Wednesday, November 6, 2013

a birthday that came and went...

I have been so busy and yet somehow so calm as everything has been so different these last months.
The hours that I actually spend teaching my son have gone down from thiry hours to twenty, he is spending so much time playing with his classmates, I supervise, but mostly spend my time watching from afar interfering only when I hear raised voices or occaisonally when he drifts away and tries to pull himself out of games.
Two friends or more are still a challenge. I set up such playdates about once a week.
I have started to see myself more often in him. When he tries to hide behind a book instead if chatting. Small talk took me a long time to learn.
 He will learn as well, but it all takes time.

I pull him close as a classmate runs inside the school tyo get his schoolbag.
Do not get lost in books while you have a friend over I remind him. Using an Icelandic expression that would literally tranlate as do not lie down in books. You can read when your friend is gone.
Nope he answears, so sage so good, I am going to sit.

And while his friend is over I make list of common expressions that could be misunderstood it taken literally. He loves his new program. He finds it hilarious to act out the literal expression and comparing it to what it really means.

Donald duck is his newfound obsession and everything that has to do with him. We get a new magasine every week and Sturla has decided to become a postman.

His class came over for his birthday a nice uneventful day. They are lovely boys.

Sometime he gets irritated over tiny things and he has to learn to curb his outbursts and master a more pleasant manner on occasions, who does not. I see that many of the hings I am practising with him, his little friends need practising as well.
Some more than others. So it goes.

He keeps making strides and some days are better than others. I hear him say things that amaze me. They are simple mundane things. Things he would not have done last year.
Such simple things.
"Mom please do not buy all the things you see, it takes forever."
Asking his brothers "Hei guys, have you seen my Donald duck figure"
These are things that tell me he is watching his environment and paying attention and making conclusions.
Some days are wonderful.

He is dooing well in school, the subjects are easy.
Planning and paying attention is not.

I signed up for the nanomo writing challenge and it goes slowly, sooo slow, but at least I am making an effort, an effort that would not have been possible a few months ago.

He is eight years old now. A big boy in spite of his small stature. A boy that I believe has climbed a very high mountain.
And I have started to believe everything is possible.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Summer winter and we start again

Summer came and summer went.
It was a slow in  coming and it seemed to disappear just as quickly...
and some would say it never came at all.
It was cold and rainy and windy. Nothing seemed to bloom until august.
We went to Norway too seek out the sun and some family.
I took our working stuff aaway and it collected dust for whole six weeks.
I took a few worry loops and leaps in my head and left it at that.
It was good.
I found out that Norway has beaches, lovely sun baked rocks and strawberries in abundance.
Sturla was happy and a bit absent minded during our vacation. But I knew there was a lot for him to take in.
He dicovered the sequel to Despicable me but refused to see it in Norway. Is it in Icelandic he asked. will be either in English or Norwegian. Will it have subtitles he asked again. Nope...not in Icelandic.
We will see it at home then.
And we came home to the rain and the wind.
And we went camping and our tent flew away in the wind.
And we had a hard time starting our program up again. We were both lazy and wanted to enjoy ourselves and not do anything at all. It took awhile but litlle by little so achingly slowly we found new games to work for and settled into routine we met our consultant and bit by bit we were on that horse again.

Listening, retelling and wh questions
reading comprehension inferences
R sound (the rolling juicy kind)
retelling stories
adjectives and descriptions
emotional vocabulary and definitions
reading and acting
cooperation during tasks
writing stories and events
Theory of mind, through stories and acting

The first meeting at school is past us and everything is just so swell. He plays during recess with a two and three and sometimes four classmates. He loves telling in circle time. He has no curriculum at school that is different than his peers. The teacher worries more that he is bored by the subject than that he is left behind. His aide is wonderful. We need to work on attention as before and staying on task.
It is fall after all and the leaves are blowing ever so hypnotically on the trees.
M is still his best best friend and there are three others that he has connection with. He has playdates two and three times a week like last winter and I am on the lookout of where we need to work.
There is a lot to teach.
But life is surprisingly smooth.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer break

Summer break.
Saying goodbye to first grade celebrating that we did it, he made friends he did great.
Those little peers lining up asking me when they can visit. Chatting with the mothers agreeing we will stay in touch during the summer.
A tight hug for his teacher and aide.

Next year we will set new goals and raise the bar,
 but that is in three months. Three long months

We are working a lot on vocabulary. New words to describe emotions.
There is instant generalisation.
 As if he was just waiting to get his hands on a tool like that, he uses every opportunity to practice. I do nothing but watch.
I am hugging you warmly he says and I receive one of those warm tight ones. Now you feel good in your heart.
And I do.

