It was awesome!!
Zak did great!!
I am so very proud of my very brave boy!!!
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It was awesome!!
Zak did great!!
I am so very proud of my very brave boy!!!
It is a well-known fact that I am rather Pintrest obsessed. So it is no surprise that I have a board dedicated to Autism.
For those unfamiliar with Pintrest, it is an online social bookmarking service. Each “pin” is an internet bookmark for a website, blog, or page that I am interested in, use, like, and want to share with my followers.
Enter the word “autism” into the search bar and you will find a whole spectrum of offerings. It is rather overwhelming.
I like my collection of information, inspiration, humor, tools, ideas, products, and insight I have compiled, and continue to add to regularly.
It reminds me that I am not alone.
It shows me where to go for help.
It gives me tools, ideas, and information.
It makes me laugh.
It encourages, and teaches me.
Go check it out!! PINTREST
It is no news that Zak needs a little extra help preparing for new or different experiences, so I’ll give you a little insight into what that can involve.
Monday I called the doctor and dentist to make the kids’ annual well check and cleaning appointments. We’ve got a large amount of time to prep him for the doctor, and thankfully that doesn’t require as much these days. BUT, the dentist was able to get both kids scheduled for Wednesday – 2 and a half days to get my son ready for an experience he already knows that he doesn’t like.
The challenge lies in Zak’s ridiculous memory. The boy has one solid first impression of an experience and forever passes judgement based on that.
The dentist experience wasn’t the best in his books last time.
However, we have an outstanding dentist who makes this an easier and less stressful experience for all of us.
Zak has been to the office several times, yet only once for an actual exam. He is invited to come and hang out in the kids waiting room, play games, smell, listen, and get to know the staff, and the environment. We stop by whenever we happen to be in the area.
There are video games, TV’s playing movies mounted to the ceiling, and a dentist who has no problem with a screaming and crying child. He doesn’t push Zak to the point of being uncomfortable, but is firm and patient enough to complete the exam and perform a basic cleaning.
So our prep work will be a great amount of talking. We will go over the memory of the last visit, what was fun, what was scary. Label his emotions, and explain all the steps that will happen. We will use pictures, videos, we will spend a good amount of time in the bathroom mirror examining and counting his teeth, and have him practice letting mommy and daddy touch his teeth to count them.
It is stressful for most people to visit the dentist. To have someone put their fingers in your mouth, and to poke and scrape a little here and there. There are polishers that bring new and somewhat intense sensations, water to rinse, and a strange sucker thing that feels like it is going to vacuum up your whole face. That is a whole lot for Zak’s oversensitive sensory system to input process, and understand.
So, here’s to hoping all goes well, or at the worst, that it goes just a little bit better than last time. Because, truly, that is all we really strive for. We want to see improvement and forward momentum, even the smallest of victories counts for major points in this life with autism.
It is always fun to showcase a part of Zak that only a few get to see.
Zak is often perceived as shy, as his behaviors are slightly different than typical autistic kids. Rather than screaming, and crying and throwing royal tantrums (and we do get our fair share of those), Zak prefers to simply shut down and stop interacting when he is overwhelmed, or can’t communicate his needs or desires. School currently finds him sitting in a chair during circle and rarely participating, or occasionally participating very quietly. Something we have seen with our own eyes, and know to be true. However, we also know that it isn’t a true reflection of Zak’s personality.
When Zak is home and comfortable with his surroundings as well as the individuals he is interacting with, he is so silly.
This boy thinks he is the funniest thing ever!
He often wanders the house wearing Daddy’s shoes, trying to convince me that he is daddy.
He loves to give wrong answers and then cracks himself up about it.
He loves to be tickled!
He giggles and laughs and sings and dances!
He will sit down for quiet reading time, and all I hear is him belly laughing about a picture, or I’ll find him reading it upside down.
He truly loves to laugh and to make others laugh as well.
We see Zak’s full potential of personality and trust me when I say, there is a whole lot of Zak that is packed up in that autistic system of his.
He is silly, sweet, gentle, loud, bossy, and stubborn. He amazes me all the time!!
I can’t wait to see him open this up more, and show the rest of the world.
A big part of Zak’s autism is stress. There are a number of causes, like oversensitive sensory input, frustration with not being able to accurately communicate needs, and challenges with adapting to unpredictable situations and experiences.
Imagine wandering around in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and have no information about the culture. Now imagine you have to use the restroom…. where is it? how do you ask? who do you ask? how do you understand their answer? all while you desperately need to use the restroom.
It would be rather stressful.
That is very similar to how Zak feels a great deal of the time. So it is no wonder that his stress levels are higher than the average 4-year-old, and are much more comparable to those of an adult.
Stress effects every aspect of life, from our appetite, to our quality and quantity of sleep, and our interactions with others.
Lately we have noticed that Zak has been sleeping badly. He tells us he is scared, he tosses and turns in his sleep, he gets up multiple times at night and struggles to fall back to sleep, he grinds his teeth in his sleeps, and is fearful and anxious at bedtime.
There can be several causes, the most likely is that our daily and nightly routine has been somewhat tossed out of the window for the past 3 weeks. We have had a family vacation, parent/teacher conference week that included shortened school days, a week of birthday activities, and now spring break. Routine and predicable days and nights help manage Zak’s stress and anxiety, so to step away from them would naturally bring that anxiety back to the front.
So back to the routine we went and it improved things a little. We have a rather established bedtime routine that is designed to give him social and physical cues to transition into sleep, but without the daytime routine to match, he has still struggled this week.
Off to the internet I went to see what other solutions I could find. enter lavendar essential oil in the bedtime bath, and a short and fun bedtime yoga sequence.
Wednesday night he selpt peacefully in his own bed all night.
Thursday night was a disaster.
Let’s hope tonight is an improvement!! And, that with the return of a regular school week on Monday, daily schedules, and routine evenings it continues to improve!