Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dear Noah........the yellow caution zone......

You were in it again today. Today you had a rough day. You had several things that happened, all during recess time.

Apparently during recess there was a girl that was moving her hands in some motion that really bothered you......so much so that you apparently went up and hit her to try to get her to stop. I don't know if you asked her to stop and she did not......if she continued to do it on purpose because she knew it would upset you or what. ALL I know is you hit her...and got into trouble for that.

You also tried to take a ball away from another little boy at school.....he had it....he had originally gotten permission to play with it.....it was his time with the ball...but somewhere along the way I guess you decided it was your turn and rather than use words (or maybe you did and he said no).....you decided to get him down on the ground and sit on top of him to try to get the ball. He was on his belly...holding the ball underneath him which I guess meant you were then on his back. No fighting...no crying.....you were just both wanting the ball but you went about it all very badly.

Then (also while still on the playground) when it came time to line up....you were in such a hurry to get to your spot in line first (a pre-assigned spot) that you were kicking other lunch bags and backpacks out of the way. (kids put them on their assigned spots to grab later on the way into the building).

Needless to say this short time on the playground (maybe 10 minutes or so) got you into trouble and now you will be serving THREE lunch time detentions.

You also talked about kids now starting to pick on you more or tease you more...and you are aware of it and it bothers you tremendously. You talked about some boy coming into the restroom while you were in a stall with the door locked and him trying to kick the door in with his feet and shake the lock with his hands. Of course when I asked if you used your words to tell him to "stop" or let him know someone was in there you said NO....but you said he knew you were in there because you had flushed a couple of times. Because of issues in the bathroom they have now made the rule only ONE boy goes to the restroom at a time. This is a good rule I think.

But this has caused me to think about a lot. I want the best for you. I want you to succeed. I want you to learn academically at school but also have someone there coaching you during these social outings so you will learn what is right and wrong and what to do and not to do when it is happening...to take advantage of those moments. It is what I would do here at home.

I sometimes don't know if putting you back into a public school setting is the best choice for you. I feel I am holding you back in many ways. I feel you are sort of stifled and put into a box with everyone else and you will only learn the bits and pieces of information the teachers toss into that box. No more .....no less. I feel you are not really having social issues addressed at school. Now they talk about putting you into a ROOM by yourself during recess? I think not. What is that going to teach you? We had to deal with isolation issues before with you at a school when you were in kindergarten. In fact that was the last straw for me at the time and I yanked you from the school and homeschooled you.

Again I want the best for you. I want you to learn all sorts of things with no limits and be excited about learning and anxious to learn. I want you to pick some things you want to learn about as well. I don't want to limit you. I want your needs better addressed. I want to provide for you and us to not have any worries. I really feel I am failing in that regard. While I don't let you on to the stress....it definitely exists and I have no safe buffer anymore if we need it. GOD will truly have to watch over us always now...and I have to stay healthy and strong forever....not just for me but more importantly for you.

SO at this point I am not sure what to do. I have a lot to think about already in our lives....and this will be one more thing. I ask for prayer....because God is the only one who can show us the direction we need to take.

I love you Noah...with God's blessing and guidance and provisions, we will get through all this.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Noah playing his piano -Somewhere Over the Rainbow

He was about 5 years old...and since he loves the Wizard of Oz.....he played this song a lot.......

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear Noah......looking back at a typical homeschool day......

Here we were reviewing what we had learned about butterflies......

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dear Noah.......hopefully today you will feel up to going back to school!

You missed 2 days of school this week and today is Friday and we are hoping you will be fine to tolerate the day at school. I was going back looking at some old photos and video clips yesterday of the family and yourself....and I found some of where you were reading for me during homeschool. Now I remember that time and I could understand you.....but now listening back to it......I have a very difficult time understanding what you were reading and even yourself....you said you could not understand yourself so well. I praised you for how much you have improved over the years and how well you can speak and talk and read now. Even you recognize this improvement and seemed proud of it. So for other parents out there thinking your child may never speak or talk or read......please hang in there. Noah did not really talk until almost 5 years old...and then what he said was barely intelligible. He has come so far but it has been a process.....

