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I Can FIND Them!

Sometimes we forget.

 

We forget that even though she isn’t looking at us, or seemingly paying attention, she can still hear us.  And understands fully!

 

I said to the sitter “At bedtime, make sure you put the remotes up high so no one can get them when they go roaming around in the middle of the night.”

“Yeah, like RoseBud!” shouted a child from another room. 

Without skipping a beat or even looking up RoseBud said “I can FIND them!”

It was classic!

We all cracked up!  Too bad I didn’t get it on video when it actually happened – it was completely priceless!

A very close re-enactment:

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Letter Writing

This week Rosebud has been learning to write a friendly letter.  She started off writing repetitive sentences, then her teacher nipped that in the bud.  Did I mention how much I love her school? 

I will you mom
I will you dad
I will you mom give me the let
I will you dad
I have a letter for mom
Dear mom have a letter for you
How I am fine we had a cear
for dad and mom to me and
Wan to the beach play in the water
Wen ad fun to today a time
In the pool take care today.
Fun summer and fun.
Fun g in the water.

It is interesting to read her writing.  Yes.  It is disjointed and odd, but if you read through you get the impression that she wants to play in the water.  So, in her own way, this letter conveys a meaning from her  to me.  Neat!

I think of those of you reading who think “if only my child could communicate like this…”  I understand the roller coaster ride of acceptance, sadness, resignation, joy, and gladness.  The struggle to find peace in letting her just be herself, yet wanting to understand her thoughts and be able to communicate with her and know that she understands you.

I remember the days when all her little friends were chattering away, talking my ear off about bugs, airplanes, lizards, Dora the Explorer and Elmo.  They talked about their new underpants and being big girls and peeing on the potty.  And  wanted to play tea parties and dollies.  I remember well, amd wanted that day to come for my girl too.
Well, patience (which I have very little) was grown in me.  I can proudly say thay at 8 years old Rosebud was finally potty trained!  At 9, she loves tea parties, pushing strollers with dollies, catches lizards like a pro, talks about Dora, and not so much Elmo, but  muppets in general.

And now she can write a “friendly letter”.

I hope this encourages you with your own girly girl…  These children are on their own time table.  You can push them, bit they will only move when they want to.

Sentences from Rosebud

More sentences from Rosebud’s schoolwork (Horizons Spelling, grade 1), showing her unusual language skills at 9 1/2 years old:

I will be queen.

I will be quiet.

I have a question.

I love to write

I will made cent

I love my cent

I will wait

These are fill in the blank sentences:

I am happy when I love my Job.

The little lad Is Clean.

The surprise gift was a present.

The children were joyful because I love joy.

The boy will throw The ball.

Three words were given in the word box.  The instructions were:  Use the words in a sentence.  Draw a picture.

I love my boy

I will nice

I wait toss

(no picture was drawn)

I will be kind

I love joyful

I love lass

(no picture drawn)

and last but not least:

Image

I love my girl I will be happy I love my present

 

And the last thing on this page was the Bible Verse: Love is patient.  Love is kind.  1 Cor. 13:4  Write the verse.  Write something kind you can do.

I love to my job.  I will be nice to my girl.

Rosebud’s Letter to Mom

Below is a full page hand written letter Rosebud wrote to me on Valentines Day 2012.  She was 9 1/2 years old, and working through her first grade English curriculum at school.

This may look like a bunch of jibberish-like nonsense to some, but to me this is the real Rosebud.  She talks like this a lot.  Her statements are teensy-tiny glimpses of things going on inside her head.  Sometimes I understand, but other times I don’t.  She almost never sticks around to answer any of my questions, so I am usually left guessing as to what she’s actually talking about.

Will she ever write stories that flow and make sense to the casual observer?  I’m not sure.  But I’ll love her just the same.

 

Daer mom I Love You in my home is Peter come to your home yes Ed will love your pet is a cat an come to a school and play a ball is red no I cant a cat can go to schooch yes I can pay in the slend no cat cant play toys no a cat can said I will jion the paper I special a cat come a plcases is done for something is not a book you may mail you note Love mom and dad.

The PB&J Tales

I stood watching my young children play on the playground from the sidewalk outside the fence.  BubbaBoy had fallen asleep in the van and from my vantage point I could glance over and make sure he was ok.  It was mid-February in sunny Florida, yet the sky was a deep dark grey with clouds of smoke rising from the west.  Ash fell like snowflakes reminding me how lucky we are to be away from the ice and snow of the frigid north.  The forest fire season was just coming upon us yet the smoke was far enough away to let the children play outdoors without fear of asthma attacks.

Rosebud was wandering aimlessly from one play area to another.  Chewing on her fingers, surveying the surroundings, avoiding the other children.  She headed over to the climbing structure that looks like a giant soccer ball made of bungee cords that her…

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Easter Story by Rosebud the Marvelous

New strides towards higher learning are taking place with my dear Rosebud!  She is now being introduced to advanced first grade English.  Yes, I know she is 9 1/2 and her grade card says she is in 3rd grade but thankfully her teachers work within HER abilities – not a pre-defined path of education.

After reading the Bible’s account of the Easter story from Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20, she was given this writing exercise.   The instructions were to “Draw and Write”, and she was given a word box with these words to help her create a story:  Easter, rose, angels, Peter, Jesus, stone, and Mary.

