Month: June 2014

His way.

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Now that it’s summer, outside is the place to be. There is a small group of kids that all live on our street. The girl in the group named them the “Cherry Street kids.” LOVE THAT.

In this photo are all of the boys. On occasion, most likely when they need a bike break, they ask to play with Jasan’s iPad. To my surprise, Jasan was completely unaffected. He didn’t want to play with the iPad at all. He was totally vibing to pacing behind them as they played, with his straw (of course,) and would react to all of the sounds in the different games they were playing.

What I loved about witnessing this is that first of all, he literally has every sound memorized. He knows exactly what is happening in each game without even needing to look. And secondly, he is unaware and unfazed by anyone’s reaction to the fact that he isn’t being “typical.” I think this is completely fantastic. I just said to my mom yesterday that one mantra that I want us to place into his mind is that, “What I choose to do is what makes me feel good. What I choose is wonderful. It is okay and I am glad it’s my choice.”

Jasan is definitely a scripter. He repeats a lot. Here is a definition of Scripting that I pulled off of the Autism Speaks website:

Echolalia, sometimes referred to as “scripting”, is the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others, sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources such as favorite books or something someone else has said. Children with ASD often display “scripting” in the process of learning to talk.

As Jasan gets older, his scripting becomes less about “movie lines” and more useful speak. For example, at one point while I was instructing him how to ride his bike, I said, “You can do it! You can do it! Use your leg muscles!” Yesterday, when he felt stuck on his bike, he said that very phrase. It REALLY hit me how important my words are, and how I can use this to COMPLETELY BENEFIT my son. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids had positive beliefs about themselves and had a plethora of uplifting mantras floating through their minds? This is so useful for all children, but I feel that because of Jasan’s autism I can use this to my advantage.

Script away my love! ❤ I vow to fill his mind full of positive affirmations, self-confidence, and beautiful beliefs about WHO HE IS. I am so proud to be his mama…

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He LOVES his bike!

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The Cherry Street kids. PRECIOUS. ❤

 

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Brutus.

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My brother named my stepdad’s truck Brutus many years ago when he was stuck driving it during a time period where he was car-less. It cracks us all up because the name is so appropriate. It’s an older truck that is an extra vehicle for our family. Sometimes you just need the bed of a truck to move things and it’s convenient to have one around.

Because this is an extra vehicle, it’s older. It’s not pristine by any means.

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Unfortunately, Brutus had made contact with a deer in the past. 😦 Whoever owned Brutus previously definitely smoked cigars in it. (Ick.) And, this lovely truck has no functioning A/C.

But, Jasan loves the truck. He has the sound of the windshield wipers memorized…

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And he’s a boy. Trucks are just cool.

It’s mulch spreading time of year, and Brutus is being utilized to move big piles around the yard. Jasan likes to hang with his Grampie, so I caught these shots yesterday.

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He was content in truck world.

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When the neighborhood kids come over, they all like to hang in Brutus.

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Boys and trucks. 🙂

Gauges.

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Do you see Jasan?

He is in gauge heaven. I have appropriately titled this shot: Altimeter reflection. 🙂

Here are a few more fun airplane photos…

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He sure does love being in this plane. I feel so grateful that he has had these experiences.

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So is he.

 

 

Love & Bedtime.

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I shot the photo above a few nights ago while Jasan was in bed with his flashlight. It’s part of our lengthy bedtime routine, but as long as we follow it, he goes to sleep without a problem. Usually, he falls asleep to music every night, but tonight he switched it up on me.

A couple of days ago he was perusing through the music on our iPad and came across this song. He has been stuck on it since he heard it. This was his request for sleeping music…this one song, on repeat. Because it is mellow and something he could most definitely fall asleep to, I obliged.

Up until tonight, part of his sleeping routine included dancing to one song before we turn off the small lamp in his room. Tonight was different though: he wanted me to hold him. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. We danced around the room just like we used to when he was teeny tiny. (I used to dance with him to all different kinds of music when he was a baby. I would hold him, dance to the music and gently tap his body so he could feel the beats of the music through my hands and my body movements. Now that I know he is autistic, I am even happier that I made a point to do that daily. I am sure that is a lovely body memory for him.)

Tears started streaming down my face while I started listening to the lyrics of this song. (He loved the dancing so much that he requested it three times in a row. I couldn’t say no!) Each time I connected to something different. I know that this is a love song intended for a romantic relationship, but I’m changing it around tonight.

I have realized, on many different occasions now, how extremely connected my son and I are. He knows what is going on within me just as much as I know what is going on within him. There is something undeniable about our situation and our existence together. I have been in a bit of a funk all day, and so has he. But at the end of the day, when it is all said and done, here we are. Together. In our comfort zone, doing what we always do. God works through Jasan so much to speak to me.

