As of March 30, 2012 we no longer keep the gameroom doors shut. We have taken down the 3/4 door into the kitchen and the door down the hall came down in May! We owe it to three different things; first of all, the ABA therapists that come four days a week. They have been coming for a full year now and have worked miracles with P.J.! The second thing I attribute his cooperation/listening skills to is school. The teachers do such a great job with P.J. The last thing is age. I just think good 'ol ageing helps out.
Back in November of 2011 P.J. figured out how to climb over the 3/4 door down the hall, so we installed a full door.
As you know, we went from a crib w/ a crib tent to a regular camping tent. Unfortunately P.J. Is VERY smart. He figured out how to unzip the tent even with a PAD LOCK on the zipper! I would have to show you to explain it; just believe me. So a friend found us a tent specifically designed with an autistic child in mind! It was PERFECT! She found it at myreadysetbloom.com
Our A.B.A. therapists, myself and Adam had a meeting at the beginning of March. The therapists wanted to know how I felt about getting P.J. to sleep in a bed WITHOUT a tent. I was like a deer in the headlights! I didn't think we could do it without it being a marathon of sleep deprivation and frustration trying to keep him in the bed! I really didn't want to try it. However I started thinking that eventually I would like him to be in a regular bed. And I thought that it might just get harder to take the tent away as he got older. Sooooo on March 19th we went cold turkey without a tent! And guess what. P.J. STAYED IN BED ALL NIGHT! From that night on P.J. has slept in a regular, twin sized bed without a tent!
O.M.G.!
The new big boy bed!! It sits on the floor because he still rolls out of the bed once in a while.
Making Some GOOD Changes!
A day at the beach with the Pace Pack was ANYTHING but "a day at the beach"! P.J. used to do NOTHING but try to escape. He hated the sound of the ocean and the feel of the sand. He would run straight for the exit and before we knew it he was at the street. Well, in April, Sam decided it was high time for P.J. to be able to have some fun at the beach. So, every Wednesday for two months we went to the beach. Let me tell you, the first trip was a "TRIP"! P.J. wanted nothing to do with any of it; and when Sam took him into the ocean THAT was it! He started to kick and scream like we were killing him! But eventually he started to relax and by the fourth trip to the beach things calmed down quite a bit. Now we (I mean the whole family MINUS Sam) can go to the beach and have a pretty good time. Mind you, we are still on alert with P.J. but it isn't the "RED Alert" that it used to be.
A Day At The Beach
P.J. has made such progress, I just can't belive it! He will now taste just about anything we ask him to, including vegetables, fruits, meats, breads, and sweets. He used to need a life vest in the pool; not any more. He sleeps in a regular bed, and he is 95% potty trained. He is communicating much more than he has in the past. His well check this year was PHENOMINAL! I didn't have to restrain him one bit! And his elopement (running away) has decreased to almost never! I think that was the worst problem. We still have trouble with this, but it has gotten so much better. We are definitely heading in a positive direction. However, while many things are improving, some things are still difficult or are starting to show up. For instance, P.J. has a habit of hitting anyone if they make a sound/noise he doesn't like; especially screaming and crying. He has started some S.I.B. (self injurouse behavior). He hits himself in the head if something is happening that he doesn't like or understand. He also will lay down on the floor and throw his head back thumping it on the floor, sometimes hard enough to hear a thump.
In The Past Year...
A Budding Artist...
P.J. has become quit the artist. At first it was chalk. He would draw these intricate designs all over the drivway. I had to buy chalk by the bucket to keep him happy. The drawing above is his rendition of the video game "Pac-Man". The other one (bottom left) is the numbers 1 - 8 connected by circles. His other favorite medium is photography. One time the ABA therapist gave P.J. her phone. He realized it had a camera (don't ask me how, he just did), and he started taking pictures. Some of them were quite interesting. In fact I submitted the upper left one to P.J.'s school for a project they were doing.
This Year's Disney Trip...
Was completely UNEVENTFUL! Which is a good thing. Let me back up just a little. If you read about last year's Disney trip (on page 2011) you know how that went. After that trip, we did not trust many people with P.J. But we were able to get into a respite program through PARC. Someone would come to our home and babysit ALL 3 of our children so that Adam and I could get a break. That person had had a background check, was trained and had experience with disabled children. We met Polly, and from the start she was a GODSEND! She took care of our children, did not hesitate at P.J.'s running away, and was a mother of four herself. (in other words she had LOTS of experience with children!) Unfortunately, eventually we were no longer able to participate in the respite program. But that was a blessing in disguise. Now we could hire Polly for as many hours a month as we would like AND she could drive our children AND even stay the night if we needed her to. So, back to the Disney trip. We hired Polly to come with us. She would stay at the hotel with P.J., take him swimming, on walks, and take care of him while Adam and I took the other two children to Disney. We were gone for five days. What a releif. We finally found a babysitter that was trustworthy, dependable, and wonderful with our children. In fact we have left her with our children in our home for a few days so that Adam and I could get that much needed "husband and wife" time ;^)
Polly and P.J. during our trip to Disney.
This was the first year P.J. sat on Santa's lap all by himself! The support group that I attend (on and off) sponsored this "Sensative Santa" event. They had vendors, arts, crafts, and games to play while you waited your turn to see Santa. And Santa was in a quiet room, the lights were dimmed a little, no lines to wade through, no crowds of people, no loud music. It was great. They hope to do it again next year. For more information on the support group visit them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/MidCountyAutismSupportGroup
Sensitive Santa