Inventing Games

Michael’s therapist is pleased with the progress he’s been making.  I too have noticed that aside from the sensory issues we’re actually cruising along alright for the moment with just a few bumps in the road here and there.  Being outside a lot this summer has been helping, something we could not do last year.  (Going out alone with a brand new baby, a two year old who could not follow directions, and an impulsive four year old was just not in the cards.)  He’s periodically asking to do school work, and while it’s just busy work he’s doing on his own, it’s getting him ready, his fine motor skills are improving, and I’m happy.

One of the things I have to really apply myself to right now is inventing educational games.  If I try to teach Michael traditionally, it is most definitely going to turn him off to school and we will in no way be able to develop a teacher/student relationship, something he’s not capable of right now.  He just can’t comprehend that someone has a concept that they want him to absorb.  His therapist wants to slowly start teaching him how to work in sync with another person.  This is not just doing something in synchronized motion or even just turn taking, but truly doing an activity with another person in such a way that even if he is just sitting and watching, he is still fully engaged in what the other person is doing.  He absolutely cannot do this even a little right now. This will slowly start training his brain on how to be a student.

While a lot of this stuff is accomplished in our kitchen or laundry room, I’m looking to invent a series of educational games for him so that I can tell the school district he’s learning his letters, numbers, reading, etc.  I’m not great at doing stuff like this in the spur of the moment, so I have to sit down and plan them in advance.  They have to have at least four different kinds of parent/child relationship role playing, probably include some sort of physical activity for some of them, be a topic that he’s actually going to be interested in to stimulate the ADD portion of his brain, and only last 3-5 minutes in length.  I also have to figure out a way to keep him from hyperfocusing on something he really enjoys as well.  Sooooooooooooo….. I’m really curious to see what I come up with!!

I’m starting to have a few regular parenting moments with the kids, and it’s really warming my heart.  We’ve never had these before.  Michael and Gabriel are finally starting to coordinate some of their play together, and they seem to really be getting a kick out of each other.  Of course they fight a lot more now like regular brothers too, but that’s another story.  Gabriel was coloring a picture of some dinosaurs I gave him yesterday, and he announced, “Look, Mommy!  I coloring blue!  See??  The astronaut fighting the dinosaurs!”  (You can totally see the Michael influence there.)  The two little ones seem to be going through growth spurts and are doing some extra napping in really random fashions.  All three of them are as brown as little roasted peanuts from being in the sun nearly every day, and when they’re actively engaged in an activity, they’re adorable.  It’s nice to finally be able to communicate with these little guys after so many years, and I’m slowly learning their triggers and am finally able to preempt some of their crises.  Combining that with me getting some help for my ADD and my ability to run the house a bit more efficiently, things are looking a bit better around here, for which I’m grateful.  It’s still not easy, but at least I don’t feel like I’m just moving from one disaster to another.

I even started the second draft of my novel.  Sure, the boys were splashing in the pool and the baby was crawling all over me when I was writing, but I did it!

Hope you all have a lovely Thursday.

I Asked God To Break My Heart With Something That Broke His, And He Did

Yesterday, I spontaneously decided to go to our region’s annual Autism Awareness walk.  I’ve really been thinking and praying a lot lately, and I know that I am dealing with all these special needs for a reason.  I am looking to see how God wants me to use my experiences to help others.  I wanted to see what this community looked like, to see what the needs were, and I was just overwhelmed.

The need is so great and on so many levels.  As I walked around, I could see families everywhere, supporting their handicapped loved ones, out early on a freezing cold Sunday morning because they want to see them get better, to do something to stop a growing epidemic that no one truly understands.  There is great love and great hope, and I commend these families for doing the best they can with the information they have to make life better for those who are on the spectrum.

And yet I was incredibly frustrated.  Here is where we wade into the emotional and controversial and so for now I will keep things vague, but I was saddened to see people who, I felt, were misguided.  There are so many programs out there, and desperate parents are running from thing to thing, searching for an answer, and yet there are many therapies that I feel don’t help, or worse yet, propagate problems.  The place was filled with junk food, vendors handing out candy to children while politicians made promises they couldn’t possibly keep to people who are ready to grab at anything that appears as help.  Two things that can cause terrible damage.  The lack of education was saddening.

The need is so great, so overwhelming, and I could feel my heart breaking over it.  This isn’t the ministry I would have chosen, and yet I feel as though I have been chosen for it.  It’s the work of a lifetime, and it begins with my own family, and yet I know it is never, ever meant to stay confined there.

I am watching, learning, thinking, planning, and praying, always praying.  There is work to be done here, and it will need the hand of God.