"I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to give you a hope and a future."

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Into Thy Arms

Into Thy Arms

Into Thy arms, O sweet Savior!
On Thy strength I rest assured!
Peace, sweet peace is mine to savor,
Rest, sweet rest the aroma allures.

“Come, weak one,” He bids to me,
“I’ll be your strength and stay,
I’ll open your eyes so you may see,
“I’ll open to you the righteous way.”

Rest assured, O child of God,
Rest in peace and salvation sweet.
For wherever your foot wonder or trod,
You, He’ll always love and keep.

Rebekah P. Tidball

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rough Waters

Apparently Nathan had a hard day at school today. They said they could tell he was getting more and more agitated and he finally broke down in absolute tears. Poor guy. Apparently the sound of the jingle bells they were playing with was hurting his ears and then some other things happened and it overwhelmed him.

I also had a chance to talk with Nathan's social worker for over half an hour today. It was very informative. I also received the notes from Nathan PT and OT evals. They now want him to get OT and PT once a week.

His social worker, I will refer to as SW, said Nathan needed a lot of visual prompts to complete tasks. They have picture cards that tell them what to do when they arrive at class such as hang up coat, open homework folder, put away backpack, and that sort of thing and apparently he became agitated when there was no picture card for what to do with his gloves! They told him to put them in his backpack but he was upset there was no card to prompt him.

They said when they ask him to do 2-3 tasks that he looses focus after the first tasks but if they give him visual cues he can follow through. Interesting. The SW said we could make cards for him to use at home and that way he can refer to his cards and we don't have to "nag" him to do things. If we tell him it's time to get ready to go he could refer to a set of cards that would show the steps he needs to take to get ready such as: socks, shoes, coat, etc. They said as smart as he is he has a hard time with common sense things.

The SW also said that Nathan would prefer to speak with her and the other teacher instead of the kids and he dominates the conversation, which is nothing new to us. We already knew that. They are getting him to interact more with his peers and are trying to get him to ask them questions and have a 2 sided conversation instead of just him talking.

Once again they killed about 10,000 trees and gave us another HUGE stack of paperwork!

Nathan definitely appreciates his alone time in his room after his school. I think he needs downtime to just do his thing. They said they push him pretty hard at school and try to get him out of his comfort zone of routines.

Again they are pushing us toward the "school" route and she even said she wasn't so sure we should start him on the 1st grade curriculum in January because he will just be so far ahead...not so sure I agree.

Lots to think about and pray about! Trusting the Lord to see us through as we know He is faithful and that it says in Jeremiah He has plans for us, to give us a hope and a future and plans to prosper and not harm us.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Emotion VRS Lack of Emotion

I know I said before that one of the hardest parts of Aspergers is how emotional Nathan can get over "silly" things or "small" things. But as upset as he can get over the fact I make him move over a little in the tub to wash his hair; he could care less if if he upsets you!

Nathan is floppy and clumsy and he runs into Emma, bumps her, steps on her, all the time! But even when she cries he barely looks at her much less says he is sorry or even feels bad.

Today during nap time Nathan destroyed an entire roll of wrapping paper he found in his closet. I wasn't that mad at first but I got more and more upset when I realized how much he just didn't care! He looked at me like I had lost my mind and with a "so what?" look on his face that is enough to drive you mad!

I asked him, "Don't you care you have done something that made mommy upset?"

He says, "Well, dad talked to me and I guess I do now."

He just doesn't get it and he doesn't really care. What a strange thing this Aspergers does to him! It makes him abnormal. While most people don't have to be taught to feel bad or feel a little sympathy for someone you have hurt or upset people with Aspergers really have to "learn" this. He just doesn't recognize other's feelings such as sadness or annoyance or impatience. I guess I should understand that and not let it upset me but it does!

So I pull him into a hug and he is all stiff and awkward and nearly headbutts me instead of hugging me. Then as if nothing happened he says, "Now can I watch tv?"


Monday, December 13, 2010

"She's talking..."

I find it amusing how many people are commenting on how much Emma is talking lately. I never really noticed that Emma wasn't a big talker in public. In my opinion the poor little thing doesn't get much of a chance. When we go places Nathan tends to talk so much she barely can get in a word! Neither can I!

