Forest Living

  
Oliver is very fortunate to live in the forest. He loves trees almost as much as he loves running, so I’d say the forest is his ideal place. If we lived in the city, we wouldn’t be able to open our front door and run freely (not to mention, safely). I just wanted to give a quick shout out to the beautiful place we live and give gratitude on behalf of our being able to live here. 

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Social Progress

I believe that Oliver’s greatest strength is his self pride. When he does anything that I have ever before clapped at or said “Yay!” to, he automatically begins clapping, saying “Yay!”, and shrieking “Wahooooo!”. For a while, I wasn’t sure if he understood what my praise meant, but as of late, he has been cheering himself on like there’s no tomorrow. Yesterday, after clapping for himself upon going down the slide in his CUBS class, he realized something. Oliver became aware that he could cheer on others, in addition to himself. Oliver’s CUBS class consists of 1 hour free pay, 20 minutes in the motor room, 20 minutes of snack, and 20 minutes of group circle time. Yesterday, for most all of his time in the motor room, Oliver decided to sit at the bottom of the slide and clap, while shouting “Wahoo!” for each child as they came down the slide. To go from never acknowledging the existence of another child to cheering them on is a major success in my book.

A Special Visit From A Friend

Oliver has been making immense speech and sign language progress in the past few weeks, but has only demonstrated his newly learned skills here and there. One of my best friends recently relocated and, because of said move, Oliver and I hadn’t seen her in about a month. Oliver has a small handful of people that he feels that can be his true self around and this friend is high up on that list. She painted a pumpkin on my pregnant-with-Oliver belly, almost exactly two years ago, came to meet him the day that he was born, and has been around him more than most non-familial people. He absolutely adores her and she came to visit the other day, like I said, for the first time in a month and his behavior was shocking! He ran around, flapping his hands with excitement, and begun playing peekaboo with her. He then proceeded by showing off (this a first!) by demonstrating all of his new words and sign language skills. He said: hi, bye bye, again, all gone, uh oh, fish, jump (while jumping), and said “2” (while holding up 2 fingers, while we counted 1, 2, 3). He signed: more, milk, dog, juice, potty, diaper, cracker, cereal, bird, and fish. This may not sound like a big deal to most, but it really was an amazing sight (it brought her to tears). I’m seeing progress in Oliver every day, but sometimes have my concerns that his newly learned skills aren’t sticking. Seeing him recite everything he’s learned in the past month corrected my doubts and made all of my hard work feel worth it. I’m happy that Oliver has such a special connection with my life long friend.

The Best Books About Autism

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The photo reads 16 Best Books About Autism, yet the article lists 16 books, so disregard that little error. With that being said, this reading list humbled me a bit. I’ve only heard of 7 of these books and, of these 7, have only read 1 (The Spark). I have been thinking that I’m pretty well-read when it comes to autism, but I apparently need to get reading.

Check the list out here: http://www.todaysparent.com/blogs/special-needs-parenting/15-best-books-about-autism/

How “Inside Out” Movie Connects With Autism

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I have yet to view this film, but having heard nothing but raving reviews, I think I’ll have to check it out!

Excerpt: ” When it comes to Autism, people often “think” those on the spectrum have a limited range of emotions. As if they are emotionally truncated, or worse they’re blissfully unaware of the world around them. Often it is quite the opposite: they are too emotionally sensitive and forthcoming. Just because our kids are socially awkward; Just because they are a patchwork of subdued and unmastered quicksilver emotions just means we have to work harder to help them figure it all out.”

Read the article here: http://www.awortheyread.com/disney-how-inside-out-movie-connects-with-autism/#_a5y_p=3601335

First Day of CUBS Class!

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Oliver had an AMAZING first day of his CUBS class. There were 6-7 adults present (SLP’s, OT’s, Special Educators, and ABA teachers), as well as 3 other sweet toddlers. The schedule consisted of: Hand washing, 1 hour free play, 20 minutes in the motor room, hand washing, snack, self clean up, seated circle group time with a song, and then packing up and leaving. For those who don’t know what Oliver’s CUBS class is, you can read my blog post about it here: http://healingoliver.com/2015/10/18/cubs-class/. When we pulled up, Oliver had bitten the nipple off of his green protein smoothie filled bottle and ruined the adorable outfit he was sporting. Then we went in and he shut his finger in the door. Then we were told there was a fire drill, so we went outside to avoid the loud noise. Then, as he ran around happily, I had to pick him back up because the fire drill was cancelled. All of these things sent him into a panic and he was crying hysterically. After he was able to calm his body down, we opened the doors to the CUBS classroom and he was immediately entranced. He ran towards the soft play stairs, tunnel, and slide, where he played for quite a while. I sat near him as he got more and more comfortable and then the woman who was working one on one with him thought that I should try and sit near the wall to see if he can get comfortable with her, as we fade me out of the classroom and into the waiting room. I got to see him laugh with other people who were enjoying his company, play in a tub of beans, play at a sand table, conduct his first arts & crafts project (aside from coloring at home), play with new toys, play near another child, engage with several adults, swing in their sensory swing (at one point, with another child, who he attempted to make eye contact with!!!!), ride a rocking horse, eat snacks alongside other children (using a fork at one point), and much more. I was really nervous that he wasn’t going to do well today because of how the day started (i.e. slammed finger, going outside/coming back in immediately, etc.), but he didn’t even need me because of how amazing his environment was. He very obviously felt safe, supported, and cherished and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had the opportunity to get him into this program. I will be writing about the progress he makes, as time goes on in his CUBS class. I can’t believe how incredible it all was and can’t even wait to go back! P.s. the third photo was taken minutes after we left– they sure wore him out.