Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?!

It is hard to believe that we are going on two years since we went to Ohio to get Dublin...

It's not so hard to believe that it has been a year and a half since I've posted on this blog...sorry...time flies when you're managing chaos!!!

I admit that I still find myself not being a "dog lover".  He is a lot like another child at times - he wants to eat, can be selective in obeying if he thinks you're not paying attention, brings mud in the house, wants to play when I want to mellow out, throws up on my carpet etc.  :o)  We did find Sasha, our white dog, a new home because she continually jumped our fence and would not come when we called her.  Judd made a fabulously HILARIOUS ad on Craigslist to find her a new home, but was continually flagged and deleted.  (Want to see the ad, email me).  :o)  We eventually simplified it and found her a home with a loving elderly man that needed companionship, which Sasha was great at.

It is amazing to look back at previous postings that I've made on this blog and to see where we are at today.  Jacey is an incredibly blessed little girl and I am grateful for the things she teaches me each day. Patience is one that she continually works with me on!  :o) 

Jacey started Kindergarten at the end of August in a fully mainstreamed classroom at the same school Bailey and Carsten attend.  This was one of my biggest goals that I had from the beginning of this "Autism" journey.  There are a total of 19 kindergartners that they have split into two classes - Jacey is in the class with 12 and is with the same kindergarten teacher that Bailey and Carsten had.  I know it hasn't been a piece of cake for the staff at the school seeing that Jacey is their first student with moderate Autism.  It is a learning experience for them and I appreciate their hard work, dedication, and loving hearts. 

It was a year ago that we had an Autism expert, Ann Garfinkle, come visit us through Jacey's waiver program she is on.  Ann was in our home to observe Jacey and to answer any questions we might have.  At that time, Jacey was still frustrated in her lack of communication skills.  Ann told us that for most children on the Autism spectrum, once they hit fifty words in their vocabulary, their language would explode.  From that day on, I tracked each and every word Jacey knew and used.  And as Ann said, once Jacey hit fifty words, the list began to expand even faster than it previously had.  Today, Jacey uses full sentences and can usually tell us what she wants.  She still has difficulty when she is upset to verbally tell us what is wrong or what she wants.

Because of Jacey's growth in communication skills, her meltdowns have become fewer and farther apart.  She is a very happy little girl for the exception of those few days where she has an "off day".  It is interesting to see her relationship with Dublin as these few meltdowns occur.  Dublin will come running if he hears her cry and want to lick her face or hands.  With her ability to communicate, she will often times stop mid-meltdown and tell Dublin, "No kiss my face/hand."  After that, it seems her meltdown is pretty much over. 
I have also learned so much more about Jacey since beginning this waiver program.  I can now tell when Jacey is under stress and I shouldn't push her in the things that I expect of her or ask her to do much more than her preferred activities.  It's called "mottling" of the skin.  Her arms and cheeks become blotchy.  My other kids do this when they get cold.  However, Ann Garfinkle told me that this is a sign that Jacey's body is under stress in possibly a different way.  It is the body's signal that something is wrong and for children with Autism, it is a good indicator that they have reached their "breaking point".  That if you push too much further, it will result in a meltdown.  I've learned that at some of these meltdowns, Jacey needs deep pressure hugs and that she is calmed by them.  Schedule, routine, and knowing what is going to happen in the upcoming future is HUGE for Jacey.

Her desire to run off has decreased as she has gotten older.  Doesn't mean she never goes down our road a ways before we realize it or that she has the ability to escape out of our fenced yard.  But the fear of her running has decreased greatly!  I am happy to say that we have yet to use Dublin in a "real life" track...knock on wood!

Dublin gets soooo excited when Jacey wakes up each morning and when she comes home from school.  He is still so much a puppy with the level of energy he exhibits throughout the day!  I love it when we go to town with him and people ask how old he is (two years old) and how amazed they are at how calm he is.  He just stores all his energy until we get home!

Overall, things are going well in our home.  Our children are heatlhy, Jacey has made huge gains, Dublin loves his girl, and life is good.  Thanks for being a part of our journey....


Wrestling Tournaments for Carsten - March 2012

"Look how big I am!" - April 2012

Jacey and Dublin are off to cook! - June 2012

Took a walk while camping this summer - July 2012

Chillin' with Dubbie - July 2012

Getting some loves... - July 2012

LOVING the petting zoo at the State Fair!  What you can't see is Dublin outside the fence looking at the goats trying to figure out what type of dog they are! - August 2012

Jacey was the happiest at the petting zoo - August 2012

FIRST day of Kindergarten for Jacey! - August 2012

Getting ready to watch for the bus - August 2012

First day of school.  Being shown her new visual schedule by the school's Speech Therapist. - August 2012

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