Several people have commented though about her talking more. She talks to me. She says a ton of funny things and she is very crude! We are trying to teach her manners and what is o.k. to talk should hear the things that come out of those cute little lips!

It's been fun in the last four or five months to watch Emma and Nathan play together more and more. He often drags her into playing something he has seen on TV. She on the other hands has a great imagination and often comes up with new and crazy scenarios whereas Nathan just repeats and reinacts the things he has already seen.

They play well but they fight well too! Emma knows how to annoy Nathan and Nathan....well he annoyes Emma by talking at her too much or trying to tell her about the Presidents for the 90th time!

I just hope that they will always stay friends. I hope Emma doesn't surpass Nathan too far socially and want nothing to do with him. I hope they both are happy and have fun memories and they love the Lord. I hope a lot of things for my kids.....I guess all parents do!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Think about the Lord, dad!"

On Sunday mornings we don't let our kids watch television. We tell them that as they get older they can use any free time to pray or read their Bible or think about the Lord before heading off to church.

As you know, Nathan does not like jokes. Chris was joking with him this morning and Nathan was getting annoyed. I think he takes life so seriously that jokes make no sense and hold no merit to him.

So Nathan very seriously said to his dad, "Dad! You should be thinking about the Lord!"

Gotta love the little guy!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Little Boy Lost

It's hard to ever look at Nathan and think he is missing something. I mean the little guy scored a few points below a genius level! He taught himself to read, he writes, he does math, he asks complicated questions, is super observant, and probably smarter than I am! So how can I ever look at him and think something is missing. He looks "normal". He is a handsome and he smiles and he talks with EVERYONE! He is super friendly.

But with Aspergers I think you get what people would view as "small" losses.
Sometimes I feel like my husband has lost more than I have...if that makes sense. Both Chris and I believe firmly that Nathan was born with Aspergers and did not develope this from vaccines. Why? Because he has always been like this. As a baby he hardly ever slept. While others moms talked about these 2-3 hours naps their babies took I looked at them like they had two heads! Nathan would sleep for 15 minutes even as a small baby and if I got a thirty minute nap out of him I thought that was awesome! He was always so alert and I remember to this day how after he was born the nurses commented constantly over my two days in the hospital how alert he was.

Anyways, that being said...

There are certain things we feel like are lost to us or to Nathan. Nathan doesn't seem to notice or care so maybe it is no loss to him! Chris used to talk when Nathan was small about doing those "dad" things with Nathan. He talked about playing ball with Nathan, teaching him to ride a bike, and working on cars with Nathan the way he used to do with his grandfather. Except with Nathan he has narrow interest and he is not interested in cars and he is not physically coordinated enough to even kick a ball. Nathan tends to stiffen when Chris hugs him. If you say I love you, Nathan he often answers, "Yeah I know." Occasionally he will reply with "I love you" and we love it when he does that.

Nathan does not get jokes. Trying to get a laugh out of him by tricking him or joking with him will only get him really mad! Chris wants to joke with his son and it's hard to understand that he can't do that with Nathan.

Nathan can't do things that other kids his age can. He still can't button his pants and do zippers very well. He can't kick a ball if you roll it to him. During his PT (Physical Therapy) eval the Physical Therapist labeled him as "floppy" His muscle tone is too weak and his motor skills are lacking and his hamstrings are too tight and his arches pronate....also why riding a bike is really hard and he doesn't want to do that with Chris either.

If you talk or play with Nathan for even two seconds he assumes you are his best friend...for life. The other day at the YMCA Super Stars Program a little girl named Katy played with Nathan on the trampoline for a few minutes. He assumed they were best friends of course and tried to follow her around and play other things with her and was oblivious that Katy didn't want to play with him anymore and was getting annoyed by him. Katy even said "I want to do it by myself" but that goes over Nathan's head. "But we are friends so we do it together" he says. This even carries over to the fact he has such a good memory he won't forget her and will try and "be her friend" when he sees her there next time. Nathan even asked the next day if Katy was coming to a play date with us!

We are not complaining though! We have a brilliant little boy who CAN do all sorts of things, who thinks an Atlas, the planets, and the Presidents are the coolest topics ever. He ask hard and constant questions that makes us think. He is healthy and we know other kids who suffer physically and I can't imagine how hard that is for the parents and the child! He is super friendly and will talk with anyone.