Here is a snippet of Noah reading from a Dick and Jane book when he was about 5 years old.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Noah and his time machine part II....

Dear Noah.......you stayed home from school and group today..

You had a horrible time sleeping last night. I mean you were up and awake more than down and asleep. Of course since you ended up coming into my room this also meant I got little sleep last night.

I know for a fact if you do not get at least 9 hours of sleep at night...uninterrupted sleep.....you can be way too emotional the next day...with just about anything sending you off into tears or a semi-fit. SO......because your nose and cough and headache were still all acting up.....I let you stay home.

AND last night you wanted me to make homemade gingerbread cookies. I should have only made 1/2 recipe because I really only had about that much molasses for the cookies but we always add a little less anyway for your taste.....so I figured it would be enough. I also forgot exactly how much less spices we use because I know I do not add the full amount. Well..for some reason I decided to make the WHOLE recipe....and I added all the spices......and once they were baked and even I smelled them.....I thought to myself "there is no way he will like these or eat these!"

I put some in the freezer to ice later with icing as I got tired of making so many cookies all at one time. YOU are the only one eating them..I made WAY TOO MANY! WHY????

Because since I made them you had 3 last night....and that is it. Today you cried when I asked you to try one today because overnight they did get a much better taste and were softer. You then told me you did not really like homemade gingerbread cookies anymore....or at least the ones that did not have enough molasses. I told you we had made that kind before and you liked it. You just got so used to eating the Pillsbury ready-made gingerbread cookies....now you won't eat anything else.

This happens a lot....and now I am wondering what in the world am I going to do with all these cookies? You told me to throw them away. I will probably send some to grandma C's house if she would like a couple. Maybe I can put some on another plate to give some away to someone else. The rest will have to go somewhere as I try to avoid eating those types of foods and today..all I have done is pick at those cookies! I am SO SICK of cookies and the thought of them now makes me want to gag!!


here is a video snippet of you talking about your time machine you want to build so you can go back in the past and see toilets and doors in the former K-mart stores and other places.

I love you......hoping you feel better tomorrow!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dear Noah.....you had a walking field trip today.....

to the library. Since the school was closed the last time you were to have the field trip due to Hurricane Ike, they did it instead today. Tomorrow you are walking to The Farmer's Market though I did not get an official paper stating so. You only wrote it down in your agenda. This makes me wonder.

You did pretty well today but apparently had a couple of small incidences.....so you had to move your tag to the yellow zone.

You woke up this morning feeling better....no more sore throat......but by the time I picked you up you were sneezing and having a runny nose and cough. So it is probably allergy symptoms or you are fighting off something. At this rate you won't be going to school tomorrow.

You have had a very difficult time this year staying healthy. We have spent little time actually outside as anytime we do go out you or I or both of us get something......cold-like....sinus infections......upper respiratory issues...something. I figure something is in the air.

You can tell you feel bad tonight....so you are going to bed early.

I love you....I hope and pray you feel better in the morning!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Dear Noah.......today was the first IEP meeting we had I did not feel sick to my stomach beforehand....


(Noah much younger in Colorado)

I met with your teachers and principal this morning before school started.  Our meeting was at 8:20 a.m. and you woke up complaining of a sore throat.   We already had to reschedule the meeting once...and I was not wanting to miss it if possible.  Once you got back up the second time you felt a little better...and I told you to go to school but if it started to feel really bad to let a teacher know.  I also told your teachers at the meeting so they could pay attention to how you were feeling.

The meeting went very well.  I was not  nervous about this one at all or apprehensive or nervous....did I say nervous?....all such new ways to feel before going into one of these IEP meetings.  I am thankful.  I thank God for this.  I truly am thankful each and every day with all the progress you continue to make, even with the setbacks.  You learn from the setbacks. 

None of the teachers or staff have any academic concerns about you whatsoever.   You do still have a few social things to grasp which will probably be ongoing throughout your lifetime.  BUT  you are doing well most of the time now even then.

