Autism Life is Moving Along: Things We Did Today, Volume 2

It has been about a month since my last update and my goal is to keep these posts going. The past two weeks have been huge for Gavin. I think the theme of this period in our life is time. It has been time for a change and we have many. We are still not using the iPad and focusing on communicating better, especially while eating. Sometimes I have to give him my phone when he is just completely not happy or not eating at all (and I am running on empty), but it’s not often. It’s at the point now that if I accidentally leave my phone on a table and he sees it, he dashes for it, grabs it and runs full speed with it because he knows it’s his only chance to use it!

His eye contact is better than ever now and he listens so well. Is this because he is growing up or because he is just in our world consistently and not escaping to the iPad or phone often? Not sure but everything is good. You can always find Gavin sitting with books and exploring things in the real world, as it should be.

Gavin is now officially in preschool! All summer I didn’t know whether he was ready. I was nervous, scared, anxious. I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable, frightened, or mess up his sleeping schedule from being overwhelmed. Luckily our amazing teachers there welcomed us with open arms and told us there’s nothing to worry about. He goes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 12 and it’s perfect for him so far. Two teachers from the public school system’s early intervention (EI) are there with him and two other students who receive the services. It really is a perfect situation and I am so happy about it. Now is definitely the right time for him to be exposed to all of this.

We also got into a speech therapy schedule – every Wednesday at 10:30 for one hour. Our new therapist will not only help Gavin and build a relationship with him, but she will keep me on my toes. I have to make picture cards for Gavin and be consistent with having him communicate with them. So now I am more accountable and ready to do this. It’s time to add something new to our routine at home.

Keeping with my time theme – there was a big first time moment today. Gavin went down a slide at the playground about four times. He’s never done this before. It was very surreal and I couldn’t believe it was really happening. For a little backstory: Gavin never stays at a playground for very long. He is afraid of swings, most structures that are moving or make loud noises, and doesn’t climb on anything. We also have to take a water bottle with us so he can hold it in his mouth for most of the time (as a comfort) or one of his toys that plays music. Anything to keep him interested to stay there longer, because most of the time he would rather wander around the grounds or find his way back to our car. Today was different though. He was patient enough to go up and down the “hills” and use his legs to balance. Then when we were at the top of the slide, he let me put him on my lap. In the past he would wriggle and run away, or even have a small meltdown and almost cry, from being afraid. But not today. I don’t know if it was because he went to school lately, and went to a new place today as well (the speech therapy office), but he was not afraid of the slide. First we went down a few times together. A man who was there with his grandson was letting me know that Gavin had his eyes closed the first few times. But then he started opening them. And then – I put Gavin at the top and asked if he was ready to go, and I let him slide down by himself. I couldn’t believe he did it! Then I was able to take a video of the second time. On days like this I feel free of most of my worries. Relieved. Hopeful. Bright.

My only worry now is with fall coming in, and our rainy days, and the fact we will probably be sick a lot, is if I can continue keeping Gavin like this. Not being afraid, sleeping well, and going to school and speech therapy happily. We have to keep progressing and we just cannot afford to stop.

So far he is not napping well (or at all) and that causes issues. We are trying to figure out if it’s because of the change in his routine – but he is also waking up at night for hours at a time too. But we have to keep going with school and therapy because despite the lack of sleep, it seems to be helping him so much already. I am sure we can find out what to do – or maybe it will just take a few months of the new routine. But I am definitely not ready to drop naps. When he doesn’t take a nap, the end of the evening, and especially dinner, is much harder to get through. Naps regulate him for the rest of the day so much.

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