Who said life wasn’t easy- TAKE TWO!

I’m a music person. Just am. This is what I listened to as I wrote this. It’s Glee, but it’s good!

Take Two is better anyway, so scroll all the way down, there’s been changes!

I have disappeared from this world. Meh. What can you do? With some nudging from she-who-will-not-be-named I am back here writing again. Frankly, if I stop, y’all just go out and start spamming the heck out of my inbox, k?

As far as the last few months… I could spend pages and pages and pages catching you up, but I won’t. We’re alive. We are healthy. We are here. Capiche?
(Total side note, what is your preferred way of spelling capiche? There seems to be dozens of ways to do so, correct or not).

I’ll start with the basics as of this week, if that works for everyone.

Danny has had quite a few fabulous weeks at school with no run ins with his teachers and he is listening well, so yay Mr. Dan. I think he’s being challenged quite a bit now, too. For Valentine’s Day, he made Austin and I these:

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Couldn’t ask for a better kiddo. He is doing well with all of this Richie business. He handles Richie so well, and is so patient. Austin and I certainly are not the only ones learning which idiosyncrasy will get Richie up off the floor and stopping crying.

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Richie…well Richie has been the tough one these last few weeks–and well, months. He has received an Education Verification of Autism through the school, that was administered by two autism experts from Kearney, the speech pathologist, occupation therapist, head of the SPED-Special Educational Department, the school principal, school psychologist, Richie’s preschool teacher, and finally, Austin and I. It was determined that he is High Functioning, which is good. High Functioning is sort of the new term for Asperger’s, which is no longer used in the medical community.

They administrated a type of test for Richie called ADOS – The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. That “test” is what was used to say Richie fell on the Autism Spectrum, because don’t forget kids that may make certain amounts of eye contact, and even like to cuddle, like my little Richie does, doesn’t mean he isn’t on the spectrum. Like ‘they’ say, “When you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve met one child with Autism.” Get it? 😉

So Educational Verification, MDT report (Multidisciplinary report), IEP (individualized education program) all in hand, and as Richie like’s to say about EVERYTHING, CHECK!, we then take his paperwork to a doctor in North Platte who observes Richie, very thoroughly reads the ADOS and everything else, says it was done impeccably, and one of the most thorough ones he has looked over. Go McCook Public Schools!! Richie is now Education Verified (EV) and Medically diagnosed as Autistic. High Functioning. (Good.)

Let me clear a few things up before I move onto the services that he will receive through this.

Richie has Autism. Autism does not have him. Since I guess there are many people out there, including my own friends and family trying to find the most politically correct way to talk about this, I’ll just tell you! 🙂

Richie is not an “Aussie” I hate that, it makes him sound like he’s from Australia.

Richie is not AN autistic Richie IS autistic.

Many parents don’t like many things but I am fairly flexible as this goes, as long as you don’t go “The Autistic Boy.”

Richie has autism, Richie is autistic, etc, etc, is fine. And never be afraid to ask! Believe it or not, we don’t really get tired of the questions, because we see it as you trying to understand our child better! 🙂

Be forewarned though, many parents aren’t as flexible.

On another note…

Richie is a boy, that is NOT a requirement for Autism.

Richie does talk as best he can: talking doesn’t mean he is not Autistic.

Richie will make eye contact, goof-ball or no, but YES, still is autistic. (He was being a scalawag here!)

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Richie is even pretty tender-hearted with his family, and I call him my second skin children with autism (the proper way to say versus autistic child, by the way), don’t have to be withdrawn and act as if they don’t like their parents or can’t show affection.

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It’s a spectrum people!

Austin and I were even at an urgent care a few weeks ago for an ear infection Richie had but he wasn’t cooperating. Austin apologized and explained Richie was autistic (I’m flexible). The doctor then looked at us, no joke, an MD people! And said,

“He doesn’t look autistic, who told you that”?

I lowered my eyebrows, and threw out the laundry list of people who have told us he is autistic and if it wasn’t for the realization that I would have to hear this stereotype over and over, why would I waste, “What are your credentials again, and oh, remind me what autism looks like, I seem to have missed that fact” on the guy I needed to treat my kids nasty ear infection? So I just left it at that, and he didn’t say anything else.

On the other hand, some awful women in Wal-Mart was shooting me the dirtiest looks ever when Richie was having a sensory overload and throwing a fit. I mentioned in passing that he was autistic, sorry for the noise. She stopped walking and looked at me, looked at Richie, then looked at me. She then said, “He doesn’t look autistic.”

I paused and stared back. Blinked a few.

Then asked her, “What does ignorance look like?”

Gave her the sweetest smile I could muster and walked away.

Bygones.

Sorry, folks, some of you might think it was uncalled for but this is my baby we are talking about and I am just SICK of the comments and dirty looks, and pure and simple, sometimes I just can’t help myself! So I walked out, with a smile on my face in tow.

Anyway, back to the services thing. Richie will be receiving speech and occupational therapies through his preschool at the McCook Public School. We will also be receiving help for more home-based issues that come up through the doctor in North Platte. I really feel like we are making progress. Richie still has days like this, quite frequently and I imagine he will always be the boy off to the side, because socializing is just too painful for him:

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But he is starting to come a long way at school. He can put his own coat on now, minus the zipping. He is finally able to cut things with scissors with the teacher’s help, and he wouldn’t do any kind of coloring craft before.

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The white hand in the middle of the heart is actually Richie’s hand, but it’s in the sign for “I love you” in American Sign Language. They teach all the kids at preschool.

Danny, the little champ, is amazing. He handles this perfectly, and realistically, is probably more grown up then he should be. He receives perfect grades at school and is involved in the accelerated reading program. He loves his class. He did start wrestling this quarter, and will be starting soccer in a few weeks. CCD is also our every Wednesday thing now.

First report card:

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A few other projects he has brought home:

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Austin, as I expected is loving small town living, and small town policing. The man was made for it. He simply loves it here. He likes all the guys and gals he works with, as I do, and on that front, we really couldn’t have asked to walk into a better situation.   He’s proud of himself, and of course, as well are the boys and me of course!

Danny wanted to bring Police Officer Daddy for show and tell, for those of you who didn’t know.

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As for me…well, I’m not a country girl at heart. I’m just not. Tried to embrace it, get the hang of it. My heart just belongs in a city. I’ll stay here, and be happy here, because I have my boys and husband, but make no mistake, I miss all you guys on the East, and it makes my heart ache still more than words can express.

The words, home is where is the heart is, have never been so true, as they are now.

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