The whisper I heard was to listen to these lyrics as if it’s my relationship with my autistic son. It’s beautiful, and it’s a journey. Having a child has shown me how deep love runs. Jasan has shown me how MIND BLOWING love IS. Real LOVE enhances our existence here on Earth. Having my son and embarking on this journey of self-discovery has brought me to a place of happiness that is hard to describe.

I Won’t Give Up

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well there’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts
We got yeah we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we didn’t tend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn, how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
I’m still looking up

I won’t give up on us
God knows I’m tough, he knows
We got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

I won’t give up when times get hard as a parent. I won’t give up trying to figure this autism thing out. When I get sidetracked in life sometimes, all I need to do is look into Jasan’s eyes. He is my focus. Continuing to unravel my layers and become more self aware in my own personal journey enhances how I relate to my son. There is no other way than to stay positive. I have made that choice for us.

I could have gone down another path and been frustrated with my “single mom with autistic kid” status, but no way. God did intend for Jasan and me NOT TO BREAK. We are learning to understand each other’s different realities, and the world is not going to bring us down. Jasan’s energy is addictive to others. He is going to BE SOMETHING GREAT. We are going to be a great team together. That’s my attitude. That’s my intention for him and how I will guide him.

If I don’t keep learning about who I am, we won’t grow together. As I learn and change, I become better for BOTH of us. When he ages and needs to go and navigate, I WILL be waiting for him. I WILL be here to guide him when he needs me to. I will always be his Mama rock. I will be his safe haven…his consistency. Unconditional love.

I needed that attitude adjustment tonight and our bedtime routine led me right to it.

Thank you son. Thank you for enriching my life more than you will ever know.

Happy Father’s Day to all the deserving fathers out there.

The Laundry Room Series.

An obsession of Jasan’s. I keep capturing it. He loves it.

I’m getting behind on posting these images… so why not make it a mini series.

For the love of laundry.

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I love how he wanted to wear my comfy sweater. 😉

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Here he is looking in to his favorite laundry room (that resides at our friend’s home…) most likely in admiration.

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And then their is the laundry room that was also a highlight while we were on vacation in Florida. 4 generations in the photo below (including the one behind the lens.) ❤

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Doin’ his own thing.

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If you notice in this photo, there is one bike to every kid (except Jasan.) My beautiful, unique boy is VERY much enjoying the spreader. I really do love that the neighborhood kids end up in our driveway. I think it’s a God thing. Jasan needs neurotypical kids surrounding him…and they are. They do. He has some kind of electricity that attracts others even with his differences. I LOVE THAT.

And I love that he just keeps doing his own thing even though it may seem odd to the other kids.

He’d rather…

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The kids that live in our little neighborhood circle always end up at the end of our driveway. We usually have music playing and Jasan and I will be hanging out doing whatever his heart’s content may be.

It’s a perfect weather day out today, and we had those water hose going for awhile… making squiggles in the air, giving his bike a “bike wash”…you know. That kind of stuff. And then… ALL OF THE COOL STUFF in the garage took over.

Currently the electronics have won over it all. I asked him, “Would you like to play with the kids?” And in his cute voice he answers me, “No.” He is in his world of contentment.

I’m just letting him be… 🙂

The Airport, Part 2.

Because the first flight went so well, I was not too concerned about the journey home. Actually, I was excited to see how he would handle saying goodbye to Florida and hello to Chicago!

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On the way TO Florida, we checked in via a Skycap so Jasan did not see the luggage scales. This airport visit we got to check it all out. He was absolutely fascinated with how big these scales were.

Once we were all snug in our airplane seats, headphones it was.

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And, of course, what was going on outside was incredibly interesting. Very cool stuff you do not see everyday…

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During the flight he was acting like he had flown a million times. Kinda fun to check out what was going on above his seat. (And, sing a little on the loud side with those headphones on. ha…)

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The only possible snag that we might have ran into was not being able to go in to see the pilot and flight deck when we landed in Chicago. Because we had such a great experience on the flight there, it was Jasan’s expectation on the way home.  The tears started rolling down his face when I told him I wasn’t sure if we could. Luckily, the pilot was very cool and snuck him in for a few minutes.

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So many interesting things to look at!

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I am so very thankful to the pilots that gave a little bit of their time.

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Each pilot had his own way of explaining a few things here and there to Jasan. Both adventures included pushing buttons or flipping switches. Very cool to have the hands on experience.

Walking to the luggage claim was fun. He pushed my little carry on suitcase (fun with wheels!) and we checked out cool things along the way.