Our biggest concern right now and finally with the staff is your wandering off.  I expressed my concern about you perhaps wanting one day to leave the school building entirely to wander off downtown to check out bathrooms in the courthouse and other places.  FINALLY they took it a lot more seriously since your teacher also said you did enter the building a few times from the playground WITHOUT permission and then came up missing.  All to of course.....flush toilets in some bathroom somewhere in the building. 

The problem is they did not know where you were......and that is dangerous and bothers me.  I have finally gotten across to them how serious this is and my concerns and they are now going to really watch you better and inform the other staff outside at the second recess who you are and that you tend to wander off.

BEING first is also an issue for you.  You still have problems with being second or heaven forbid last....at anything.  Many times instead of playing on the playground at recess you will already be standing in line up waiting to go in.  Now  you all have assigned spots in line up.....so you are not first in line....but you apparently want to be first in the line up. 

All in all you are making huge progress.....and I would say some of the social stuff is to be expected......and I know they will improve.


I love you Noah and am very proud of you. 

I give all the praise to God for all your progress.  You are a blessing.




Saturday, September 20, 2008

DEAR NOAH..........you have had a couple of trying days.....


First of all you missed 3 days this week...MONDAY because of the Hurricane and loss of power at the school......TUES AND WED because you did not feel well.....seemed to have ZERO energy......and could not get up for school.  I will have to watch this closely because the cardiologist did say if you had problems with that valve extreme fatigue would be a symptom.  BUT you also get like this from time to time.....and maybe all along that is the reason why....or it is just you....or a combination of things....including low muscle tone still in some areas.

ANYWAY Thursday there was a misunderstanding in MUSIC class between yourself and another little boy.....you thought YOU were to pass music books out...he thought he was.....you got mad and very upset as you did not understand this and took a book and slammed it into his shoulder and were saying things to him that were not very nice.  NO cussing....just not nice.  He was taken to the school nurse for ice on the shoulder and you were sent to the principal's office where they went over all the social reasons why this was INappropriate.   You also got a detention and lost a recess.  You came up missing a few times as you left places you were not to leave in order to go flush toilets in a bathroom in the school.  You also had a hard time staying focused or sitting contained in the classroom.  You wandered off more than once.....they found you one time IN the nurse's office checking out HER toilet and flushing it.  She was NOT there and that is a no no. 

FRIDAY before I dropped you off we again reviewed all the rules.....and how important it was for you to be near the teachers and other students when outside on the playground.....how you could not spend a lot of time in the bathrooms flushing toilets.......or wandering off to go find a new bathroom to  flush toilets.  You repeated it all and seemed to GET IT.  However, when I picked you up they told me after recess when all the students came inside......you came inside....but then did NOT return to your classroom.  Instead you AGAIN wandered off......exploring more bathrooms.  FINALLY the aide found you in the JANITOR's room/bathroom.....in there flushing toilets.  You got your green tag moved to yellow for that.  BECAUSE they were worried...and did not know where you were.....etc.  You did not follow directions......etc.

THIS has been a reason I have requested an aide to be with  you pretty much all the time....just to make sure you DO go where you are supposed to go and do not wander off.  This has been an ongoing intermittent problem for you and I certainly wish to avoid a phone call one day saying you are missing and cannot be found anywhere....and you walk downtown to check out bathrooms at the courthouse. 

You also were wanting to CALL ME all day.....saying we were MOVING back to the town where grandma and grandpa L live....as the schools there were BETTER and you would be going to THOSE SCHOOLS instead of Greenville and to call MOM as we were moving and you had to get out of there as you were NOT going to school there anymore and ON AND ON AND ON!!!!  THIS went on throughout the day.   I know where you got that idea....so I explained it all to you when I picked you up.   I can only imagine how exhausting that was for the aide or teachers.  I know you can be relentless with continual talking about a subject that concerns you.

