4th b-day and sushi! ( as up to now:) )

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Sushi

Sushi

Before I start my post. I would like to say that I know that there are so many moms, with kids on the spectrum, that struggles trying to help their kids to eat. My son doesn’t have issues with the texture of food, so please don’t take my story as a recipe for ASD’s kids and sensory integration. That is not the case. My son does have a problem with having to eat the same thing for days, weeks, months… We never know what he would like to eat, and for how long, so we expose him to every healthy food we can.
Oh, I forgot to add that if he watches a cartoon and there is something that seems appealing to him, that is what he wants to eat.
One morning he woke up and asked to eat toast. What? Toast? We never had that for breakfast. I’m still trying to figure it out where he got that from. I know he wouldn’t come up with that on his own.
It’s my son’s 4th b-day today, so my hubby asked him in what “eat, eat out” (restaurant) he would like to go for his birthday? He answered: “shushi” sushi!
I couldn’t believe it! Yay! I’m doing something right. We are trying to create healthy habits!
With kids on the spectrum, it’s all about routine. On weekends, we have been going to eat at a Japanese restaurant. Now it’s a routine for my son to eat sushi and he loves it!
When we go out, we try to not feed him out of the kids menu(hamburgers, Mac and cheese..) we order out of the adults menu. If we go to a seafood place, guess what? He is eating fish. If we go to a steak house he is eating steak, if we go to Japanese, he is eating Japanese… Don’t think that was easy, it took lots of practice, and tantrums till became a routine! Everyday is a new day! He has days that he doesn’t want to eat anything, but cup noodles:( We can’t give up.
We are excited to create healthy habits for our son, while he is still young, so when he gets older it’s that much easier.
We are eating sushi tonight! (As up to now, you know it may change… The only things is predictable is that our day is never predictable!)

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Social anxiety at music class

imageToday we started mommy and me music class. We were the first ones to get to the class, which was great. My son didn’t look at the teachers eyes, but was excited to be there. He was amazed with all the musical instruments and showed interest in playing with it.
Everything was running smoothly till the kids started coming, actually just 2 others kids, but that was enough to make him feel anxious. He started to cry asking to go home. After a few minutes he crawled up in the corner, crying for a few more minutes and then stopped crying without moving from the corner.
The amazing thing happened when the music teacher started talking about musical notes. She used a cute story that he related to. Little by little he moved to a chair and started making the hand movements, mimicking the teacher, than he started counting the notes.
It seemed like he just needed something that he could relate to, to start to warm up. He still didn’t look at the kids in their eyes, but started playing with the new instrument that the teacher brought up. He was so focus and fascinated by it.
Since I’m talking about social anxiety, let me share two interesting facts that happened this past month. One was when we were about to leave to go to a playdate. We always practice some social skills before we leave the house, so before I started the drill, my son Kyle said: ‘”Mom today I will not say hello friends.” I asked him why, and he answered:”Because I’m going to be shy”.
It worries me a little that he is getting more and more anxious to be around people. He used be ok being around other kids, he just didn’t have the social skills to interact with them. Now it seems like he is aware that he lacks social skills, so he chooses to not have to deal with it.
The other one was a few weeks ago, when we were getting ready to go to the park, he turned to me and said:”Mom we are not going to the park! We are going to the beach!” and I asked why, he answered: “Because at the beach I don’t have to say hello friends. There is no friends at the beach.”
The exposure and practice of social skills is definitely key for him. I think when he starts to see that he can actually interact with others kids, he will be excited about it. I can see that he wants to be around and play with other kids, he is just scared, because of the lack of skills. My job is to keep giving him opportunities to practice his social skills.

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Full hands and full heart!

Full hands and full heart! I love being a mom of a child with Autism. I Love my son with all my heart.
I’m adopting him, I’m choosing to be with him! I’m choosing to have not so ordinary days, to have to deal with lots of meltdowns and to receive hundreds of hugs and kisses daily.

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Sweet Mommy Moments

Sweet Mommy Moments

My little boy asked to put his socks on by himself;
My little boy started to put his pants on by himself;
My little boy can reach to drink water out of the water fountain;
My little boy is growing.
I’m happy!I’m sad!What type of feelings are that?
We get in the car, he can buckle his seatbelt by himself.
What? When did that happen?
I’m happy! I’m scared!
I’m afraid he is growing way too fast.
My little boy…
I’m afraid he is no longer my little boy;
When did he turn into a big boy?
I didn’t see, I didn’t notice.
I’m afraid, I’m scared,
That these sweet mommy moments will pass.
But I’m making a vow
My sweet little boy you will always be,
And all these sweet mommy moments
In my heart I will always keep.
I’m not afraid, I’m not scared
My little boy you will always be.

Those sweet moments I want to save in my heart and in my mind. I’m happy to see him growing and being independent. After all, is that not what we really want for our kids? To grow and be independent? So why do we feel these weird feelings?Are we scared that we will forget the sweet moments? Are we scared that they won’t be our little kids anymore? For a mom their children will be forever kids.

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Potty Training One Step at a Time.

Potty Training One Step at a Time.

