Friday, February 26, 2016

He Speaks

Psst...

Guess what?

Ronan spoke.  I know!  It's ridiculously exciting!  

Yesterday was filed under Non-verbal autism can suck it. Today has been different, very different.  In fact, today, I'm jumping for joy! 

Ronan, who is 13 years old and non-verbal, will sometimes say Em or Um or Uh-Mum-Um for Mom.  Not today.  After breakfast Ronan whispered mommmmm while trying to get my attention.  He's said it before, but it's been years, literally years, since he said my name and said it that perfectly.  And he did so with purpose and clarity and with the sweetest voice I've ever been blessed to hear.  Join me as I revel in the awesomeness.  

Ronan spoke.

He said my name.

I could burst!

xo, Cat




Thursday, February 25, 2016

Unlock the Mystery

File this under:  Non-verbal autism can suck it.

Like so many people say, our kids are in there.  It's so true.  Ronan is fully aware and somewhat abled, yet he is so very delayed and severely disabled.  Ronan needed something today and kept trying to get me to help him.  For the life of me, I could not figure out what he wanted.  

Before he got frustrated, which can happen quickly and has happened quite a few times this week, Ronan reached for the keyboard.  He typed:

Mom I ke

Think.  Think.  Think.  What did he mean?  I had no idea.  I asked Ronan to type again.  While he did that, I mentally retraced his last steps.  

Mom I ke

OH!  I knew what he wanted.  Ronan was trying to get the tablet which I'd locked in my bedroom.  

Mom I ke = Mom, I need the key.  

It was so simple yet required an enormous amount of patience and problem solving skills.  Some days I am severely lacking in both of those...but not today.  I unlocked the door and gave Ronan the table.  He beamed and confidently walked away.  

Yay.  

Refiled under:  Problem Solved, Never Give Up, and Anything for Ronan ❤️

xo, Cat


heart emoticon

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Be still, my heart!

I have always wanted to read this book with Ronan.  I know he's seen it before and has heard the story plenty of times, but he's never wanted me to read it aloud to him.  The other morning, right after Ronan woke up, Ronan didn't just listen to me read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he really, really, really looked at all the details of the story. 

He read along with me.  He turned the pages for me.  He pointed to the moon, the leaf, and the egg. He also pointed to the apple, the strawberry, the orange.  Then, he pointed to all the yummy pieces of food on the next page.  After he pointed to the yummy pieces of food, he signed them, too!

I thought Ronan was starting to lose interest because he turned the book away from me.  But he wasn't losing interest.  After looking at all that food, he wanted to show me something that he'd seen - the page that had the word food on it.
Food!
After he showed me that page, he turned back to the page with all the tasty treats to show me all of his favorite foods again:  cake, ice cream, cupcake. 
That's my boy!
  
Eric Carle has always been one of my favorite authors and illustrators.  I own several of his books and used them frequently in the classroom when I taught.  Many of my students liked his books as well.  In fact, a long time ago, my 2nd graders and I decided to write a letter to Eric Carle.  He replied and sent a packet of information - including some images of his artwork!  I saved that packet and couldn't wait to show it to Ronan when he and I were finished exploring The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  

I know that Ronan will enjoy seeing that packet of information and the sketches that Eric Carle made for other stories he's written.  I hope seeing them will encourage more reading, more communicating, and more meaningful moments like the one we had when we dropped everything and read on Friday morning.  To be able to share the love of reading, especially with that book, with my non-verbal sometimes-can't-sit-still son, was such a beautiful moment.  I can't wait to create more just like it.  


xo, Cat

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Do you have a favorite author/illustrator?  Who is it?  What makes them your favorite?  Share a link to their homepage in the comment section below.

Postmarked 1997!



  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reprinted in TVR!

So, not only did I get to talk to one of my personal heroes last week, but I also got a nice follow up email from Barbara Loe Fisher after our conversation.  In the email, Barbara, who is president of The National Vaccine Information Center, asked to reprint my latest AofA article.  I said of course!  

NVIC has been my go-to site for many years.  I've learned so much from from their research and their advocacy efforts.  I'm honored to have a Guest Writer spot in one of NVIC's publications, The Vaccine Reaction.  

Here it is.  Shared, happily and with permission, by one of my favorite groups on the planet.  Thank you, NVIC!

xo, Cat

Click here to see the article:  Cat in TVR 





Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Best


Two rough mornings two days in a row.

Hitting.  Scratching.  Pushing.  Throwing things.  That was how Ronan communicated his frustration both yesterday and today.  I felt the brunt of that frustration.  No matter what happens in those types of situations, which are thankfully infrequent, Ronan will only get the best of me.  No anger toward him.  No retaliation on my part.  No grudge afterward despite his behavior and the marks he left behind.  

After the storm, and when we're both ready to move on, I sometimes start to "write" in my head.  I imagine myself sitting at the computer and typing.  I start my next post, my next blog, my next article.  In the piece, I work out my frustration.  I spill my thoughts, my fears, and my emotions.  I then make a plan of what to do differently next time if ever their is a next time.  It usually helps.  

Doing that sort of "writing" today didn't work.  

Even though I had picked out a good title (Best of Me), even though I had the post half-way "written" in my head,  even though I had already felt a peace and calm, even though we were hours from that unfortunate outburst, my emotions got the best of me.  

I started to cry.  

I had been listing to the radio and had some classical music playing but instantly switched the radio to a random station.  Hoping for some upbeat music that would help shake the sad thoughts away, this song came on. 

The Emotions, singing The Best of My Love.  

Thank you, God, for just the right song at just the right time.  And thank you, Ronan, for not feeding into my emotions at that time.  The rest of his afternoon was good, and his evening was awesome.  I'm praying that he carries that awesome into tomorrow - we could both use a really, awesome day.  

As hard as it is to be calm and helpful and loving in the horribly intense moments, Ronan needs me to be strong.  He needs me to be faithful.  He needs me to be loving, and kind, and full of hope.  He needs the best of me.  That's what he'll get...always. 

xo, Cat