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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Writing On The Wall

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Korban goes to The Autism Center of Tupelo twice a week for classes.  We are looking at him going Monday-Friday this summer.  Right now he goes every Tuesday/Thursday from 8:00-11:30.  He started off going for one on one instruction for two hours, and then they moved his hours up when they started a small class.  I got a call from the center director day before yesterday.  She said that she had met with the teachers, and they had decided that Korban is not doing well with the extended hours.  She said that he is not so much a behavioral problem, as they just can't get past his sensory seeking stims to actually teach him things. (For those of you not familiar with the world of autism, stim is shorthand for "self-stimulatory behavior."  Basically people with autism don't have the same sensory perceptions as other people.  They might be super sensitive to noise, light, etc. or they might constantly crave sensory input, causing them to do things like rock, flap their hands, make noises, play with objects in strange ways, and on and on.  Korban sort of vacillates between the two extremes.)  So all of that was getting in the way of his instruction time and they felt like the extended class time was overstimulating for him.  The plan of action they decided on was to cut his time back to two hour sessions and have him come three days a week instead of two.  They were planning on getting an occupational therapy consult for some ideas on handling his sensory problems.  And they intend on building him back up to three and a half hours days.  So they had a game plan, and I really appreciated the thought they had put into it.  But part of me was really bummed about this.  If he can't even handle a three and a half hour session with a couple of other kids and multiple highly trained professionals, how is he going to navigate a kindergarten classroom?  It has always been our hope that he would be able to be mainstreamed, and that deflated my hopes a good bit.  I know he is struggling right now, though.  And I don't know what to do to help.  I talked this over with Brad when he got home from work and he said "You just agreed to bring him three days a week instead of two right away?  What about school?"  (And why didn't I talk to him about it before agreeing.)  Korban's been in a great school for two years now.  It's a special needs classroom in the public school system of an adjacent county.  Our county doesn't have a special needs preschool program.  So I don't want to feel like I'm giving up on his regular school.  But the Autism Center is our plan for the summer, and if I let go of it now, we will go back on the loooong waiting list and our chance of getting him services there will probably slip away.  His school is about 40 minutes from our house.  The Autistm Center is at least an hour.  So we will be spending more money on gas, food, etc. to go down there for therapy three times weekly and then turn around and come back home.  Not to mention I already worry that Selah is spending half her life in a carseat.  But we don't have a lot of options and they really are pretty awesome and no one else around here does the type of therapy they do.

My mom rode with us to Tupelo today, and sat in the van with Selah while I took Korban in for class and also when I went back to pick him up.  I talked with the director briefly in the hall.  She said that they had done some different exercises with Korban that seemed to be helpful.  His teacher said he was getting a little out of sorts towards the end of class, but nothing too major.  I mentioned that I don't understand why sometimes he can be calm and cheerful for an extended period of time and then all of a sudden he swings the other day with out of control behavior, obsessive stimming, etc.  I commented that every time it happens I try to find some cause:  Is he sick?  Tired?  Some sort of change in his routine?  Eating something that doesn't agree with him?  And I can never find anything to attribute it to.  She said that it isn't anything specifically causing it, it's just his system.  In short, some days he feels better than others and there's not a specific cause.  So that makes sense to me, I think.  She also said that kids with sensory problems tend to have systems that regulate somewhat as they get older.  That gives me hope, at least.

We got in the van and headed toward home, and I shared all of that with my mom.  I told her that I'm just never completely sure of how to handle Korban's autism.  More therapy?  More school?  Less therapy?  Less school?  Give it all up completely and spend our money touring the country's aquariums because that really makes him happy?  I just don't know.  I mean, he has two reasonably intelligent parents who are over the moon for him, and have sought out any means of services that we thought would be beneficial to him.  So why is he not better?  I don't mean to sound ungrateful--he has improved in SO many ways and I guess when you come so far sometimes you sort of forget where you've been.  It's just that I thought we would've come further by now.  And I don't fully understand why we haven't.  I'm not looking for a quick fix.  I just wish I could have a real conversation with my son and that he could handle a few hours in a structured setting without losing his mind.

