Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Meeting in the middle.

"Are you okay Mom?"

The question caught me off guard. I had a bit of a coughing fit because of a tickle in my throat as I was about to start my car. Seeing as we were the only two in the car, I was kind of in shock to hear a question like this asked of me. I looked at Kiddo and asked him "Wait. What did you say?"

And he repeated himself "Are you okay Mom?" with a look of genuine concern on his face.  I stumbled to answer him,  "Yeah Kiddo. I just had a tickle in my throat."

"Go see Logan and Maya?"

"Yeah, we can go back home now." and I started driving back to our house because I know when he asks to see the dogs, he's done with being out and needs to go home to decompress.

He's never inquired about me. He's never asked how I was. Ever. I was a bit stunned that he not only asked but repeated it.  Sometimes when I ask him to repeat things he has said, he gets shy and looks sad, Like he thinks he's failed at enunciating something clearly and then is unsure of being able to do so at all and will whisper it so quietly. So the fact that he not only asked this but did it twice loud and clear, well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Hot Damn!

The Kiddo has always shown empathy even though it's never in the usual way. ( Like asking someone if they are okay.) Like most things with Autism, I had to get use to it. That it wouldn't be in a way I expected. Or even the way that I needed it.  As I learned his ways of expression, I guess he was also busy learning some of mine.

And isn't that what we have been working so hard all these years to do.

I guess what I am saying is I have to remember to honor his ways because he is trying his best to honor mine.  I might think his ways of looking at life are quirky but I'm sure things like looking at people's eyeballs when you talk to them is pretty strange sounding to him. So I guess I'll keep meeting him in the middle because it's worth it. 

So. Freaking. Worth. It. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Kiddo's Squad

New year, new blog-ish.  Well, not really. I thought it would be fun to try a little something different.  You see, there is one thing I know with our lives with autism. It's that we have been lucky enough to meet some really amazing people. In this case, it started because Kiddo was her client. Whether she planned it or not and because I have boundaries issues, became friends with as well! 

Who is this person? Well if you follow me on my Facebook page, you might be remember me referring to the "Magical Speech Therapist Who Graduated From Hogwarts And Gets My Kiddo To Eat Things"! Why yes, Let's meet Kelly Sheehan of Abilities in Action!   (Give it a click if you want to find out more about this amazing group of Speech, OTs, and PTs.  Seriously. Fantastic group and I've spent so much time there that I'm surprised they didn't name a chair for me in the waiting room.) 

"Miss Kelly" and the Kiddo got along like gang busters and I must say we both miss seeing her weekly.  Kiddo was discharged last summer. :-(  However, she's pretty supa fly and when I have a "WTF?!?!" question, she always answers it and sends "Hello" videos to Kiddo.  I kind of thought it would be kind of cool to ask her some questions about Autism, Speech and Feeding Therapy, and how Kiddo and I managed to traumatize her when Kiddo lost a tooth and SPIT IT OUT INTO HER HAND.  Sounds like fun, right??  Here we go! 

What made you want to become a Speech therapist?   "In middle and high school I was an office assistant in a small Physical Therapy practice and loved watching the PT basically fix her patients--- BUT I was not in love with the coursework that PTs have to take.  My supervisor suggested I observe her friend, a speech therapist, because she thought I would make a great one.  The rest is history...."

What’s one thing you learned “on the job” about Autism that you didn’t learn in a college/grad school course? "One thing???  I received my MS in 2000.  18 years ago we didn't have specific coursework in Autism so I basically learned everything I know from my first job on.  But I can tell you one thing that amazes me about kids with Autism that I know you could never learn in school.  If you just take some time to "be" with them, you can understand a whole lot about how they are feeling and what motivates them, even if they don't or can't say a word."

What’s one mistake you see parents/caregivers making in regards to their kids?  "Not sharing information with therapists.  I imagine parents may sometimes hold back information because they are afraid of being judged (btw, if their therapist is judgmental, they may want to find another one)-- but the only way to maximize the effectiveness of a therapy session or entire plan of care is to have as much information as possible regarding what is going on with their child."

You are my “magical feeding therapist from Hogwarts”. What’s one feeding tip parents can do at home? "I can't stop at one.  First, do not force a child to eat anything, even if they were told to do that from a professional.  Second, if you have feeding concerns, seek advice from a feeding therapist (either an OT or SLP) even if a doctor says not to worry.  Third, the parent is not to blame for the feeding issue.  EVER."

What’s the biggest misconception about what you do for a living?  "That speech therapists just work on lisps."

Have you forgiven the Kiddo for losing one of his baby teeth in your hands?  "This was most definitely one of my most unforgettable career moments to date.  And yes, how could I not?  He's such a charmer."

Dammit, I forgot to ask her what kind of adult beverage she had that night after work.  I bet she told her husband about that one.  ;-) I can still see her face.  Holding a little plastic bag with his tooth in it.  Oh man, I owe you a six pack with a side of fries for that one Miss Kelly.  

But ain't she cool AF?  A lot of times, I can get frustrated with our lives. Usually within minutes though, I remember we have this amazing squad of people around us and she's one of them. So I hope you enjoyed this little insight with a Speech Therapist and you didn't even have to cough up a co pay.  

Sidenote, her husband makes the most bangin' BBQ sauce. How good is it? Well, it's the only BBQ sauce Kiddo will eat.  So that says it all. ;-) 

Fun fact. Miss Kelly and my mom have a little rivalry going on who can make the Kiddo try new foods.  Miss Kelly was the woman that got Irish Soda Bread past his lips though.  I think that still stings Kiddo's Granny. Mainly because any new foods he's eaten since my mom is quick to tell me "You text Miss Kelly and tell her what I got him to eat!"