Like this…

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And we spent many minutes watching these go around and around…

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We ventured to another terminal, and took the obligatory selfie for Mama. 🙂

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All in all, the trip was so completely meant to be. He exceeded every one of my expectations as a little traveler. Lesson learned for me; GIVE JASAN MORE CREDIT. He handled literally everything on this vacation adventure like a champ. I have NO need to be concerned until he gives me a reason. It’s funny, I thought that I had already learned this lesson, but apparently I needed to learn it AGAIN. Never underestimate him. Believe that he will shine and be victorious always.  And you know what? If I believe that wholeheartedly, he will too.

That sounds perfect to me.

I think he was just a little tired in the car on the way home. 😉

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I’m excited for future traveling…

ADVENTURES!

 

Finding interesting things everywhere.

While we were in Florida, it was fun watching Jasan find his comforts in completely new surroundings and some new adventures (like chasing birds – see previous post,) but in some of his norms too. For example, my child has a love affair with straws. He has since he DISCOVERED the straw. The strength of his love has had its ebbs and flows, but the straw infatuation always remains in some capacity.

You see, a straw can be many things. It can can act as a speedometer, or possibly a tachometer. If two straws are present, then there you go! Both going at the same time. (With sound effects, of course.) They can act as windshield wipers, just something to spin (which is the perfect stimming tool,) any meter of his choice, a CDI (a course deviation indicator for those of you that don’t know what that stands for…Ha!). Let’s see, clock hands, a GPS of some sort, keeping rhythm in a song…should I keep going?

Since we frequent restaurants quite a bit, we most likely always seek out the beloved straw. It’s a comfort thing. I usually will always find a straw or two in my purse, in my car, and we have a big collection of them conveniently in a reachable large cup for him in our living space.

 

Crossing signals. He LOVES crossing signals. Sometimes we take a little stroll down the street from our home just to hang out by the signals so we can watch them change from the “red hand” to the “walking white man” (as Jasan terms it…) and all of that good stuff.

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This is the crossing signal by our house. He’s lovin’ on it.

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Sweet! They have crossing signals in Florida too! (And straws. Double awesomeness.)

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He was a little freaked out to stand on this big “photo op” chair, but he stretched himself and got up there for the obligatory photo. (He’s got that, “I’m not so sure about this Mama…” face goin’ on. Therefore, a little straw security never hurts.)

 

Now, another favorite, once it had been discovered, is the pinwheel. (I touched briefly on the pinwheel in the last post as well.) During our cloudy day shopping adventure, we found this store. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I could not get him out of there.

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All of those things behind him were spinning. And the pinwheels at the entrance, with the strategically placed fan blowing down as you walked into the store, put those babies flying in high gear!

As you wandered to the back of the store it was packed full of wind chimes. All I could think of was this video (link also on my Extras page.) This store represented the autistic person’s dream or possible nightmare (STIMULATION OVERLOAD!)

 

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The fan.

Jasan has had a HUGE interest in fans since before his first birthday. You would think he would be sick of them by now, but no way. There is still an allure to the fan that keeps on giving. As he gets older though, he likes to seek out the fan in it’s many uses beyond your traditional box fan. He has figured out that air conditioners on sides of houses or buildings include a fan. (That’s a big draw on the side of our house. I’ve been known to pull a chair around and have a seat while he does his “checking it out” thing. I have found that it is something not to be rushed.)

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Ha. Snapped this goodie the other day.

He has discovered that fans exist under the hood of the car, in any kind of motor capacity, and also in his super awesome “box” that our pilot friend, Mr. Rob made for him. (The “box” is on the left in the photo below.)

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(He often multitasks. In this photo he was creating a pattern with the video he was watching, of him in Mr. Rob’s plane, to go with the sounds and actions as he would press certain buttons on the box. Multitasking & Jasan will have to be a whole other post in itself to come…)

Getting back onto the subject of fans, it was pretty sweet when we found this gem of a restaurant to eat at while shopping that day!

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It was completely surrounded by water except for the pier that got you there. The fans that were hanging all around this cute spot caught Jasan’s eye right away! We found a table in a corner, near a fan, where we could watch the pelicans. Too cool.

Part of loving my son and his autism is recognizing what makes him feel good. Sometimes it’s the little things. A pinwheel, a couple of straws, or a box fan can put a smile on his face so fast. Sometimes that may mean taking a 5 minute break as we are walking along because he wants to stop and look at a bunch of meters.

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Or maybe “The Lobster Zone.”.

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Whatever floats his boat.

Life is good.

I’m helping add webpages (experiences) to his picture internet (that is his brilliant autistic brain.) The more webpages he has, the more knowledge he has to refer to. I am determined to build his library.

YES. I. AM.