SO.......the aide said she will start  making sure you come in after recess like you should.   Hopefully someone will keep a better eye on you even IN the school during class times so you will not wander off again.  I think you wandered off like 5-6 times this week at least.  I do not like that.

I love you......but you have really got to understand how wandering off can be dangerous.  We have our work cut out for us!



Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Noah........we are okay after Hurricane Ike came through this area....

it still had a level 1 hurricane winds........and we lost power for over 6 hours......but I am so thankful our power is back on. MANY....hundreds of thousands are still without power and it could be days or a month our local electric company said before they will be able to restore all the lost power. The clean up has said it will take approximately TWO MONTHS to clean up all the downed trees .....it is a mess everywhere and some local cities are even declaring a state of emergency....and not allowing driving anywhere. We had a lot of wind......no power.......we played Monopoly and Bee Bee Bumblebee and Don't Break The Ice......and sat around and talked. You slept in my bed last night....and your school is closed today because it has no power yet.

Here is a snippet from the start of the storm as it came through our area yesterday.....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Noah......."passed" minus the "p" spells............


yeah.  I guess in school yesterday you had some paper or something with the word PASSED on it.....and I guess you placed a hand over the P and said something to another student about looking to see what it spelled and the aide saw/heard this and made you move your tag from the green zone to the yellow zone.

Now I guess I understand "why" but at the same time "assed" is not really a word...though I am sure you were wanting attention drawn to the ASS part of the word.....and then I did explain to you that while ASS is not a best choice term to ever use in the classroom setting or in most situations probably in the public in your lifetime......ASS also in the dictionary is a very real NON-cuss word meaning MULE/donkey....etc.  

I always felt moving your tag in the classroom from a green zone to yellow, red or black should be based solely on behavioral issues and/or not listening...etc.  Apparently no other student even saw what you did let alone heard you or understood what  you were implying.  SO I don't know that I would have done anything in the classroom other than warn you so you could avoid ever doing that again and not making such a big deal out of it.  BUT they have their rules and rules are rules and you do have to learn to follow them.

So you had your FIRST YELLOW day for the school year yesterday.   I honestly thought kicking the kid in the shins would have deserved a YELLOW day at the very least but you did not which did surprise me .....a lot.

Anyway....we went to the library after school and got you your library card.  You are very excited about that and happy and now on the field trip Monday to the library you will be able to check out a book while there. 

I love you Noah.........very much!



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear Noah.....you had a couple of incidents at school today....

You did well in school but they realized you were in the bathroom too long...so sent an aide to get you. You were in the stall with the door shut and locked....yelling that you were NOT going to come out until LANCE left the bathroom (some other little boy in the room) because you HATED him. This was all worked out and you apologized to him after the aide explained how it would make one feel if someone said something like that about them to another...etc.

THEN the teacher decided to start making you all LINE UP BY ALPHABETICAL order after lunch to go out for recess.....since you are always like first in line this did not go over well with you. You got in line in the front as always and when another boy told you that you were all not lining up that way anymore.....you got upset and kicked him in the shin.

This got you sent to the principal's office....where they explained the rights and wrongs of the entire incident to you....you apologized to the boy and you were told you would serve a detention in the lunchroom and lose a recess if that happened again.

Academically you had another great day.....doing very well on your Social Studies test...you got an A+ all correct. In fact you were very proud of the fact that YOU got your test completed before anyone else in the room did. I am amazed too.....but knew you would because what they are teaching you ....I already taught you about 3-4 years ago.....(the oceans....continents......etc). BUT review is good...and they added a few other things onto the list of things to review on your globe....so it is all good.

BUT there are times I wonder if I continued to home school you....even part-time which I think I will do again....how much MORE you might actually be learning because they just don't seem to always cover as much in school. I will have to think about that. I want you to keep moving forward and not just tread water.

I love you.......your after school social skills classes and a mentoring program will be starting soon. I think those will be good for you for building better social skills. We spent the afternoon after school yesterday at the park. We even took Opie along. The weather has been beautiful! We then played Monopoly.....here at home. Tonight we played Don't Break The Ice. I am so thankful to get my work done here at home early so I can spend time with you after school now....I love that ...and having free time to go places or hang out or be creative!