I told my mom to pray for me and Brad to have wisdom.  That we are trying so hard, but we thought we would be better at this or something.  I told her that every time we are faced with a choice regarding Korban's treatment, it seems like we can think of ten reasons why we should do it and ten reasons why we shouldn't.  I never have 100% peace about anything and that's wearing on me.  I even quoted the Bible verse to her that says God gives wisdom generously to all who ask, without finding fault.  And that I keep asking, but I don't feel a whole lot wiser.  About that time, I decided to pull my Blackberry out of my purse to check for messages.  I'm forever forgetting to lock the keypad, so it always has several letters scattered across the screen.  I glanced down and was surprised to find the face of my phone read "U yap."

Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

More listening, less talking...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Random Bits and Pieces

So Korban randomly said to me tonight "I do not have any mustache."  Ummmm, no bud, you don't.  Which is okay, because it would really set you apart from the rest of the preschool set.  Wow.  He saw an episode of Sesame Street a long time ago, and the word of the day was "mustache," and he's been a little obsessed with them since.  Mainly pointing them out on other people and such.  I didn't think he actually wanted to grow one, but maybe I read him wrong.  At any rate, he pronounces it a lot better than he used to.  He used to say it "moo-natch."  Once we spent an entire family get-together with Brad's family with Korban pointing at Brad's hairy-faced uncle and repeatedly shouting "Moo-natch!"  No one had any idea what he was saying.  It was actually sort of funny.  Thank you Sesame Street.

Speaking of tv shows, I don't watch a lot of tv other than the aforementioned Sesame Street and Bob the Builder.  Actually I mainly just listen to Bob, because that is what Korban usually watches when we are travelling and I can't see the screen, of course.  We only had one Bob the Builder DVD, and Korban fell in love with it.  I remedied that by purchasing several more at the last consignment sale I shopped.  I was pretty excited to have some new listening material, seeing as how we spend a lot of time in our van and I pretty much had that first one memorized.  I even found one DVD that was something about Bob playing with his friends, and I was hoping it would help Korban somehow with his social skills since that area is such a struggle for us.  I realize that's a pretty tall order for poor ol' Bob, but he has caused peace to fall in the van on long road trips in a way that was not previously possible, so what can I say?  I heart Bob.  So I excitedly popped that DVD in for Korban to watch and immediately thought "Huh?"  The outer package was all in English but the characters were speaking Spanish.  I'm not sure why, but it struck me as really funny and I had a good laugh.  I wrote it off as the best three dollars I ever wasted.  A few days later I played it for Brad.  After he got finished laughing, he said "First of all, that's French, not Spanish."  (Sure enough, on the "Yes we can!" part of the theme song, they were saying "Oui" not "Si," so kudos to Brad for figuring that out.)  The second thing he did was change the language setting to English, thereby rendering it understandable to us.  (And that's why I married him.)  I didn't know Bob was bilingual.  That building dude is full of surprises.  Since we love him so much, we've decided to have a Bob the Builder themed birthday party for Korban next month.  He really loves birthdays, and last years party was SO much fun, so I'm hoping this year is just as good.  We'll keep you posted.

Going back to tv, if it wasn't for the DVR I might never get to watch anything that didn't involve Muppets or talking bulldozers.  My only challenge is staying awake long enough to watch anything when I finally get to sit down at night.  We have a big backlog of shows that we watch, but that's good I guess. Gives us some entertainment to look forward to, and I'm not worried that I'm wasting my life away in front of the television.  Which is a big deal, considering all the quality television shows you've got out there:  Billy the Exterminator, Hoarders, Animal Hoarders, I'm Pregnant and a Hoarder, I'm Pregnant and a Nudist, etc.  Okay, I'll admit to actually watching Billy the Exterminator a couple of times.  And a little bit of Hoarders.  Actually Brad watches Billy sometimes, and Korban passed through once and developed an unhealthy (in my eyes) interest in it.  So when he starts picking up snakes and cussin' ya'll just direct your comments to his daddy, okay?  Just saying...  And my friend Cindy loves Hoarders.  She's always calling and telling me when it comes on and wanting me to watch it.  I really should, because it would probably get me all pumped about cleaning and throwing stuff out, but I just don't have time.  Oh, and Cindy and I did once discuss that if you happened to be a Pregnant Nudist Hoarder, you could hide behind all your piles of stuff.  Not that a nudist would want to hide.  She and I have some strange conversations...

