Play

You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rise to the surface in free play…Erik Erikson.  I have been an early childhood educator for over eighteen years. My favorite grade to teach was four year-old kindergarten for the state of Alabama. Besides being in the presence of amazing children and their parents, I really loved teaching by means of play. I am a believer in playing with a purpose, which is a major concept in child development (birth-five). It’s by means of play a child learn valuable concepts, that is beneficial for the rest of their lives. For example, a child jumping in a puddle of water after a hard rain teaches cause and effect. The higher a jump equals bigger splashes. Or playing with playdough opens a child mind to endless possibilities like pretend cookies. One of my favorites is watching children develop conversation skills by playing housekeeping/dress-up. Who hasn’t done an imaginary tea party with their dolls/stuffed animals? Or playing with blocks using the skills of an architect to build? Or playing in dirt to discover like a scientist? Honestly, play is a beautiful thing, that every child should be able to experience. There is no one treatment or educational plan that will work for every autism spectrum disorder child. However, I do believe early intervention has improve M possibilities. I love to watch M play. Thanks to early intervention, M is now playing with toys. These last few weeks he has actually been playing with cars on the floor. On top of that, he has been actually mimicking car like sounds! Surprisingly too, M imagination is expanding. He loves drinking straws now. No not to drink with them, he uses them for drum sticks. M plays a beat with his sticks here or there, he will play them everywhere! So if you’re around M, mind your straw. This understanding of play concept for M came about by means of his wonderful therapists using Mr. Potato Head for a year. Additionally, all of  M amazing teachers over the years used play to reach his beautiful mind and heart. M is reminding me that play opens a world of wonderful learning experiences…keep rocking M!

Simply an autism mom learning

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Growth

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment…Antonio Brown. Our life is a garden of growth and discovery. We have amazing ability to grow mentally, physically and spiritually. Truth, our growth is without limits. In reality, only we can hinder our growth by not staying activity. It means acknowledging our weakness, while still holding onto perseverance in the face of challenges. I realize at each age level there should be embracing of growth in understanding and confidence. Our family and friends contribute to our garden of growth.  Yes, sometimes growth can be painful or frustrating. However, if we continue to plant kindness, love, hope, patience, joy and peace into our hearts beautiful foliage will abound. It would be the foundation of us being amazing human beings overcoming any setbacks. Last week M turned six. It has been amazing to witness M growth process both physically and mentally. His imagination and confidence is flourishing. M had been working on mastering communication in three or four word sentences for a year. This week in therapy he finally mastered saying “I am five.” In fact he said it over and over and over and over in the car on the way home yesterday! Now, I am praying  for his growth in perspective or understanding that five is gone now but six is here for another year. M is teaching me growth is inevitable so make sure each moment I plant seeds of possibilities.

Simply an autism mom learning

 

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The Gift

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day a masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from a good book-especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings, & pray for guidance everyday…John Wooden. I am a standing witness that such thinking goes a long way in making life meaningful. I have witness the power of love, kindness, and being helpful. My grandmother and mom had heart not only in their way of treating people but in their thinking. They believed if you’re unable to help someone, then at least don’t create additional problems for them. In our life there will be moments we can help others to our best capacity. It can be simply helping an individual find comfort by sharing words of hope after a death of a love one or giving up our seat on a bus to an elderly individual. I think that is what love looks like, being helpful to others. It’s seeing a need and being moved to act. As a parent, I find it a great responsibility to teach M the gift of helping others. A while back we transition M room into that of autism hero theme. Yes, M has a superhero cape with a mask with puzzle pieces making the letter M. Everyday, we explain to M that he can make a difference by being willing to help others to his best ability. Afterall, that is the true meaning of being a hero is helping someone to succeed beyond what they thought possible. Yesterday, I was looking for my keys in the car. M surprised me by offering his toy keys to help. He kept repeating the word “Key!”  I was touched by M offering to help me in his own way. Of course, I made M keys work along with my keys once I found them. M is teaching me helping others is a rewarding gift and that gift starts at home!

Simply an autism mom learning

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Complete (Revisited)

Having M showed me a whole different kind of love that I have never known. It is a beautiful blessing in my complete understanding of love. Parenthood has so many aspect to it that I am constantly learning to see things from M unique perspective. This morning as we were leaving the house, M did something out of the ordinary. He yelled “HELP!” He said the word so clear that it certainly got my attention. M was was trying to reopen the front door after it was already closed and locked. I was puzzled. This morning we did our usually routine before leaving the house, I made sure M had his favorite sensory strings and fully charged Leapfrog tablet. However, M was persistent at saying “HELP” and trying to open the door. At this point in my parenting of M, I am learning to stop whatever I am doing or trying to do. I take a deep breath while silently praying for help to figure out what is going on in M beautiful mind. Yes, we unlocked the door to let M back into the house. M rushed into the living room. He was looking for something. I found it odd because he was holding two of his sensory strings plus tablet. Surprisingly, M picked up one of his drum sticks. He turned to me and smiled. So I asked ” You ready to go now?” M responded “Go bye bye!” So out the door again we went. M was complete now. This experience had me pondering over the need to feel complete. Often times in life there can be frustration when we don’t feel complete. These few days M has needed a little more time in deciding what he need to fill complete upon leaving the house in the morning. Yesterday, M needed two plastic drinking straws in addition to sensory strings and Leapfrog. Today, it was his toy car keys and a sock plus the usual items. Perhaps this is M way of adjusting to changes in his routine of not going to his usual school since it’s summer break. Maybe the extra items fill a void, thus helping him feel a sense of completeness. Upon reflection I think all of us want to feel complete in our everyday life. The feeling of being complete is base on each individual unique perspective or thinking.  I discovered having a relationship with my Creator helps me feel complete. However, for some it could be having children, career, family, close friends or even doing meaningful community/social work to better our world. Sometimes, it can be simple as finding the perfect pair of shoes/earrings to complete our look for the day. Overall, the feeling of being complete give us a sense of accomplishment or beauty. I am happy M is learning what will help him feel complete. M is teaching me feeling complete is a process worth discovering! 

Simply an autism mom learning

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Eureka

People think of those eureka moments & my feelings is that they tend to be little things, a little realization & then a little realization built on that…Roger Penrose. This week I had to change one of M therapy day to a Monday due to time conflict with his other medical appointment. By switching days, I was able to meet a new autism parent. Honestly, this mom was so sweet and beautifully taking care of three handsome boys. We talked and laughed together. Truthfully, I have met some awesome parents while M is at therapy or at the hospital.  I even had to privilege to meet a fellow awesome autism mom with a little girl while subbing  at our local school. I can’t forget about my other awesome moms from various congregations whom are my Facebook friends sharing their autism truths raising their child. It’s these connections that create eureka moments for M & I. I noticed when M is around a fellow peer on the autism spectrum he seem at ease. On Monday when our children finished therapy around the same time, both of our kids were hand flapping & smiling. Maybe they sense each other as being kindred souls. Eureka for me is the world feel not so big after all & illuminating I am not alone. I don’t know how to fully explain that comfort/encouraging feeling except to compare it to a cold sweet tea on a hot summer afternoon. Yes, our human interaction can be meaningful and refreshing. It can take our low moments in our day & turn it into a beautiful high. M is teaching me that eureka moments reveal we’re beautifully interconnected to other families on the autism journey & that is worth celebrating!

Simply an autism mom learning

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