I am so excited I cannot wait. I am thoughtful I am thinking so much.
And on and on as if he is going through the list of his newly acquired vocabulary in his mind.

There is suddenly meat on the bones.
Juicy language.
And I am already thinking of where to go next.
Greedy meat eater

The spring is still cold and I complain of the wind and rain. At least there is no snow anymore in the south. My garden is getting greener every day. I trust that Norway will offer summer as we will be visiting my brother in the beginning of july.
Until then we will settle for the fresh chilliness and bright nights of Icelandic summer.
It is beautiful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A shark leaping

 A shark leaping

Once there was a shark. This shark did not have a name. This shark knows how to leap. He is going to eat animals. This shark is fast. He is going to jump and eat people. He will soon die because the people intend to find the shark.

Author Sturla
Translator ÞJ

Friday, May 3, 2013

Nothing shall ever be set in stone

Definitions and words
So much I read in this blog world of autism is a bout wording and words and definitions
as if no one gets that words are fluid and so are thoughts.
with autism
autistic I laughed out loud when I read that american I thought like the term politically correct...what
normal...who where?
Funny because in my mind autism has so much to do with the hardships of language.
Language absolutely.
Perhaps that is why.

I love you he blurts out and hugs his best friend...
He loves me his friend laughs and the kids laugh too...they are laughing with him at the moment.
Six and seven years old innocent and sweet.
He will be picked up by his friends mother today... for a playdate.
I will fold some laundry and fret at home.

Dabbi my nine year old is visiting a friend. G is his classmate. The play a lot these days. I am autistic G confesses during a video game. Dabbi replies...well I am colour blind. That was that.
No issues. No definitions. just enjoying each others company.
Playing, laughing.

He takes an exam at school.
He is the most fluent reader but his challenge is keeping his attention in place for half an hour and finish that test.
Thirty minutes is an eternity...tick tock...sixty seconds in a minute...sixty seconds... thirty times
It is forever an eternity

Stay tuned child.
Pull your reins, reel in your attention. Stay on task.
Conquer the world
it is yours...

Motivation is a huge issue now...
I have not been myself.
There has been no normal anywhere.
There is no spring...snow keeps drifting from a grey sky and the wind has not lost its bite.

He talks about summer vacation and camping trips all the time and I know he needs a break ...
a different setting to keep pushing the boundaries.
His as well as mine.

Happiness is an inside job, but new settings might help.
Sun would help.
Some chocolate will surely help.

We are both tired.
Trying is hard

I hate final words... I hate words like forever and always and never.
I want fluid, variety, grey scales and possibilities.
I bang my head against the rock in the hope that in the end there will be a dent

I want him to keep those friends that laugh with him.
I want to keep that picture in my mind, this sweet bunch of kids that laughed merely because there was an opportunity to laugh and because they like laughing best of all.

no issues just playing

Monday, April 1, 2013

An update on march

It flew past..that is what happened.
I hardly remember.
March happened and it is an effort to know what was...
The sixth of march there was a heavy snowstorm I pick my kids up early from school.
I drive carefully slowly because of the icing and we are alright it is good to be home.
The day after it rains and the last furious remnants of winter are washed away.

The fifteenth of march is my late fathers birthday and I am already tired and sad. I feel bad forgetting his birthday and when a friend posts a picture of him on facebook I cry my heart out.

I am taking a dive.

I am a bad teacher when I am down ...i have a hard time backing down... stubborn as I am and it takes a herculaean effort to pull my self together. slow down rest repeating the mantras...happiness is a choice.. fake it till you make it and I do...
 I think

Sometimes trying is the best you can do.
There are already signs of spring if only for the longer days and those hesitant lilies in my garden.
Winter is over.
...wonderful steps have been made and it is time to rise the stakes.
it is time to remember that joy is the key.

I have no manuals anymore. I bought some books but it is a lot of work trying to put together programs and translate and make new worksheets.

I am not sure why I never know my limits. perhaps this is just the way I tick and time to accept that.

Our consultant has started seeing us again. But she does not have much time. Her tiny newborn is waiting at home. I am grateful for the fact that she still makes time too see us.

I am pulling our stuff apart and switching programs after our last meeting. In an effort to crush boredom and make learning a pleasant thing. He likes some things more than others...and he loves printing out pictures and writing stories...the stories are still more or less a description of what he sees. But I try and sneak in questions and suggestions to make him think of motives and feelings.

Inferences are coming to stay for a long time. Variety in working material is necessary... this guy gets quickly bored.

Vocabulary. I am working on a wider variety of words to descripe feelings as well as teaching common proverbs.

The clock has come along way...

