Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scholars grab your pencils

School starts on Monday.  Currently, Jack is the only one who is getting up early enough to get to school before the tardy bell.  It's going to be a long hot sleepy first day of school for us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Olympics

Jack participated in Special Olympics this year and brought home
 a Silver Medal in the softball throw.
Recieving his medal, Jack contemplates knocking this interloper
 off of his second place platform.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Singer Sings Her Songs

Jack is fairly unpredictable. Sometimes he acts like he's on top of things, involved with us socially, and able to follow instructions that I give him. Then there are other days when it seems as if he is in his own little world; unresponsive and noncompliant. One thing that he always responds to, and has since he was a little guy, is singing. On those difficult days I would make up a song, to some random tune and sing about what we were doing. It worked so well, and I enjoyed making up songs so much, that it became a habit, in fact, I couldn't stop! Soon I could belt out a tune about everything from "putting on our shoes" to "taking a bath". Before long, I had my own repertoire of made up tunes and would pull them out at any given moment to direct Jack. This of course embarrassed my other two kids, and as they got older, they insisted I quit singing my songs to them. My 10 year old sat me down one day and said, "Mom, I don't like your songs any more". Much to my dismay, I have had to quit singing to them, out loud that is, what they don't know is that I still hum these tunes under my breath as I shout directions to them about brushing their teeth.

My made up songs have only gotten me in real trouble once. I was at a funeral and the organ began softly playing the music to a church tune that I had used as the tune to one of my made up songs. As the music softly played, instead of hearing the words "Shall we gather at the river" in my head, I heard, "let's go tee-tee in the potty..". I almost tee-teed right there and it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud at this funeral. The only thing funnier than that, will be when my kids figure out that I hijacked a church song and put my own words to it. I hope they're at a funeral when it happens. That will really make me laugh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


This video was made by Clara Sigmon, a 13 yr old, about her brother David, who has Down syndrome. It's called "Difference is an Artist's Game" - it is very powerful and well-written/spoken. I'm impressed that she is in 8th grade!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Perfect Day Trip

Raising a child with special needs can be challenging at times. For instance, if we plan a family outing, I have to think through the whole event to trouble shoot any unforseen circumstances that would make it difficult for Jack to participate. He dosen't enjoy loud gym's or loud music. In crowds we have to put him into his wheel chair or he'll wander off. If we are planning to walk a long way such as visiting amusement parks, or the Mall, we load up his wheel chair, because nothings worse that trying to get this big boy up off the floor when he's tired of walking.

I've finally found the perfect outing for Jack. He get's to ride in the comfort of his own car, listen to his own tunes on the radio and he can't wander away. We went to a wildlife park this past weekend and had the best time. At the wildlife park we were able to get closer to the animals than we would at any zoo. The animals came right up to the car and they would eat right out of our hand.

About halfway through the drive they had a gift shop, restaurant and picnic area. We stopped, shopped, ate and stretched our legs before heading back down the mountain to tour the rest of the wildlife park. This place gets five stars from me.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My Pew, Mine, Mine, Mine

Ever felt like New Years resolutions are made under duress. I make them because, I know everyone is making them and I'm suppose to make a New Years resolution, when actually, I know that I'll break my new years resolution once the year really gets underway, because I always do what I've always done and it's as simple as that! So to keep myself honest, I will resolve to not make a resolution this year (snicker).

New Years resolutions would be something out of the ordinary for me, because when it comes to doing something out of the ordinary it just doesn't happen often in our family, Jack, would never go for it, and there are times when everything revolves around Jack.

Mothers of special needs kids know what I'm talking about. For instance, at church we always sit in the same pew. Now I know that a lot of people tend to do that, but Jack insists on sitting in "literally" the same spot no matter what. One time, some visitors sat in Jack's spot, so Jack sat right down next to them, invading their personal space I might add, and it made them so uncomfortable that they got up and moved. Luckily they weren't offended and thought it was funny, but I was not amused.
I spent the next 5 minutes fussing at him in a whisper about how to behave, and of course it went in one ear and out the other. I could tell he wasn't listening to a word I said, because after I had finished my lecture on behavior, he just looked at me like I was crazy, pointed to the bag of cheerios and signed "more".

Going to church is a challenge for our family. Some churches have ministries for people with special needs, but our church does not, and I don't feel led to start one up. Maybe I'd be the perfect person to do it, if I didn't have a special need myself (named Jack). I just don't think I could fit it in with all the other stuff I do for him. Our big problem is that Jack is too old for the children's Sunday School classes but doesn't fit in with the youth program. The Youth Group will be great for my other kids when they get to Junior High, but Jack doesn't socialize or read/write at that level. He'd enjoy the nursery class if the high chairs weren't too small. So we take the other kids to Sunday School and my husband and I take turns sitting with Jack in the sanctuary while the other goes to class(it's also why Jack gets to sit in the same spot every week). As a result my husband and I never go to class together, and haven't for years and I miss that. We tried taking Jack to class with us, but he doesn't like to do that and forcing him to do something in a public setting that he doesn't want to do well...I just don't want to go there, plus I hate it when he misbehaves at church.

I asked a friend of mine who also has a child with special needs, how they handled Sunday school and church activities. She tells me that they have the same problem, of what to do with their child concerning Sunday School and church. So if you have found this blog and you also have a child with special needs and you don't know how to get connected in to your church, never fear, you are not alone, but I don't have any answers for you. I have something better, this promise:

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

Monday, November 26, 2007

Than Goodness for Rubber Chickens

Including Jack can be difficult. Jack is sometime uncooperative. Anyone with children can relate to that, but if you have a child with special needs, you realize that I am painting a nice picture by using the word uncooperative. When he was little I used to be able to pick him up and carry him on my hip if he pitched a fit and refused to budge. Back then all I had to deal with was the disapproving looks of strangers, thinking that I had a spoiled kid on my hands, and not the autistic child that he was, sensitive to lights and sounds that would set him off and make him cry. At 14, lifting Jack is like trying to dislodge a bolder from the ground. There's no moving him if he's made up his mind he's gonna sit.

When he was eight, our family went to my daughters dance recital. My husband dropped my daughter, Jack the baby and me, off near the building where we were headed because the parking lot was full and the only spots required a long walk. Jack decided that he didn't want to go into the building and so he sat right down in the middle of the parking lot. As all eyes turned towards us, Jack began his usual commotion. My 5 year old daughter, all dressed up in her cute little tutu, looked up at me and doled out the obvious observation, "Maybe we shouldn't have brought him ". She was right, and I wished I had gotten a sitter, but alas, I was relegated to listening to advice from my 5 year old that I wish I had figured out earlier.

Jack still has cooperation issues today, but we've all gotten smarter. Sometimes, Jack just doesn't get to go certain places if I know ahead of time that it will be difficult for him to cope in certain surroundings. We've also learned what motivates Jack to behave.

Jack rides the bus to school everyday, and the bus driver, God bless him, related a funny story to me. The other day the teacher came out the get the kids off of the bus at school, and Jack wouldn't budge. So she picked up her walkie talkie and called for backup. The bus driver had a laugh, because she called the other teacher to bring out the "Emergency Rubber Chicken". Apparently Jack got the rubber chicken and happily exited the bus to begin his day of school.