Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

About that...

I realize that I was a little vague in my post about Jack's diagnosis of Asperger's and his starting preschool. So, I will try to be a little more specific this time. :)

We first started noticing that things were "different" about Jack around the time that he turned 2. He screamed a lot when he couldn't effectively communicate and he was a very difficult toddler. He often played by himself and was rarely interested in what other kids were doing. A lot of things just seemed "off." But, we decided to wait until he was 3 to pursue anything - just to see if we were dealing with normal toddler "quirks" or something else.

By the time he was 3, things were getting worse. He has a large vocabulary, but doesn't quite know how to use it correctly. He says things that don't make sense. For instance, I will ask him "Jack, is that a good cookie?" And he will say, "Did you wait for the bus today?" Almost everything he responds with is a question. He has a very difficult time answering questions. If someone asks him "What is your favorite color/cartoon/toy?" He has no idea what to say back to them. He has a lot of sensory problems. He hates trying new things. We have to listen to/watch the same songs and movies over and over and over and over again. If we try to introduce something new to the mix, we encounter huge tantrums and fights.

Why haven't I mentioned anything on the blog? Well, I like to keep things somewhat light on the blog. A lot of family reads the blog and I don't want to take up a lot of time venting about problems we're having with Jack and what a difficult child he is. Plus, people have a lot of opinions about Autism and "labeling." We've encountered several negative attitudes about Jack going through evaluations and being put in preschool. So, I try to be careful about who we talk to and what we share. This is a time when we need encouragement, not criticism.

To an adult that doesn't spend much time with Jack, he appears to be a pretty normal kid. He laughs and is silly and says a lot of words. He is very comfortable around adults. He says "hi" and smiles. But, if you spend some good quality time with him, you can see that some things just don't "click" with him. So, we're working on that. School has been fabulous. He is doing so well and is really enjoying his time there. We've already noticed some progress with his communication...that has been very encouraging.

Sorry if this post is a little choppy. I'm trying to organize my thoughts and put out as much information as I can...but I feel like I'm not doing too well with that! :)

If you'd like more information on Autism/Asperger's, here are some great links...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grandma & Grandpa

Last week, Grandma and Grandpa (Lonnie's parents) came for a visit! Unfortunately, I forgot to take our camera with us most places, so we didn't get too many pictures. But, we had a lot of fun visiting with them! Jack had a blast being spoiled and loved on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh. Hi.

I have a blog? I've forgotten about it for the past 11 days? Oh. Sorry about that.

Regular posting will resume soon. Lonnie's parents have been here for the past week and life has been a little hectic. In the meantime, let this adorable picture hold you over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday!!!

So, here's my menu plan for the next 2 weeks. I am sticking with not assigning each meal to a day - it seems to work better for us that way. Then I don't feel like I'm not following the "plan" when I switch days. (I know, I'm weird.)

Fried Rice with frozen eggrolls

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Crockpot)

Chicken and Dumplings (Crockpot) - RECIPE BELOW!

French toast (homemade sweet bread) with bacon and eggs

White Cheese Pizza

Black bean burritos

Taco salad (using black beans from burritos)

Chicken Caesar Salad (with homemade french bread and croutons)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Crockpot)

Nasty Nachos with lentils

Autumn Sausage Casserole (Crockpot)

I also bought 3 frozen/convenience meals for the next two weeks. Sometimes there are days where I just don't feel like cooking and we figured that eating a frozen meal is cheaper than going to eat out. We're trying really hard to cut down our eating out budget. Really hard!
I also am trying to plan more meals in the crockpot...that way I can start dinner in the morning to avoid the "what's for dinner" rush in the evening.

Chicken & Dumplings

4 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
2 cans cream of chicken/mushroom soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 large can refrigerated biscuits

Put chicken, soup, butter and onion in crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
Now, you can do the dumplings a couple different ways. A half hour before serving, you can tear up the biscuit dough into pieces and put them on top of the chicken in the crockpot. Set on high and let them cook for 1/2 hour. This will cook the biscuits thoroughly, but they will still have that "wet" dumpling texture. OR, you can bake the biscuits separately in the oven and then serve the chicken and sauce on top of a couple of split biscuits. This is our favorite way. :)

Don't forget I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menus!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The thing I haven't really talked about yet

At Jack's 3 year well-child checkup, we filled out a questionnaire for the pediatrician, just answering questions about tasks that Jack could accomplish, his language/comprehension skills, and his overall development. As it turns out, he was pretty behind on almost all of the areas that were measured (4 out of 5). So, we were referred to ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) which is through our local school district. Jack went through several evaluations, all done at our home, and they compiled all of this information into a report. He went through speech, psychological, autism and occupational therapy evaluation. After they were done with this process, we were informed that Jack meets the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism. Specifically, high-functioning autism, or Asperger's.

We experienced so many emotions when we received his diagnosis. We felt relief, because we knew that we weren't crazy and that other people noticed that there was something "off" about Jack too. We felt anger, because who were these people that barely knew our son to come in and tell us that there was something wrong with him? We were sad, because our only son was not "normal." We were guilty, because there's a part of you that wonders if you were the cause of these problems.

Jack's main symptoms include problems with language comprehension, echolalia (repeating what he hears us say, whether it's immediate or delayed), sensory issues, problems focusing, being very schedule-oriented, not being interested in other children, and having a hard time with transitions or new things.

All of this to say...Jack started preschool this week! He is going to the ECSE preschool, 4 days a week in the morning. He started on Tuesday. Today was his first day taking the bus. So far, it seems like he's really enjoying it. He really likes his teacher and she is an awesome lady. Today he actually named some of the kids in his class for me! There are 8 kids in his class (including him) and 4 he really gets a lot of quality attention. He meets one-on-one with a speech therapist and also gets some time with an occupational therapist.

When we dropped him off yesterday, he waved "bye" to us as he walked into the classroom and had a big smile on his face! When we put him on the bus this morning, he was so excited to ride the bus, but once he realized that we weren't going with him, he got a very concerned look on his face and didn't smile as they were driving away....but he did great and made it home safe and sound!

Here are some pictures of my BIG boy and his first couple days of school!!!

Standing at the front doors of the school.

Oh my gosh, he's gotten so big. When did this happen?

Putting his backpack in his cubby with his teacher.

Talking to the bus driver as his friends were getting off the bus.

Waving bye!

All buckled in! First time on the bus, today.