Tuesday, April 4, 2017

An Update on Jayden and our Journey Through Autism

It's been a long time since I've done an update on Jayden and Autism on this blog. Actually, it's been forever since I've posted at all here, but I thought it would be a good time to do so.

I think this was the last time I talked about Jayden and Autism here. A lot has changed since then. Jayden has been attending elementary school, and is currently in 4th grade.

Homeschooling my two oldest kids, I never really expected that I would have a kid end up in public school. From all of the stories that I had heard, I really was apprehensive about Jayden being in the school system. I'm happy to say that our journey at Sunnyside Elementary has been a great one. Jayden has been on an IEP since Kindergarten, and things have changed over the years with how much help he needed, but the support for his individual education needs have always been there, and I am grateful for those who care for him so much. He adores his teachers- especially his current one.

Here is how Jayden has changed and grown since the last post I wrote about him:

Speech delay: He still gets speech therapy. At school they are working on his Ls and THs. We have also been working with a 2nd speech therapist once a week. Yesterday we talked about how he has progressed a lot and is improving in vocabulary. We will be taking a break from speech over the summer and may reassess his needs in the fall.

Difficulty with social interaction: He just recently successfully completed a group project. His teachers have allowed him to work by himself when it came to group projects because it was too overwhelming for him, and he would even request his desk to be away from everyone else against a wall. This time he managed to sit in a group with selectively chosen peers and his teacher told me she was very pleased with what he accomplished. He still has problem with eye contact

Repetitive behaviors: He recently learned how to snap, and now he can't stop sometimes. He also has some phrases that he has picked up from school and YouTube videos that he will annoy his brother with by saying them over and over again.

Lines toys up: I haven't noticed this behavior for a long time.

Becomes very upset if his order is messed with: He does like routine, and doesn't like that messed with much, but has become more flexible over the years. His teachers used to make him a schedule that he could read off of, and that was helpful, but he doesn't really rely on that anymore. He does ask me if anything is going to be happening the next day that he should know about.

Echolalia: Since his vocabulary has improved, he doesn't do the echolalia thing- except for when he gets into repeating some phrases over and over, until his brother tells him to stop.

Difficulty with change: Although he likes to be informed of what's happening, he has improved greatly in being flexible.

Hyperlexia: As he has improved in vocabulary and speech over the years, his obsession with letters and numbers has become unnoticeable, but he does still have a problem completely understanding what he has read sometimes.  His teachers were impressed by his ability to read early on, and they even put him in 1st grade reading when he was in kindergarten. He's not really advanced in reading anymore because of comprehension issues, but his spelling skills are great(takes after his mom, who won 2nd place in the school Spelling Bee).

Sensitivity to some sounds: I still can't get him to go to the movie theater with us. He'll go to the smaller one on campus, though, since they don't turn up the volume too loud. Sometimes he does cover his ears when things are too loud. He hates when babies cry. Fireworks are a no-go for him.

Food aversions: Food is still a big struggle for us. At school most days he asks for a PB and J sandwich because he doesn't like what they are having. A certain brand of burritos used to be his staple food, but just recently he has decided that he can't eat them anymore. I think it was because he got sick once after eating one. He used to like spaghetti, but it took him too long to eat, so that became a "no" food. He won't eat pizza, but will eat your crust. Breads, cereal, Mac 'n'cheese, are pretty much his staple. The only fruit that he will eat is bananas and applesauce. He drinks V8 fusion for servings of fruit and vegetables. He does like Hamburger Helper and chicken nuggets, but that's pretty much the only meat that he will eat. 

Other things: I've noticed that he'll flap his hands when he's excited now. That wasn't something he did much of in his early years. 

Back when I wrote the first entry about Jayden and Autism, he was obsessed with the Pixar movie Cars. Well, actually, he liked Pixar in general, but Cars was the favorite. He moved on to Angry Birds, and currently is a big fan of MineCraft.
He has started laughing or crying inexplicably. If you ask him why he's laughing or crying, he says he's not sure. Sometimes his crying turns into laughing.

