Thursday, December 20, 2012


Just a quick update!  Jack has been adjusting to school really well for the most part.  He got his very first report card last week, which consisted of 2's and 3's, on a scale of 1-4.  Considering this his first year at school, and only one month at full days, I think that's pretty good!!  His highest scores were in science, which I definitely want to keep on eye on.  Reading seems to be more a little bit of a struggle for him, but I think it has more to do with testing a certain way (he really doesn't test like everyone else) than his ability to read and comprehend.  The only rough spot we've hit is his dislike of getting out of bed some mornings.  About once a week, he's too tired or doesn't want to go for some reason, and it turns into a major battle.  We keep trying new things to motivate him, but they get old quickly.  You know, Jack always says interesting things when he doesn't want to do something, so we hear a lot of, "I'm done with school  now," "School is closed," "I'm 6, I don't have to go to school," and so on.

Sometimes Jack does so well I forget that I still have to think differently when talking with him, and then it hits me in a flash.  Jack is the same as the rest of us, and he's different too.  He's doing so well in school, I really hope that he can stay with his class as he gets older.  Right now, my focus is teaching him as much as I can both educationally and socially, so that he gets everything he needs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It looks as though we are on the verge of losing Jack's intensive therapy; crazy doesn't even come close to how it's been working with the insurance company and county.  Please pray for us so that we make good decisions for Jack this week, as this may be his last week.  I've been trying to think of ways to make this transition easy for him, but I know it will be hard for him so please pray for him too.  Thank you.  =)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jack's First Day of School

Jack's first day of school was AMAZING!!  There were days I really struggled with not having put him in some form of school, but this day provided a lot of validation that we made good choices for Jack.  He is in a regular kindergarten class, which also has some special ed help that floats in and out of class.  He loves it!!  People kept asking me if I was going to cry since he is leaving us for the first time.  I really didn't.  It's been six years at home, and that's all I'm saying about that!  What did make me emotional was watching him interact with all of the kids, put himself forward in learning new songs with hand motions (not something he would have done in the past), and answer all of the teacher's questions while sitting on the carpet with all of the other kids.  I cannot say enough how far he has come.  School would not have gone this well last year if we had tried to force him into it.  That's what makes me emotional - watching Jack blossom.  Thinking about how hard it was for him to get there.  Remembering what a blessing that therapy was.

My favorite memory: Jack running up to me and giving me a hug because he had seen all of the other kids say good-bye to their parents.  "I want to give you a hug.  Good-bye, mommy!"  He ran right back to his class and went to go eat his favorite snack.

What I think Jack loves the most:  His very own bus-ride!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


         After many meetings, and a lot of prayer, we were able to enroll Jack into a collaborative Kindergarten program in the Green Bay school district.  Only one school in the district runs this program, but they referred to it as their 'cadillac' program.  It's designed so that two kindergarten classrooms are connected by a third room in between.  The classrooms are staffed by kindergarten teachers and special-ed aides, and the middle room is staffed by a full-time early childhood teacher.  They are regular education classrooms, but each room has 5-6 kids similar to Jack, who can get the attention they need but still be able to learn at the appropriate age level.  I.AM.SUPER.SUPER.SUPER.EXCITED!!!  This sounds perfect for Jack!  They even agreed to start him at 2 1/2 hours for the first six weeks, and then slowly increase his hours over the school year -and the additional time is completely dependent on how he is handling everything.  There is something very settling about this for me, too.  It has been an entire year that Tony and I have been wondering and waiting to see how school was going to play out for Jack.  On one hand, he doesn't need to be stuck back in a special-ed classroom.  He wouldn't thrive that way.  On the flip-side, he struggles in classroom size settings on his own.  I had never heard of this program, but as soon as it was mentioned to me I knew it was a good fit for Jack.  It sounds very discreet to me, which I think is important.  What I mean is: the aides in the classrooms help all of the kids, and the middle room is functional for both classrooms.  Basically, the kindergarten classrooms are self-contained; they have everything they need in this three room system.  There will be no calling Jack out of class, he will not have an aide with him, and he won't have to feel different in any way -but he will still get the extra attention he needs!  I really believe this is a gift from God to Jack, and to the rest of our family as well.  He has worked so hard, and changed so much in the last year, and I'm so excited for him!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big Week

This week is a big week for Jack!  We have three appointments with our school district this week, two are evaluations and one is an IEP.  Please pray for us and for Jack, that we will have a productive meeting and that Jack will be placed where he needs to be.  My impression from speaking with them is that they have one option, which Jack is not ready for yet.