One show I LOVE is Burn Notice, on USA.  We were really late getting to watch this last season, and only finished the season finale a few weeks ago.  It was awesome.  I know James and Suzanne will know what I'm talking about when I tell this story, and if you don't watch this show, you might want to check it out.  I made Brad save the finale on the DVR so I could go back and watch parts of it again.  It was just that good.  I normally never watch things like that when Korban is awake, but he was actively involved in playing with something in his room, and I didn't think he would notice, so I turned it on.  I mainly wanted to see Fiona jump down in the foxhole with Michael because that was just so stinkin' cool.  So I turned it on and was watching the part leading up to that.  Michael is already is his little foxhole and Jesse and Fiona are discussing their plan of action.  She tells him she needs to be with Michael, and he tries to talk her out of it, knowing how risky it will be.  She says she has to be with Michael, kisses Jesse on the lips, and turns and runs down the hallway, presumably to die alongside Michael.  Korban had slipped up beside me unnoticed and was watching this with growing concern--it was an intense scene.  When Fiona kisses Jesse and leaves, Korban said to the tv screen "Mommy WILL come back and get you."  I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe.  He had no idea why.  I turned the tv off and went on about our business, but I will never see that scene without laughing about that.  As a side note, Korban used to have some pretty major separation anxiety but now that is how he reassures himself when I drop him off at school, or the Autism Center.  He hugs me bye and then tell himself "Mommy will come back and get you."  Sweet, huh?

Selah is feeling better.  I took her back to the doctor for a re-check today and she hasn't developed any secondary infections or anything, so that is great.  She hasn't slept well at all the past two nights, so I was sort of worried about her.  She may just be teething though.  The doctor explained that the flu kind of wipes your system out and can make you vulnerable to things for several weeks. He told me "Don't let your guard down," and that made me smile.  I'm paranoid, bordering of freakishly so, when it comes to my kids.  When does my guard EVER go down?  But I guess there are worse ways to be.

Selah's been her usual busy self the past few days, so she must be feeling pretty well.  I turn my back for a second, she's on top of the kitchen table.  Or any other surface she shouldn't be scaling.  Her answer for most everything these days is "Noooo."  Her verbal ability amazes me though.  She is attempting to put some words together.  She has been saying "Get it," which is used almost as must as "No."  And she's been working on "I love you."  It comes out more like "Ah woo woo," but very sweet nevertheless.  I was about to put Korban to bed the other night, and Brad was going to lay Selah down, and we were all telling each other good night.  I told Selah I loved her and she actually responded "I love you," or as she says "Ah woo woo."  I was amazed and kept telling her I loved her so she would say it back to me.  She showed off several more times and then apparently got tired of it because I said "I love you!" and she replied "No."  That girl!

Well, I am off to other things.  Hope we get some sleep tonight!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm BAAAACK!!!

After me calling, pleading, fussing, and waiting for six weeks, Mr. Internet Man showed up unexpectedly to fix our satellite internet yesterday.  I didn't know whether to hug him or take a swing at him.  Just kidding.  I know it wasn't his fault, totally, so I was very happy to see him.  After re-setting our satellite in concrete this time (because apparently sandy soil WILL shift--not exactly brand-new information) we were good to go.  Hope it lasts!