You are having a WALKING field trip on Monday to the library. I need to get you a library card before then. I am hopeful all will go really well for that. I think you will do well. So tomorrow after school we will go to the library to get you a card.

I love you Noah!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dear Noah.......

We went to grandma and grandpa L's house on Sunday to celebrate your cousin Alex's 16th birthday.......here you are with cousin Audrey making faces with Alex sitting in the middle not sure what to think about it all!

You did very well while there.......and were very talkative with grandpa L. about toilets.

Somewhere during the day you came out and asked me "when did I first have autism?" You are becoming more aware of it all and hear others mention things from time to time. I told you that you were "officially" diagnosed with it in April 2005 but you were probably just born this way....and it was cool....no big deal...it only meant you just processed information a little different from others or might have to take a little longer to learn how to do some things or be really great and super fast at other things. I have never kept it a secret from you......but instead preferred to just keep it out in the open...acting like it was not big deal....because it IS part of who you are......which is nothing to be ashamed about or secretive or something to tuck under the covers away from others to see when they obviously would see it anyway. I don't want to deny parts of who or what you are to yourself or others.

So anyway......we had a good time Sunday.

You came out from school telling me that some kids at school during recess tried to tell you a bad cuss word was okay to use all the time.....and when I asked you what word it was.....you said they said "RETARD." I tried to explain that although NOT a CUSS word in the sense we label other cuss words.....it is one most prefer not to use as it can be used in ways that are not nice....and poke fun of others..etc. I asked if someone called YOU retard and you said no....you said they were just calling other kids that like "you are such a retard!" to other kids.....NOT you...and you were standing up trying to say that was wrong.....etc. I am thankful personally you think of certain words as cuss words because you will probably avoid using them under any circumstances. I know Sunday when we were all sitting around playing cards.....as a few family members would shout out "this sucks!" you quickly came running into the room saying "they just said a cuss word..a bad word!" and you were not sure what to do think about it.

Again I said sucked was not actually a cuss word but yes....not a word we should go around saying a lot and you should definitely not be ever using it.....or at school!

You have been enjoying this year in school.....and doing well. Your aide for the classroom came up to me after school yesterday and asked if I had ever heard you read. Of course I have......and she said she was amazed at how well you can read. She is new this year....and has not ever been around you before...so thinks you are great and you really like her. I am thankful God has put great teachers and aides in your classroom in this school.

I need to get back to work. I love you Noah!


Friday, September 05, 2008

Dear Noah.......we made gingerbread cookies last night....

and had many eyes upon us........


The birds on top of the refrigerator....


Birthday peep....beside the oven....


we made leaves and pumpkins and cats and moons...



and tiny miniature gingerbread boys.....


we iced and sanded with sugars....


making beautiful fall leaf cookies......


and orange pumpkins.....


and sleepy gingerbread boys on the moon.....


it looked like fall in our kitchen......




Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dear Noah.......crying over spilled milk......literally

When I went to pick you up from school you came out with the aide and you acted odd. She motioned for me to come up closer so I wondered if maybe you had gotten into trouble or something else had happened. She started out saying "I am sure your mom won't get mad about this" and then proceeded to tell me you had another great day....till the final 2 minutes....when you realized your leftover milk in your lunch bag had spilled out in the lunch bag and was spilling out all over. You started to cry.....and I guess really cry....big sad tears...so they rushed you and the bag to the bathroom to clean it all up as best they could. You started to cry again really hard when the aide was telling me this. I felt so bad for you. I told you that I was not mad and it was only a lunch bag and if it smelled too much like sour milk or we could not get it clean we could just get another one. You still cried hard.....and I kept assuring you it would all be fine......it was no big deal....to calm down....etc.

As we walked back to the truck I asked you why this was upsetting you so much.....and you said you remembered your lunch bag from last year and how it had milk spilled in it so many times it started to smell sour no matter how often we cleaned it and we had to throw it away....etc. I am not sure why that mattered to you.....you did not seem upset about any of that at the time.