Jack is still growing like crazy!!  Every few weeks he seems to turn a new corner, so to speak.  What's been awesome lately is that he has started to initiate affection.  He has always loved being hugged and kissed, but only in the last week or two has he ever initiated it.  Every night now, he gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, something I'm definitely enjoying!! Sometimes these changes are hard to define and quantify, but a change like that is a sign to me that he has been freed up a lot.  Thank you all for being supportive, I hope that you can all see how much Jack has grown soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


We've had quite the interesting few weeks with Jack.  We are continuing with his habit "potty" training, but had to revamp it a little bit.  The changes seem to be working out well, thankfully!  Now, whenever he fulfills his requirements, he gets to pick a reward from a special box.  There are cards in the box with different rewards on them, such as a cup of soda, outside time, Wii time, etc.  My impression is that he responds well to it because he doesn't know what he's going to get each time, and it's always different!  Overall, he is struggling with it and progressing at the same time.  I can tell that he still wants to fight it, and we've had a few rather telling moments that speak to that.  However, he's made progress too, and is more aware of what's going on.  He is definitely maturing, and with that I can sense that he is opening up to the idea of change!  

Our big struggle right now is finding the right school for him this fall.  We opted out of 4K last year, and started the intensive therapy instead -but it's definitely time for him to start school.  Both his pediatrician and behavioral doctor suggested that he would be better off in 4K this fall, instead of kindergarten.  Tony and I can sense that as parents too, but we're having a hard time making that work.  The public school does not want to enroll a 5 year old in the 4K program, and the school that will enroll him in one, is a private school and requires complete potty training before they will take him.  What a bind!!  Please pray for us, that we make a good choice for him, and that he relaxes about potty training too.  Thank you so much for all of your support!!

Meanwhile, Jack has been earning military stickers to put up in the bathroom.  He created a battle scene with them a couple of days ago, and can stand there and talk about all of the vehicles and what they're doing.  It's fantastic to listen to him be creative, what a change!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Updates Pt. 2

It's been awhile ~ I know!!  We've had a lot of changes take place lately - mostly good ones, thankfully!  We finally transitioned through all of the therapists that needed to leave and all of the new ones filling those empty spots.  Jack lost 3 out of 4 line therapists from his original team, which was extremely frustrating at the time, but has turned out really well.  His new therapists are FANTASTIC!!  They love him, connect to him, and are just what he needed.  One of them works with older people affected by autism, and has seen what this kind of early intervention can do for people; for her, this is serious, life-altering work.  Another new one has a pet pig, which Jack loves to pieces.  He even works for the reward of watching videos of it from the therapist's phone.  There is even talk of making videos with the pig to use for potty-training - which is something that Jack will love and connect to.

Speaking of potty training ~
      We finally started!!  The clinic refers to it as 'habit training' and I believe I've seen it called 'interval training'.  It starts out very simple, with Jack just having to sit for 10 seconds once each shift.  Every week the requirements change, and the rewards do as well.  The first week he earned paint for the bathroom, and the second he earned wall stickers.  I took him to Sherwin-Williams to pick out the paint, and to show him some pictures of themes that he could pick from.  He had been talking about fish on the walls for weeks, so that's what I thought he'd pick.  But no.  He went for Army tanks and planes.  Truthfully, he needed to pick a theme that is exciting for him, so this is good.  But it's definitely not one I'd ever pictured!  Thankfully, the picture had blue/gray paint in the background and not army green!!  

Forever grateful to good friends, two of ours helped us paint the room already.  It's all set for Jack to earn his tanks, planes, and helicopters to put on the walls.  If you think of us, pray for us.  This is a huge undertaking for our family.  The truth is:  I get extremely frustrated because I wasn't able to do this myself.  Our senior therapist says things like, "I've potty trained so many kids, it's crazy!"  And then I wonder who else is out there that had a similar experience.  I don't know of any myself!  But Jack is different.  He's a good different, but he's different.  He needs different things from me than Evan does, and that's ok.

On a positive note:  he's grown like crazy in the last couple of months.  His conversational skills have taken off; his ability to express himself has changed so much that's it hard to remember a time when he wasn't able to do it; he's learned how to get attention appropriately; he even wants to watch tv/computer less - which is an activity that could keep him amused for hours and hours.  Now he wants to know what we're going to be doing all the time.  It's been amazing to watch him change and grow, and I'm super-excited for what's in store for him yet this year!