So today did NOT work out like we had planned.  We've been wanting to take Korban to the Memphis Zoo for a long time, and now Selah is old enough to enjoy it too.  The weather forecast was glorious, and Brad had some comp time he needed to use before it expired so he took off and we planned to head out for Memphis.  Selah got up yesterday sneezing with a runny nose, but it didn't seem too serious.  I gave her some Zyrtec her doctor had prescribed for her before we went to bed last night and assumed she would be good to go.  She woke up during the night crying and when I picked her up, I noticed she was hot.  Brad went and got the thermometer and her temp was 101.4.  Not good.  I undressed her and stayed up for a while with her until her fever went down.  She was alert and playful, so I still didn't think it was anything too major.  When we got up this morning, Brad took Selah to the doctor.  He actually needed refills on his asthma meds and he is in the midst of a big asthma flare-up, so they both went to his doctor.  Selah tested positive for Flu A.  Yucko.  I honestly wasn't even worried about her having the flu.  I was hoping we were past flu season, but apparently not.  Korban is okay so far, but I am eyeing him suspiciously and worrying.  Again, yuck.  Worrying about being sick is almost as bad as actually being sick.  My mom did come and get Korban, but he has already been exposed to Selah and he doesn't stay the night away from us, so I guess we will just watch him closely.  I feel fine.  Hope that continues, since I don't do sick very well.  Korban was a little disappointed about not going to see the "ammals" today, but he handled it well.  I didn't even tell him we were going to the zoo until last night before bed, and now I wish I hadn't told him at all.  But maybe we can go soon.  Selah usually bounces back from things pretty well, and I'm praying this is no different.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Falling Off the Face of the Earth

I've been a bad blogger.  I thought I would be better than this.  After Christmas, I typed a really long entry about our holiday events, and promptly lost it before I could post it.  Shortly after that we lost Internet service and the local satellite people aren't at all interested in coming to fix it, so I've fallen off the face of the Earth. :(

I'm hiding in my in-laws computer room to type this, so I'll be brief.  We are doing pretty well.  Korban's immune system is still low but we are not doing the immunoglobulin infusions just yet.  He goes to his regular school three days a week and on Tuesday and Thursday I take him to the Autism Center of Tupelo for classes from 8:00 until 11:30.  This summer we are looking at going five days a week.  The cost for the full week will be $150.00 and we aren't sure how that is going to happen.  There was a mention of scholarships becoming available, so please pray that we qualify for one of those.  There's also the issue of traveling so much, so while you are praying, please pray for safety and that I am able to keep up everything I need to do otherwise.

Selah is doing very well.  She has learned to run and loves to show off.  She has been an excellent climber since before she could walk, so she keeps me on my toes all the time.  She's such a good climber sometimes I feel like I had a baby with Spiderman.  Maybe Brad is a superhero in his spare time.  ;)  She is saying quite a few words and understands a whole lot more, so that is cool.

Both kids are really loving the pretty spring weather and we have been outside SO much.  Korban reminds me to put on 'sunscreem" before we head out, but even with that Korban still has a red neck.  Literally.  They play all sorts of different things outside.  Let's just say if Bubble Mowers actually cut the grass, we would never have to worry about the lawn.  I could probably hire Korban out for other people too.  Selah wants to sit on the mower and let him push her, but he's not crazy about that.  He dumps her off and moves on, and she chases after him.  I bet we've logged 1000 miles behind that Bubble Mower.  Selah has discovered the Little Tikes playhouse in the backyard, and now I think she is mad at us for making her live in a real house for the past 15 months.  Korban loves to swing, and Selah likes the slides.  Gives her a chance to show off her climbing ability I guess. 

I just wanted to do a quick update in case anybody was wondering what happened to us. 
We are chugging along and I really hope to have our Internet issue fixed sometime this year.  I'll leave you guys with a couple of "Korbanisms."  My friend Suzanne coined that term for funny things he says, and I love it.

--Yesterday he was begging me to take him outside, and I hadn't even had a chance to take off my church clothes yet.  I told him to give me a minute and he said (in his serious tone) "Five more minutes."  (I generally give him a five minute warning before we head inside so he got that one from me.)

--He was eating popcorn the other day, and he held up a popcorn kernel and asked what it was.  I told him it was a popcorn kernel and he got a confused look on his face and asked "Colonel Rebel?"  I'll give his daddy credit for that one. 

--This one is just sweet.  He loves to see butterflies outside and when he sees them he says "Thank you Jesus butterflies."  He also says "Thank you Jesus pretty wedder."  (That's weather, in case you don't speak Korban.)