We started potty training 2 weeks ago. No diapers or pull ups while we are home, just underwear. When we go out we use pull-ups or diapers, since our 3 year old son( 4 next month) would refuse to use any bathroom, but his own.
First day: 2 accidents ; pee and poop.
Second day: 1 accident. Pee, and he waited till it was time for me to put his diaper on to go to bed to poop.
Third day: total refusal to get potty trained. Early that morning my son came up to me and said: “No potty today! Diapers!”

Started to happen what I was afraid of, holding to poop.

On the forth day, he decided to get potty trained again, no accidents.
Fifth day: Refusal again to go potty.
Sixth day: he asked for underwear first thing in the morning, about 5pm he asked for diaper. I knew he wanted to poop. That was kind of a relief for me he now knows when he needs to go and he is not holding it in.

As frustrating as it sounds, I will take as a success, he went from not going potty at all, to being able to stay dry at home during the day. It has been two weeks, and now I don’t have to remind him every 30 seconds to go, he goes by himself without being reminded. Another huge victory, is that he is finally being able to put his pants up and down, and being able to do the whole procedure by himself(most of the time). [We have been practicing the self help skills for months, maybe more than a year with pictures, videos…]
I believe that are moms out there that has a whole lot harder and frustrating path to go, specially with kids that can’t communicate, and need assistance in every step. I sympathize with you and admire you for your love, patience and hard work.
Now we will try to work on the other steps. I know I have long ways to go, maybe a few more months, maybe a year. Kids on the spectrum can be really unpredictable, but I will be here holding his hand all the way, and we will be taking one step at a time.
This is the 2nd part of my previous post, Recipe for potty training?
https://franestes.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/recipe-for-potty-training/

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Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy

The first few minutes of “The Horse Boy “movie and lots of researches, made me decide to give a try at the Hippotherapy.
Now about the The Horse Boy movie, I’m not into the munchkins thing, but what impressed me was when the father placed the inconsolable temper-tantruming boy on the horse and it was like magic, the boy was calmed right away.
I will be posting how the therapy is helping my son.
Here are some of my researches:
http://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/articles/article-equine-aspergers-autism/
Hippotherapy is useful for:

relaxing tight muscles
increasing balance
building muscle strength
sharpening hand/eye coordination
gaining a sense of body-awareness
gaining a sense of self-control
gaining a sense of self-confidence
improving communication
improving concentration
improving socialization
improving patience
improving fine motor coordination
improving sensory integration
The movement of the horse moves the rider’s pelvis in the correct way, while also stimulating other bones, ligaments, and joints. A horse moves a person in more than one way, by tilting, rotating, and moving the rider, which would take a whole session of difficult physical therapy exercises to achieve. Sitting on a horse improves core muscle strength, muscle symmetry, balance, posture, flexibility, circulation, coordination, and breathing (which also makes it easier to speak). The autistic are unable to integrate their senses and understanding of how their bodies relate to external forces and surfaces; hippotherapy can greatly improve an autistic child’s sense of their own bodies in space. Hippotherapy frequently does not use a saddle, allowing the child to receive sensations from the horse’s movements, which makes a child aware of where parts of his or her body are in relation to the horse.

The excitement of riding encourages speech when the rider wants to communicate with the therapist and the horse. Non-verbal autistic children have suddenly started talking when they use the horse’s name or ask the horse to get moving! The therapy provides a solid yet enjoyable period of time for stimulation and exercise.

Equine therapy gives autistic children a sense of themselves, their bodies, and increased contact and interaction with the surrounding world. The kids’ self-confidence is greatly increased and they form a sense of competence by learning how to interact and work with their horse. These children quickly form attachments and relationships with the horse they ride, and this behavior is then expanded to include teachers, trainers, therapists, and family members.

http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/03/08/horseback-riding-autism-therapy

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Facilitating a bright Future.

Facilitating a bright Future.

As parents, through observation we can determine what strengths our children possess, and choose a strategy that would help them channel their strengths. Kids with ASD’s have true strenghs like, ” a remarkable capacity for memorization, superior academic skills ( particularly in reading and spelling), and/or strong visualization skills and unique behaviors that can be channeled into strenghs with a little creativity and a shift of perspective.” ( A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High-Functioning Autism- Ozonoff Dawson McPartland)
I have been thinking about this since my son was diagnosed, now the challenge is to find activities, therapies that would help channel his strengths.
I have been doing a lot of research in different therapies, classes and activities for my son. Sports, music, pets,schools, social groups… I found this website with different type of therapies (http://autism.healingthresholds.com/therapy) I also watched the other day the movie”the horse boy” that made me think of Hippotherapy. Reading about it I thought it’s a great way to help him in his weak areas and also would help him channel his strengths.
I’m thinking in using the summer to try to find some of my son’s strengths, and find ways to channel it. Piano class it’s one of the classes I want to try this summer. I want to make sure, that I don’t overwhelm him with too much, so I’m trying a couple classes at a time.
It’s my obligation and my pleasure to ensure that my child has a bright future. He is capable of that and he deserves no less that.

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