Friday, September 18, 2015

Wade, oh Wade, oh Wade, oh Wade

For the purposes of my own documentation---and because I know y'all hardly sleep at night wondering what my family is doing---I thought I would jot down Wade's progress with his new program.

Wade has been attending Early Foundations, five days each week, since March. Remember when he started in March he had very little receptive communication (ability to demonstrate he was understanding the words being spoken to him) and virtually no vocabulary?!! I hardly remember that kid!

 He does an ABA-style therapy, and ABA is like my BFF. Seriously. Like anything else in life, there are alternate (read: very strong, opinionated views) opinions as to how children with autism spectrum disorder should be "treated." All I know is that we've set out on this path that God has laid out before us, and we've had NOTHING but HUGE success with ABA. I don't want to be one of those strong, overly-opinionated parents, but I will shout "early intervention" and "ABA" from the rooftops! If you need some nudging, I'm your girl :)

Anyway, I regress.

Once Wade figured out the whole "pointing" thing to communicate his needs, everything else kinda just burst open. I AM LOVING GETTING TO KNOW THIS KID!

He is still very limited in vocabulary with a few major exceptions; however, he will gladly answer "yes" and "no" when making choices to food, cartoons, toys, clothes, etc. This makes day-and-night difference with our communication. The major exception to his vocabulary would be song. On a daily basis, he uses the same redundant conversational words over and over; however, the kid can sing absolutely any song you throw at him. He sang "Father Abraham" pretty much the entire (30 minute) ride to school this morning. He loves music! That being said, I have no idea how many words are actually in his vocabulary----it's a super amount!

I love getting little glimpses of what is going on in that little head of his! Several weeks ago, we were watching him play with an airplane, and plain as day, we heard him count to twenty (like he'd been doing it his whole life) for a "blast-off!" Those moments make my heart swell with pride. Without that receptive communication, we had no idea what he actually knew. Now we know: he can identify all animals and animal sounds, he knows most of his shapes, he knows all of his colors, he knows all of his letter and the sounds they make (!!!), he can recognize his numbers, and he plays matching card games like a professional.

He surprises us on a daily basis, and I could just eat it up!

Most of his communication occurs with a simple one-word response, but he does have several phrases that he uses daily: "love you," "night night," and "ok, mommy!" In fact, just tonight he offered his first totally unsolicited "love you" to his brother at bedtime. My heart nearly burst. Normally, the conversation goes, "Wade, say love you." And he happily repeats. Tonight Cale came into his room to tell him good night, and while they were hugging, Wade said "love you!" Ah, my heart!

Since Cale has started back to school we've really got to enjoy some one-on-one time with Wade. We are really working on public outings! It's been (and continues to be) a huge road block for us. But, we are getting there. I'm confident.

We just completed his semi-annual Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP for those submersed in this world) with the program director at Early Foundations, and for the next six months our two goals focused on advancing communication and behavioral issues. Wade is a fit-thrower. Like throwing himself violently to the ground, banging his head, kicking his fit, hitting, whatever suits him at the time. It's sometimes heart-breaking. It makes this momma shed tears. Several things produce these reactions: 1) transitions, 2) lack of communication, 3) he's two, 4) over stimulated. Naturally, we try to eliminate the cause, but life is still life and we can't always guard him from these factors. We are learning. He is learning.

We are adding to his repertoire of therapy--another total God thing! Several months ago I caught a local news segment about the ORU Music Therapy Program (read about it here), so my little fingers got busy on my keyboard as I searched more about the program on the internet. I ended up emailing the program director, who responded very quickly. She felt like Wade was a perfect fit for their therapy; however, she said they wouldn't have a spot until after the new year. No biggie, I was thrilled to be on the waiting list. Last week the director emailed me again saying they had ONE SPOT open up this semester, and Wade was their dude! So, we start on Monday! :) I have no idea what to expect, but I know how well Wade responds to music---needless to say, we are really really excited about this! REALLY EXCITED!

Being Wade's momma has totally stretched me in the very best way possible! I will never stop being thankful for the gift of him :)