BUT this sent you over the top with big sad tears....and reminded me how over the top you can react over what most would deem totally insignificant or not worthy of even a second thought. This is where a difference in how you process and feel about things is striking....and yet I totally understand it and get it. I no longer think it anything all that odd or abnormal..it is just part of you and how you are. You are very deep and emotional and rarely reveal all the thoughts going on inside your head. SO I may not really know all the things you were thinking about in connection with this NEW lunch bag and the freshly spilled milk.

I got you calmed down and we went home.

Tonight you wanted a sleepover in my room again.....even if I was not going to be in there....and I know right now you probably need it.....but Opie crawled up into your bed and wanted to sleep with you in your bed......and that seemed to also make you happy. I want to have the sleepover with you but also know at the same time I cannot turn this into a normal thing.....because it took so long to get you to where you finally can sleep on your own and self-soothe and I know you really do need to be in your own bed and all the reasons why. BUT there are times we still do and will have sleepovers. Maybe I will crawl into YOUR bed tonight and surprise you and have a sleepover in YOUR room!

Meanwhile.....I wish I could make it where you did not get so emotional about some things that happen in your life. That worries me a bit....and I am not sure how to make it seem less troublesome to you. I know after I say about a million times "it is okay" you do and will eventually believe it and will be able to say it to yourself...and all will be okay no matter what. BUT that can take months to years.....

so we will keep plugging along.....because everything will be okay. I promise!

I love you Noah......sweet dreams my little man!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dear Noah.....things in your world are changing....


(Here you are at Fazoli's....another of your favorite places to eat......this was taken by your dad)

You had not eaten out for a long time so Sunday you decided you would like to so I took you to Kentucky Fried Chicken.  You like their CRISPY strips.   Well.....we got there and I had noticed the last time you got them they were actually ORIGINAL recipe strips so I figured they were making BOTH now and someone gave you the wrong ones by mistake.....and you ate them though I could tell you did not like them as well.

SO Sunday I ordered...I specifically asked for CRISPY strips.....and then informed me they no longer made the crispy strips...only the ORIGINAL and added "they are more flavor and taste!"  I thought to myself "who says?" but kept my mouth shut.

When you heard what the man said you started to cry....and I mean really cry hard.  I felt so bad for you.  You are limited in what you can eat anyway...and now we no longer have a Dominos Pizza.....and now your favorite KFC crispy chicken strips are no more.  I tried to calm you down.....told the man we did not want anything then.....and you decided to go for Wendy's.

I have since seen commercials where they indeed are no longer making the chicken strips CRISPY.....only original.  I wonder if they asked their customers if they preferred them original or crispy?  I doubt it.  I somehow think it is a money issue.....and something about the extra breading required for the crispy strips maybe.  WHO knows......but your world was once again shook up with a big hiccup in your food chain. 

In a way one might say this is good....as it forces you to eat other things......and not out at a restaurant.  You have been eating more at home.....but I know the same old things are not all that great to you sometimes.  KFC was a nice treat for you.  I have told you if they still make the crispy snackers I could order that and without anything as they use large chicken strips that are crispy for that and you would like them.  OR that you would probably like a chicken breast torn into pieces like the strips would be torn for you to eat.  You are thinking about it.

Right now you also have sores in your mouth.  After a lot of stress and not enough sleep I have noticed you will get those sometimes.  You have a huge one on the inside of the upper lip by your front teeth.  Needless to say it makes eating anything very difficult for you and even painful.

SO.....you have had some drama....and when we got home you said this...."I got so carried away crying that my ear is now all plugged up again!" and you started crying all over again.   You calmed down pretty quickly.....your ear has been plugging up off and on.....so I am trying to keep you with decongestant and stuff in your ears.  If this continues however you will have to see the doctor.  Again.

Meanwhile you had 2 sleepovers over the weekend.....in my room..........

We stayed home and did very little this weekend.....we did make 2 batches of gingerbread cookies.

and I love you  very much.