Money. Counting and thinking of what is equal linking this back to math which is going fine.
Math and music often go together so we are relativley fine in this are. now and the we stumble is as it is...
written math... has to do with language not so much with math

listening skills.

listening and answearing wh questions....tough stuff. makes me despair...I am trying to find the right sise of steps. He gets bored with repetition and zones out....
 I make stories about angry birds and zombies and his friends..I think I have to make frequent and short visits on this....Or he will zone me out lock the door and throw away the key

Reading and taking turns

Independence. I let him go alone into the mens room at the pool. In my excuse I had not slept the previous night . Could not follow him obviously. he refused to come with me. I sent a pool guard in to check on him. He came out minus one shirt and a towel and had dried himself off with toilet paper because he lost his towel. I call that problem solving and I am satisfied with the results.

I am revisiting theory of mind. Trying to get my act together...i want him to become aware how he affects people and that he can influence the way other think of him. Humonguous goal....

I wonder if I should explain his autism to him. I am not sure. He is such a baby still.

My daugther went into the hospital for an appendicitis operation. She came home the next day. Sturla belived she had a broken leg that is why you go to the hospital in his mind.
General knowledge is an issue obviously, and a necessity for conclusions as well as inferences.

Easter has come and gone our teeth hurt after all that chocolate and Sturla has been loving his vacation.  He got two friends to visit. It  went well... at least okay
 He needs more visits like that.

We are plodding on. Spring is in the air. The winds are changing and we are good.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

friendship and social skills

We are there... I can hardly believe it.
My son has a friend.
One step accomplished and a long walk ahead.

So little one... do nor blow it!
Please do not blow it...please learn to cope fast enough so you can keep that little friend.
...friends are hard to find and they have to be cherished and kept...
Now some things are up to you.
How do we teach that.

M has proven to be a wonderful friend to Sturla. he is patient and understanding, he has a good sense of humor he is lively and has good socials, he is friendly with everyone and seems to be able to play with everyone.

Sturla is taking new steps and missteps on his way to become a friend.
He gets jealous when M plays with other kids.
He has no idea how to solve conflicts or disagreements.
He has no idea how his behaviour affects his friends.

So we had some drama. He shoved M and some girls in his class. The reason was he wanted M to himself and he also wanted to play another game. Even though the game had formerly been agreed upon.
He said I hate you to his friend when they disagreed upon whether a certain stone was to represent a schoolbus or a caravan.
When asked to apologize...he did so reluctantly and ended the "I am sorry "....with a twist...I am sorry ...jerk...
He apparently was still angry.

Thankfully M is a forgiving little person. Not big on grudges.Not easily angered.
I got the story of what happened from Sturla himself.
That was a new accomplishment ...I got the what and how and where something happened.
This was discussed and talked about and the scenario played out ...what happened... why... how could he do otherwise.
Then he felt remorse and and was sad, he tried hard to come to terms with all those new expectations and information he was flooded with...putting together the fragmented knowledge of what is a friend and what is friendship and what is expected.

The knowledge his classmates have gained slowly for the last six years is pushed on him all of a sudden and he just has to learn how to swim....
I try to teach ...make books and talk to parents working the social network as I can. I invite the kids home and I make it fun.
But in the end my sweet child it is you that has to do the work.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Right on track

Our curriculum for the beginning of the new year.

Reading comprehension.
Drawing inferences
Retelling a story he just read in the right order
vocabulary from that story.
Wh questions from that same story.
Describing events...
Discriminating between ask and tell (too him it sounds the same in icelandic) ...again...
Writing stories
Telling the time.
Telling jokes
Telling riddles.
Social skills...having play dates, playing sessions conversations.

New challenges arise...I can now see how literal his language is. I pick out what I notice trying to explain how that or this is just a thing we say...a picture we draw with words.

He tries to make rules.
M is my friend...he states as if he needs no other and refuses to let other children join.
But M has a mind of his own...I am not sure he gets that.... too obsessed with his own.

it is on that endless list.

stubborn becomes rigid...
bend...not too break....
how is it done?

Look... I am looking at you so beautifully he states during a session ...and he is and gets a token for it.
He shows signs of being able to evaluate how he did.
I getting him into more group activity. Lego classes at school. His piano teacher has group lessons.
He has started to follow one friend around in recess.
I make a gesture with my hands where he sits in school singing with all the classes, to show him his hair is unruly...smooth it I say with my hands. He obliges.
Small victories.

We have playdates once or twice a week...such a slow going.
Small victories.
Defeats make a setting for a new stage. 
Our consultant is unavailable for the time being...I miss her badly.

Sooo slow but still we are on it...right on it.