Thursday, May 26, 2011

To ABA or not to ABA?

In the last few months before we quit ABA, our insurance suddenly deigned to cover a fraction of it. Now the therapy center is asking us if we'd like to come back for some hours this summer. Ahhh, the joy of deciding how much and what therapy to get!

To be honest, I haven't seen any big regressions since we quit ABA. Also, the twins qualified for 18 days of Extended Year Services (that's the most you can get, so I am happily surprised). Right now, there isn't even a little part of me that wants to take them back to the ABA center although I do miss the therapists. Am I denying them something that might help them? My gut says no, but who knows?

The alternative summer plan:
They will be getting many, many hours of aquatic therapy (aka floating around in the neighborhood pool with Mom). Also ample opportunity to use technical interfaces (IPad), and various community outings (Target, Walmart, Kroger). They will have access to an embarrassingly large library of children's books (my shopping weakness) and opportunities for play in inclusive groups (the neighbors' children and their big brother). We will be working on trying new foods, using the toilet (God willing) and staying clothed.

Even to myself I sound defensive, but we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keys to the Universe, a la Susan Senator

In homage to Susan Senator's occasional lists of what really makes her happy, here are some of my keys to the universe:

1. a planned trip to see my parents, my sisters, my nephew and my dog-nephews

2. newly-discovered Chai tea bags

3. watching 30 Rock DVD's with my husband after all the boys are in bed

4. watching Dancing with the Stars with my oldest son

5. spring rolls from Pho 21

6. painting the bathroom with the radio cranked up

7. walking on the abandoned golf course in our neighborhood

8. going swimming with B. and watching him teach himself to swim

9. sitting out on the deck after dark while G. marches around singing his Christmas song medley

That is a very satisfying exercise. It's a good antidote to compulsively going over my worries in my head! I am going to make these lists more often.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

B gets lost...and how to trust that it won't happen again?

This Monday we went on a field trip to the Houston Zoo. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time (although the twins aren't at the point of being very interested in the actual animals yet).

At the very end, in a huge crowd of Houston schoolchildren waiting for buses, a paraprofessional spaced out, and Brendan disappeared. I had G., and I walked up to the group of aides, and asked, "Where's B.?" They hadn't noticed he wasn't there. Next came fifteen minutes of running around like a mad woman, asking the zoo officials to close the zoo gates, and saying to random people, "If you see an autistic-looking boy in a blue shirt, grab him". The teacher had stayed back at the school, so I had to take charge of the situation.

Despite all these years of private therapy, public education, etc., the twins have no sense of danger, and no sense of the need to stay with a group. They might respond to their names in a quiet setting, but definitely not outdoors in a crowd. Luckily, a para found him standing in the gift shop. We still don't know exactly how it happened--he was sitting in a wagon, and the para thought he was buckled in.

Today we are going on another field trip, to a boardwalk, which is right next to Galveston Bay. I almost stayed home with both of them, but I can't keep them home from everything. Letting my guys go off to school, on trips, etc. requires so much trust of people I don't really know very well. I don't know how to balance worry/caution with trust. It's written into both boys' IEP's that they will run off, and I'm trying to think of other precautions we could take (including getting B. a service dog). With J., their big brother, I don't have any of these concerns. I need to find a way of trusting in aides, teachers and fate more than I do right now.