places to eat. Grandpa even dropped by to say hi. As he left Rory spoke up and told Grandpa "Bye, Bye!" Which was amazing, he rarely speaks, much less out in public. 
Anastasia surprised us by being able to chew on some french fries. She has been stubbornly against solid foods no matter what we tried. Then a switch flipped now she likes trying to chew food, actual swallowing said food is down the road. But it's a start! We got Anastasia her own high chair, now she and Rory don't have to take turns in his high chair. (Notice her cute little pony tale at the top?? I love it!) 
It was super toasty on Wednesday so we took the kids to the splash pad down the road. Rory loves water! He could spend hours with water if we'd let him. He loves water, until it gets on his face or hair, then he can't stand it anymore. Due to this fact, we knew the splash pad could go 1 of 2 ways, Rory would either LOVE it was a passion or HATE it with every bone of his little body. 
At first he was hesitant to run through the water, but Heidi Anne guided him round the pad. He'd get misted by the water here and there, not really getting wet. Then it happened. He paused for a second when a bucket of water drenched him from overhead. I was preparing myself for a big scream but he just ran to Dad who encouraged him to keep playing. Which he did! We knew then that the splash pad was a hit and we'll be visiting it quite often this summer. 
Despite the fun he was having, there was a lot of noise and a number of children running around. Sometimes Rory would just freeze from all the stimulus or come over to us in the quiet(er) shade. We lasted 30 minutes before he began to shake, not from cold, but from overload. We cut our visit shorter than we planned on, but everybody had some fun. 

We even got some ice cream as a treat afterward. The babies and I shared one cup while Heidi Anne and Dad each got their own cups. The babies ate more then I planned on. It was their first ice cream experience. I underestimated the power of vanilla ice cream. 
Since the move we've been busy. Mostly with doctor appointments and therapy assessments. Rory had a speech therapy review and they are going to use a PECS system to help him communicate. PECS is short for Picture ExChange System. Basically, we have various pictures of different items. He bring us a picture of what he wants and we give it to him while repeating the word. The goal is he'll associate the picture with the object or action and will begin talking over time. PECS is a way for us to communicate and reduce frustrations until he can actually speak. We'll see how it goes.