The First Easter

the rose angels

the Easter hit the stone

I Mary Jeus

I give Peter a rose

 

So it’s not Maya Angelou… that’s ok by me!  We’re talking about a child whose only word was “MA!” for years, who had ten barely understandable words when she was 3, who had no clue what you were talking about when you said “what is this?” when pointing to an apple, and said her first sentence just over 4 years ago (“I go outside play green grass?”).

Here she is reading me this same story (apparently she can’t read her own writing!)

On the other side of this paper was the sentence writing activity: “Write a sentence using spelling words”.

The word box contained the words “snail, stop, street” and she wrote:  “I see a snail”

For the words “Snake, slip, snow” she wrote:  “I paly the snow” (I play in the snow).

“stove, smoke, smell” she wrote:  “I smell smoke”

“sky, speak, skip” she wrote:  “I speak mom” (I speak to mom).

“Easter, after” she wrote:  “I live Easter” (I like Easter).

Then we move on to spelling.  I was always the kid in class that got 100% on every spelling test without studying.  It was as easy as breathing to spell all those words in the many books I’d read.   Even now, if you ask me to spell some weird long word I’ve never heard before there is a 90% chance I’d spell it correctly.  But I digress – we’re talking about Rosebud here, the one who says “buh fly” instead of butterfly.  Who can not say school – it’s always sool.  Skunk is snuk.  Proverbs is problems. Elligator?  Yes, that would be the elevator.  So I can only imagine how difficult it would be for her to memorize how to spell butterfly.  Or skunk.  Or elevator.  This was her latest spelling test:

boy

toy

joy

boil

jon (join)

noise

binday (birthday)

buttfly (butterfly)

airport

mialman (mailman)

football

rionbow (rainbow)

thank

four

And a word of praise here for her school:  even though technically she got a 64% on this test, they still work one on one with her to help encourage her and help her do better next time.  The use of the English language is not her strongest area, so they will keep working with her at her level.

Emotional Detachment

I am going to quote a book that I’ve been reading:  “Aspergers on the Job” by Rudy Simone.  Ms Simone has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and writes from both a personal perspective, but also from research from hundreds of people – both employees with AS and their employers, federal and state advocacy and agencies.  I think this book is fabulous and if you have a child/teen/adult that you love that has a high functioning form of Autism or Aspergers – this book definitely belongs on your bookshelf!  Preferably dog eared and falling apart!

A person with Asperger’s Syndrome will often say or do what is logical rather than  what is socially and emotionally expected of them.  If a person is emotionally detached at a time when a more compassionate, emotion-driven response is called for, it can get them a reputation as a cold fish.  And emotional situation would take the AS person into territory where they cannot control or predict the outcome, and many (particularly males, since it is something of a male reaction anyway) will avoid emotional demonstrations or reciprocations of any sort.

Mix: one logical approach to life, one aversion to emotional situations, and add a dash of difficulty expressing yourself; put it in the world to bake for a few years and out comes Mr. Spock.

Yet people with AS can be incredibly compassionate and kind and AS does not preclude empathy (Hesman-Saey 2008).  They will open doors for the elderly, give change to the homeless, rescue wounded animals, give aid to a friend in need.  But there are times when:

  1. Empathy pathways are bypassed, due to a high level of stress or anxiety or feeling ‘attacked.’  If there is any sort of drama going on and the AS person feels like they are being accused or implicated, they may become defensive, angry or shut down.  They might not find the right words, go silent, or stutter if upset.
  2. They feel empathy but don’t know how to go about expressing it.  This is called alexythimia.  It means difficulty identifying and describing emotions, both your own and others’ (Wikipedia 2008).  It is a common component of AS.  Reaching out to a person with alexythimia can make for some awkward moments.  For example, you may be telling them about something awful that happened to you and they will point out something worse that happened to somebody else.  It sounds as if they have no sympathy for you.  In reality they are trying to make you feel better but are going about it rather clumsily.
  3. The situation is something they’ve never experienced first-hand, so they truly do not know what it feels like and cannot imagine.  This is a problem of “theory of mind” – not fully realizing that others have feelings and thoughts different than your own.  If a person with AS has never experienced the death of a loved one, for example, they may really have no idea how that feels and may not be the person to turn to for soft words and kind gestures.

In the section on “What the employee can do:” the author (who herself has Aspergers Syndrome) writes many suggestions that are simple, direct and clearly stated.  Here are just two from the list:

  • Accessing emotions can be learned, especially if one is supported and in a loving environment where it is safe to do so.  Try talking about how you feel with someone you trust.
  • For those with spiritual inclinations, the Buddhist/eastern practice of ‘mindfulness’ to foster empathy and compassion for others has been mentioned as a good technique for those with AS, as is the Christian ‘golden rule’ of doing unto others as you would have done unto you.

The section on “To employers and advocates:” the author also lists many suggestions.  Here are a few:

  • Don’t take it personally if your AS employee says something insensitive.  They are compassionate; they just don’t know how to show it sometimes.
  • If they have been a bit callous, or un-empathetic, take them aside and give them a working example or anecdote they can relate to rather than telling them how they should feel.

So how’s that for some concise, easy to understand info and advice?  If you like these few ideas, please pick up the book Asperger’s on the Job – Must have advice for people with Asperger’s or High Functional Autism and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates by Rudy Simone.