Monday, June 03, 2013

Status June 2013

#1, #2 and #3 (neurotypical) made it through another school year. 

By our standards it went well for all. For #3 some encouragement and routine parental attention was needed; I sometimes wonder what parents of neurotypicals do with all their spare time. Joking! I don't know if there really are any neurotypicals, and even an average adolescent can be a heavy challenge.

Managing school for #1 and #2 required rather more effort. That fell largely upon E; a small part of those challenges have been noted here. This is why E and I cannot both work full time; this burden is why so many families of special needs children suffer economic hardship (we are more fortunate). She sometimes pushed, sometimes negotiated, monitored, compromised, met, opposed, allied -- and that was with the school. Then there are the kids.

There is more work ahead, but I've learned not to gather sorrows before their time. We may be wiped out by a meteor before then and the worrying would all be wasted.  Instead, for my own benefit, and for those on earlier phases of the journey, I'm looking backwards -- abetted by the serendipitous discovery of an old unpublished post.

Looking back, despite the tenor of posts often written amidst struggle, much has been achieved. Nothing miraculous, more like the seas wearing away rock over years and centuries, still, progress.

#2 was a great fit at age 2-3y to the DSM III diagnosis of autism. Not Asperger's, straight up autism. This year he completed the advanced academic track of his middle school, won a class-leading award, was on the (non-adjusted) Honor role, plays hockey, mountain bikes, road bikes (a little scary that), inline skates (I no longer tow him), nordic skies, swims well (loves the deeps), is learning Python programming this summer, does his chores, and a bunch more I forget. Witty, charming, seems to be liked by his classmates, insightful, a skilled artist, a happy reader...

It adds up over time. There was no ABA in that history, but lots of work and patience and time and chance. He's not neurotypical; there are a lot of things that will derail him, but he's covered a lot of ground.

#1 has more severe disabilities. He won't go to college. He still has trouble making change and calculating analog times; I doubt his reading tests above 4th grade. But he reads! He writes (email and texts)! Heck, at one point we feared he wouldn't speak.

He does baseball, tennis, golf, swimming, hockey, horse back riding, nordic skiing, soccer, mountain biking -- he plays with adapted teams and he plays with mainstream teams (sometimes at the same time).  He's becoming a skilled road cyclist -- able to give me a good 2 hour ride even it he tends to stay in 9th gear on the hills. He does his chores and his homework, and he does well editing his iPhone calendar and integrating it with the family Google Calendar. He's getting more lawn mowing jobs, he manages the horses at summer camp. He wants to do high school algebra next year [1] so this summer he'll practice on DragonBox+. We're going to teach him more task, time and schedule management skills so that he can be less dependent on his high school class aides [2]. He no longer gets a timeout/respite every 15 minutes [3].

That's a lot of progress.

Now for the summer ... 

[1] Fine with us, I don't think more time on long division will make much difference. He'll work with his special ed teacher.
[2] School aide skills varies widely, as do the skills and interest of the responsible vice principal. We've had some excellent aides, but in the case of #1's year to come we'd prefer to need them less.
[3] It's getting hard to remember how hard those times were. 

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