Friday, September 29, 2006

Adapted swimming at the Y

Today we go to one of T's favorite activities: swimming at the YMCA!

Our local Y has been such an amazing resource and a huge blessing. This fall we began adapted swimming lessons - swim time for children with special needs. Teacher/student ratio is 1:1 which is, of course, excellent. He has always loved the water, whether it is in a pool, the ocean, a lake, or swirling around in the toilet! This can be a mixed blessing, so I wanted to make sure that he learned to respect water - it can be fun but a danger, too (not to be too dramatic, but I hear the leading cause of death in children with autism is accidental drowning.) I'd love for him to learn to tread water and eventually swim.

It took awhile for him to be willing to leave the stairs of the pool in the shallow end, but now he goes right in. He laughs and smiles the entire time, while his teacher/volunteer pulls him around the water floating with a "noodle" or "bubbles", trying to avoid him jumping on her legs or knees the entire time. He comes home happy & tired. Any camp counselor knows this is the best way for a kid to end their day!

Another benefit: I get a little theraputic time myself. All the mommies sit in chairs by the side of the pool and talk, savoring a half hour when we don't have to be on constant alert, and this is proving to be one of my favorite 30 minute spans of my week. The children in this class have all manner of challenges and ability levels, and frankly, even though our present & future are filled with unknowns and endless therapies, at least T is a healthy boy. His condition is not life-threatening; he faces no major surgeries or dangerous health conditions. What's so great about this time is that these moms GET IT - they know what it's like to have a child with a disability and how that effects your life and changes you. They inspire and motivate me. These women have become instant trusted friends even though I've only spent two lesson times with them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

He held my hand

This may be the smallest thing to most people - a child holding your hand. But T (that's what I'll call him) held my hand today while we were walking in the park. He has never tolerated that before. I typically hold his wrist, for if I try to press my palm to his, he wriggles his hand away. But not today - those little fingers closed around my hand three times during our walk, even if just for 10-15 seconds at a time.

A favorite pastor of mine recommended looking for - and savoring - God Moments. They happen everyday - even several times a day - if you pay attention. This was definately my top God Moment today.

My First Post

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I find it hard to believe that I'm doing this, since it is usually my husband that drags me kicking and screaming into any new technological world - and he's away this week! A dear friend told me last night that she has a blog just to keep all the grandparents up to date on her children's activities and antics, and I thought it was a brilliant idea. So here I am! And I have done this all by myself.

I have two reasons, perhaps three, for this blog. One is to keep grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all relatives and friends posted on our son's activities - and mine! Another perhaps equally important reason is to have a place where I can write down all of his new skills, fun and/or funny things he did that day, or even when we had a tough time. It's difficult to keep everyone posted on these things. But even more importantly, he's doing so many new things lately that I want to remember them, especially when I might be feeling blue or frustrated - I want to be able to look back and see just how much progress he's making.

The last reason: to share my reactions, thoughts & feelings, joys and grief, struggles and triumphs. Raising a son with autism is the hardest thing I have ever, ever had to do and it will also be the longest. But it has also been filled with joy - over the big and small strides that he has made.

So this is the first posting. I'm sure I'll add pictures and have fun with the layout of this thing. Welcome.