My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Teamwork

It takes a village to raise an autistic child! We are fortunate to have a pretty good team around us. Each week, I get at least one phone call from the principal a the elementary school, Mr. P. Bless his heart! Mr. P has such a tender spot for our Colton. Almost every phone call ends with him in tears. He tells me about whatever shenanigans took place that day, what he tried to teach Colton, and whatever conversation they might have had. He then always ends the phone call by telling me that he loves our Colton and that Colton holds a part of his heart. I believe him. He is a good man. * I have a dear friend, Heidi. She is in our ward. I adore her. She always looks out for Colton and Kaydon, makes sure they get home from school safely and that they know that she cares about them. Heidi is one of the people who Colton is allowed to hug whenever he wants to. Because of Colton's boundary issues, which are infinite, we are constantly reminding him that he has to ask people before he touches them or hugs them. Heidi has given him a free pass to hug her whenever he wants to. * Grandparents are so important for Colton. Grandma LeAnne is always sure to love on him and remind him that she loves him. She is so patient with him. Papa and Grandma are so kind and warm and soft with him. They are always wanting to learn and know how to reinforce rules and boundaries with him in the best way. Grandma laid and watched a movie with him the night of Jackson's dance... just her and Colton. * Colton will always have a soft spot for Nana. He loves her very, very much. They have a very special bond and they always will. * For Colton's siblings, it is a hard-trodden road. The patience wears thin, as it does for Josh and I. They become very frustrated with Colton. It is a tough thing to try to be patient, compassionate, and kind all of the time. But, there are moments of greatness with these kids. Yesterday in church (which is HARD), Colton sat in between Josh and Jackson. Josh was doing his best to keep something in Colton's hands to keep him busy and quiet. There were a few times, though, when nothing was working. I noticed that Jackson would put his arm around him and talk quietly to him to try to calm him. Grateful. Emotional. Blessed. * Heidi told me of something that happened last week. Zoe, her oldest who is in first grade, loves Colton. Every morning when Heidi drops her off, she goes and finds Colton and gives him a hug. Well, last week a few of the fifth grade boys asked Zoe if she was Colton's brother. "No, he's my friend." The boys asked why she hugs him. "Because he's my friend!" They pushed a little more about why she would hug him. (It's getting harder for Colton to not be bullied or picked on. The kids his age are noticing that he is different) "I told him that he is my friend!" Little Sassy Zoe has no idea what that means to me! Colton is completely "normal" to her. She loves him so she hugs him. End of story. She has no shame in doing it. She is proud to call Colton her friend and she isn't going to stop because a bunch of boys ask her 20 questions. Zoe for president! * Our sweet Primary president saw me in the hall after Sacrament meeting yesterday. Colton was trying to open every classroom door. He was not "with it." I was trying to re-focus him and get him to a good place so that I could take him to class. I also had Brooklyn hanging on my arms and was on my way to teach my own class. Josh was stuck talking with the Sunday School president. Natalie quickly, and calmly, came up and asked Colton if she could go to class with him. He lit up. She took him by the hand and off they went. Blessed. * It takes a village to raise an autistic child and we are blessed to be developing our village of loving, patient, non-judgmental people to love our child and help him to navigate a world that can be so very difficult for him.

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