Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun with Daddy at the Pentagon

Today was "bring your child to work day" at the Pentagon. Matthew and I took the metro in and met John's co-workers (Matthew fell in love with Kate), ate lunch in the cafeteria, and participated in the craft activities in the center courtyard. Matthew made a very cool decoration for his room and even met some clowns!

First Class Picture!

Here is Matthew's (first ever!) class photo. There are two preschool autism classes at his elementary school...6 students (ages 2-5), 1 teacher, and 2 aides per class. His male aide was absent on picture day so the regular female substitute sat in.

Other news: I received approval from the principal to work as a volunteer in the kindergarten autism class. I have been twice so far and really enjoy helping out and spending time with the kids...they are very sweet.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

10 Things About Matthew

I was asked by GFCF Mommy to play a game and come up with 10 great things about Matthew. Here's the link to her blog and here are my 10 things (which I did # but Blogger made them bullets!):

  1. Matthew is incredibly loving and sensitive. He loves to be held and kissed, and says "I need a hug" when he's feeling down.

  2. Matthew has a wonderful sense of humor and laughs when other people laugh.

  3. He is a total "ladies man". Matthew loves looking and smiling at females (of all ages) and they often melt when they see his big blue eyes and dimples!

  4. Matthew loves to sing and dance. His current favorites are Itsy Bitsy Spider & the Chicken Dance (learned at preschool).

  5. Matthew still enjoys going for long walks in his stroller (especially with Ni-Ni). He likes to stop at every stop sign and never hesitates to say "hi" to strangers.

  6. He loves to finish sentences such as I love ... "YOU!" and 1, 2, 3... "GO!"
  7. Matthew reads signs while riding in the car (examples: McDonald's, Kohl's, Target, Wal-Mart)...his ped says he's recognizing the colorful logos, but we call it reading!

  8. Matthew has a great memory. He recites numerous lines from books and videos using real words mixed with his jargon.

  9. He is fascinated by elevators. Matthew has created his own at home using the bi-fold door on the linen closet...and makes appropriate sound effects to go with it!

  10. Matthew enjoys going to restaurants like Chili's and Cracker Barrel...does anyone know if their french fries are GFCF???

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thomas & Friends Play Date

Today we took Matthew to a Thomas & Friends "play date" at Toys R Us. Matthew spent time with about 15 other kids and listened to a story, played with a huge wooden train set, and colored pictures. At the end of the session, the children were given Thomas trading cards and several coupons. It was a good opportunity for Matthew to interact with some NT (neuro typical) peers and he had a great time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thought-provoking Shopping Experience

I went to TJ Maxx in search of new puzzles for Matthew and clothes for me. While there, I noticed a teenage girl sitting on the floor in the shoe department playing with the laces and mumbling to herself. She was wearing a badge on a string around her neck so I thought she was an employee and that her behavior was a bit unusual but I moved on to the toy section. There I saw 2 other "odd" individuals - one was staring at the baby toys and the other was touching the board books...again, both had badges and I thought, "wow, TJ Maxx has several special employees working here...good for them, but I think there might be some productivity issues". Then, while I was looking at the shirts, a woman came up to me and asked if the shirt I found was on clearance...yada yada. She was very friendly and I stood behind her at check-out. I noticed she was wearing a badge which said Fairfax County Public Schools. On my way out of the store, I saw the 3 teenagers plus 3 others boarding a school bus with that lady. Then it all made sense...she was the guide and they were the special needs students out on a field trip. Maybe it had something to do with a "life skills" class but why was there only 1 adult and why was she shopping for herself while the rest of the kids (they looked like they were about 16 years old) were sitting on the floor or staring at the baby toys? What if one of the kids ran out the door into the street or broke something in the housewares department and hurt themselves? What exactly did they learn during this exercise...that you go to the store to play with shoe laces?

It made me wonder, is this the kind of field trip Matthew will go on in the future? Will someone look after him and teach him something that will be useful in the real world? I need to start teaching him "life skills" ASAP!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Two Wonderful Documentaries

I love BOTH "Autism: The Musical" and "Beautiful Son"!!!

HBO has been showing the Musical often and I always stop to watch a few minutes of it (again) b/c I am fascinated with Lexi and adore Wyatt. In case you haven't heard, it is "
the story of five autistic children, their families, and the dynamic woman who leads them to defy expectations by writing, rehearsing, and performing their own musical."

I heard about Beautiful Son ("a documentary about one family's struggle to heal their son from autism") a few months ago and had been eagerly waiting for PBS to air it. They showed it last night at 11pm (I was tired but stayed up) and it was excellent and the cinematography is breathtaking. I was quite happy to see our DAN doctor in it...she is also their DAN and yes, they actually travelled from Hawaii to Virgina to see her!

If you haven't seen these films, please look for them...both are available on DVD. Even if you don't have a loved one with autism, the documentaries are very well done, informative, and will touch your heart.