Most people who don't spend a lot of time with Jayden would not know that he has Autism. He is verbal, has friends, likes hugs, and is a pretty easy going kid most of the time. This is to say that if you have met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism. Do not assume that people on the spectrum are all the same. That is far from the truth. And that is my PSA for the month of Autism awareness.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Our Year in Review Pt. 4


A month full of stuff.  I'm only posting highlights, but some stuff really deserve their own posts.
Jayden's last day of Kindergarten- saying goodbye to Mrs. Corbin

1st day of K- bottom corner vs. last day!
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I also took a comparison shot of when Jayden was a baby.

The kids had their end of year party with their online teacher and other virtual academy kids at a splash park in Spokane

Kyrie's GS troop did their bridging crossover ceremony and end of year bash

Jayden attended his first Cub Scout Day Camp

Isaiah had a good time at camp, too!

Kyrie had her last day of 4th grade
Isaiah finished up the 3rd grade

My favorite picture from our trip to Arches/Canyonlands

Went to my 20 year High School reunion

And got to hang out with my sister and her family

A super fun and busy month!  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Year in Review pt. 3


End of Spring soccer season!

Trained in Outdoor Leadership

Isaiah graduated to Webelos, and Jayden joined as a Tiger

Jayden's Flat Stanley came back from Hawaii-complete with beautiful pictures and souvenirs!

Went on a fun field trip to Turnbull Wildlife Refuge

Worked the Macklemore concert


Kyrie's feet grew to size 8.  She's almost in my size!

Yuki learned to "bow"

June was a big month, and I'm getting ready to celebrate New Year's Eve at church tonight, so I'll do June tomorrow.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Year in Review Pt. 2


I boarded a plane on the 6th to meet my friend, Katheren, at the Honolulu airport.  
She brought me some fresh, beautiful smelling leis!

I had such an amazing time with my friend!  She was such a great hostess- taking me to the Polynesian Cultural Center and tickets to Ha: Breath of Life, trips to various beaches- including the one where LOST was filmed(particularly where the plane crashed), a guided tour around Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, and sightseeing in downtown Waikiki.  I have lots of pictures on Facebook(and still need to upload some more), but maybe someday I'll get around to doing a blog post on it.  It really was a memorable experience, and I was fortunate to get plane tickets from Aunt Pat, and for my friend, Katheren, who provided me a place to stay, spoiled me with all these experiences and sent me home with souvenirs!
She even gifted me her old Rebel camera, and we played with her cool lenses!

We had to go see the Bird Guy on Waikiki Beach my last day

I came home to hail and blowing snow.  How I wished to go back to Hawaii, but I had to lead my normal life- which can be fun, too!  I worked the Wayne Brady concert the day after I got back.  He's a funny guy.

Kyrie got to be a Cougar Baseball Buddy

Isaiah scored his first career soccer goal

I worked the Mac Miller concert indoors on 4/20, and learned how bad it can be when a lot of people are puffing on the Magic Dragon inside- even when I was out in the outer concourse.

Yuki learned some new tricks including "waving"

Kyrie and Isaiah completed their AWANA year, and Isaiah got special awards for saying 32 verses plus their questions and answers by memory in one sitting, and doing all of the extra credit work in his book.

Jayden turned 6!

And that concludes April- which wore me out, so I'll make this a complete installment. ;)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our Year in Review Pt. 1

Another year is nearing an end, and as usual, I have failed to mail out Christmas cards, so consider this my Christmas card/newsletter to all.


We took our yearly trip down to Pocatello, and Mark down to Vegas so he could go to CES, and we could visit my mom and sister.  We were happy to make it there and back with no stops at the hospital this year.  I also got to meet my new baby niece!
This picture was taken on the way home


Isaiah turned 9

Kyrie made the front page of our local paper

Isaiah landed himself in the hospital with intestinal issues

Got out of the hospital to win 1st place in Bible Quizzing for AWANA
Isaiah also earned his Bear


Kyrie's GS Troop had Greece for World Thinking Day

Yuki did eat Jayden's homework

Jayden learned to zip his coat by himself- thanks to Occupational Therapy!

