Jack's Birthday ~ It turned out great!! Friends, gifts, and a totally awesome cake definitely made his 5th birthday memorable. The only hiccup along the way was teaching Jack his new age. He kept saying, "I'm not 5, I'm number 4!" He finally started saying 5 at the end his birthday, but the day after it was, "My birthday is done. I'm not 5 anymore. I'm 4!" From what I can tell, he is finally understanding that he is 5 now, but I occasionally hear him argue with his therapists about his age. If you see him around, don't be afraid to ask him how old he is!
Christmas ~ As far as Jack is concerned, we did very well this season. Multiple family members remarked on how much less inhibited he is this year as compared to the last few years' worth of family gatherings. It's so nice to look back and see change and progress. The only thing I see that's different, that I don't like, is that he's starting to use verbal "stims" more, as in he randomly yells out sounds that aren't words. They usually involve different pitches and apparently it's something that kids with Autism commonly do. Jack hasn't ever done that much, but I wonder if it's his new way of handling people, especially large groups like a family gathering. That's when I noticed it the most over the Christmas season. A few of the therapists noticed it too, and I'm not sure how they handle that yet. I tried teaching him to say, "I'm excited!" or something similar but I think it's going to take more than that.
Therapy ~ Jack is definitely progressing each month, but this month we had to add some limits to his therapy. I used to walk him upstairs for his first hour, but our senior therapist thought he was too dependent on that. He REALLY struggles the first hour of the day, and when we tried to get him upstairs by himself he threw terrible fits. I just want to say ~ listening to your child throw huge fits, which involve hitting/screaming at other people, is horrible. If you know any other moms dealing with this, make sure you give them a hug and tell them you support them! This is one of my biggest struggles with his therapy: handing the reigns over to someone else whom Jack will likely reveal his evil side to. It's good for him, but it's not pretty. We also learned today that one of his line therapists had to resign (his favorite). I'm not sure how things will play out yet, but I'm guessing it means we'll have someone new in our house and that Jack will NOT like it. Pray for us if you think of us!! On the happier side of therapy, we added a few new programs which I LOVE. One is 'pre-school games' and right now he's in the middle of Hide and Seek, I Spy, and Ring Around the Rosie. Another fun one is, 'I See.' This is designed to teach sentence structure and it's fun to listen to. We also added 'Peer Play' and have had some of his friends over during therapy hours. Its been GREAT to branch out and do some fun things.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! =)