I feel bad for him because part of having Aspergers means he is super emotional and some days are hard on all of us to see him get so upset or cry his little eyes out over such "small" things.

I can't help but believe that despite Nathan's "special needs" God has big plans for our little boy. Some might see him as a little boy lost.....we see him as a little boy God made and shaped and formed just for us in my womb. He is the little boy I got on my knees and begged God for. And of course there is that beautiful verse.... "His strength is made perfect in our weakness" whatever "weakness" Nathan might have...whatever "weakness" we might show in dealing with some of his quirks...God strength will carry us through and through God's strength Nathan's weakness will be strengthened. And on the days when we feel a little too tired to "deal" with this we remember we can rest because God will carry us through.


Info on Aspergers

The above is a great web site and I copied and pasted the following from the above web site. This article sums it up really well.

Asperger's Syndrome has probably always been around, however, the medical establishment has only recently begun to diagnose it.

Dr. Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician, wrote the first paper on the condition in 1944. He had been working with four children, ages 6 to 11, who had similar peculiarities. They were each passionately interested in one narrow subject, and would talk on and on about it.

Dr. Asperger believed these "little professors" had problems understanding other people. For example, they were clueless when their audience was becoming bored as they lectured about obscure subjects like growing peas, deep fat fryers or Richard III. They did not notice that people were yawning, looking at clocks, or trying to switch the topic. In addition, although the children could memorize facts about their subjects, they often had little understanding of it. For example, a certain child knew every obscure fact about the lives of U.S. Presidents and had no grasp of American history. They tended to be overly logical and rigid, sometimes moralistic in their viewpoints. They had trouble understanding metaphors. If a mother said, "I'm going to hop down to the store," her son with Asperger Syndrome expected her to leap like a rabbit.

As Dr. Asperger and others after him continued to study the syndrome, they were able to pinpoint other traits "Aspies" have in common. Some are clumsy and uncoordinated. They have trouble with self-care and tasks like tying their shoes or buttoning. Others have problems controlling their voices. They speak too loudly or in whispers; they have unusual inflections or monotones.

Many Aspies have trouble with sensory integration. They may overreact to loud noises or bright lights. They may be overwhelmed by the inside of a Wal-Mart with all the people, displays, lights and stimulation. They may cope with the stress by repeating certain behaviors to soothe themselves. Self-soothing may include elaborate rituals or "rules," such as wearing a certain item of clothing all the time or always eating from the same menu.

However, the trait that causes Aspies the most difficulty in life is their inability to pick up other people's social cues and to respond appropriately. Unlike autistic people, Aspies often are interested in other people and want to make and keep friends. However, they have to learn social interactions on an intellectual level instead of just picking them up naturally the way others do. For example, when a friend is wearing an ugly new shirt but seems very happy about it, most people will lie and say how nice the shirt looks. An Aspie may believe that the friend wants an honest answer to: "How do you like my shirt?" One six-year-old Aspie got in trouble when she told her grandmother that she was too fat to ride a bicycle.

For this reason, Aspies may constantly want feedback from the people in their lives. They may ask, "Did I say something rude?" because they really do not know if they did or not. There is a very endearing character on the television series, "Boston Legal", who is a brilliant lawyer with Asperger Syndrome. He carries around a little notebook with reminders like "Shake hands with your client after the trial," or "Thank the jury if our side wins." He always keeps his hands clasped in front of his body so he does not flap them around.

In 1994 Asperger Syndrome became part of the official "Bible" of American medicine, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This is the big reference book doctors keep on their desks when they diagnose mental disease.

In order to be diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a person must show two of these problems:
"Marked impairment" regarding nonverbal social cues (doesn't make eye contact, doesn't understand others' body language, etc);
Failure to make friends;
Lack of appropriate social and emotional responses to others; or
Inability to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests and achievements with other people.
In addition, the person must show one of these behaviors:
An abnormal and intense interest in one subject;
Adherence to a strict set of rules, routines and rituals;
Repetition of certain mannerisms like hand flapping, hair twisting or even whole body movements
An obsession in the parts or mechanics of objects.
Asperger Syndrome is considered one of five "Pervasive Developmental Disorders" within the spectrum of autism. It is a lifelong condition and occurs in boys four times as often as girls. Because Aspie children are not mentally retarded, doctors usually do not diagnose them until they are in the early elementary school grades.