The kids went green for St. Patrick's Day

Kyrie sold Girl Scout Cookies

The end of March was complaining about the snow we were getting, and counting down the days for my trip to Hawaii!

Jayden's flat self made it to Hawaii before I did
Easter was fun, too!
Especially with our church having an Easter Egg hunt from eggs dropped by a helicopter!

Well, that concludes part one of the year in review.  I hope to do four parts with 3 months in each part to split it up a bit.  Hope you enjoyed seeing January through March!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jayden and Autism

Since today is Jayden's 6th birthday, and this month is Autism Awareness month, I thought it might be good to give some updates as to where he is.

Here are some of the posts made in the past about when I had concerns, and other posts about him related to Autism-
Autism Awareness month(2011)
Jayden's lining up habit
Jayden's MRI
My thoughts on Autism

Jayden has come a long way-even since my last post!  He has lost some of the traits that had me worried in the first place- like echolalia, lining up everything, and hand flapping(although, he does do that on occasion sometimes).  Two and a half years of Speech therapy has helped him gain more and more vocabulary, and he is communicating with his peers efficiently.  He initiates conversations(although many conversations revolve around Angry Birds).  We are still working on eye contact, but it is better.

Even though my older two are homeschooled, I have chosen to send Jayden to a regular public school.  Right now, he is thriving.  He has friends.  The school provides Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, and Social Emotional/Behavorial therapy.   He is only taken out of the classroom for Speech Therapy.  He has an aide who also assists with another boy in the class.  They help Jayden adapt by writing his schedule out everyday.  If there is a change in the routine, they write it out for him, and he goes for it!  They have been impressed with his reading abilities.  He's doing the 1st grade curriculum.  He probably could be in a higher level, but his comprehension skills are not as great as his decoding skills.  I will keep him in public school unless I find it isn't working for him anymore.

For the most part, Jayden can be pretty easy going.  He is still sometimes bothered by loud noises.  He's definitely bothered with transitions.  He is a fun source of entertainment with some of the things he says and comes up with.  He is still loving, and I'm glad that he can express that- as I know that some children with Autism can't.  I love my little guy!

Here are some facts about Jayden at age 6:
Favorite color- red
Favorite toys- Angry Birds!
Favorite activities- playing on Mom's phone or his iPod Touch- especially Angry Birds, playing on the computer, playing Angry Birds games in his room
Best friends- Allison, Nixon, Drew, Quinn, Ella, Fatma, Perseus
Favorite food- El Monterey Beef and Bean burritos(pretty much the only thing he eats- as he has food sensory issues.  He will only eat that brand and flavor, too).

That's all for now!   And I've almost finished this post at the time of his birth- 8:05 at night.  Happy birthday, Jayden!  Love you!

Monday, December 31, 2012

My Year in Review- 5th and Final Part!

So this brings me to the last few months of the year.

October brought more soccer- in colder and wetter weather.

It also brought the end of the season
which made me feel weird not having to chauffeur kids around almost every day.

The amazing woman, Sonia Todd, finished her struggle here on earth, and went to party in heaven on the 14th.  She left behind a great legacy.  She wrote her own obituary that touched many as it was widely published.  You can read it here.

Kyrie turned 10 and had a glow-in-the-dark birthday party:

Then there was Halloween
Red Angry Bird, Green Helmet Pig and Fairy
Yuki even got in on the fun:

Love this time of the year!

What a difference a year makes!

We celebrated Thanksgiving a little later this year as I had to work the Apple Cup(Go Cougs!), and Grandma Rollins came to visit, so we waited to celebrate with her.


The month flew by, and Christmas was the biggest happening.

Yuki has grown a lot, too!
So, that's our year in a nutshell.  There's a lot more that I could have included, but I didn't want to bore everyone, and I need to do some last minute things before we go ring in the new year at church tonight.  In two more days, we'll be making the journey to visit my mom again and send Mark to his conference in Vegas.  We're hoping that this journey will be one without incident.  As much as our accident this year has brought us together as a family, I think there are other ways we can grow this year.

Thanks for reading!  May God bless you and yours in the year to come!  Happy New Year!