Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our story part 14: Bitty in pre-pre-K

Bitty's progress between age 2 and 3 was slow but he did make gains during that time. By age 3 he still wasn't talking very much, but he was more and more engaged, less in his own little world. It was slowly getting easier (not necessarily easy, but easier) to get him to interact. With therapy he had good days where he participated and not so good days where he resisted any kind of participation. As his third birthday approached, we had transition meetings and evaluations to set up his move from Early Intervention to the school system's program for children with special needs.

He started the 5x/week class the Monday after his third birthday, at the same preschool his brothers attended when they were 3-4. The school has preschool classes only, with special needs preschool, headstart, and regular ed pre-K programs all housed there. The elementary school that Cuddlebug and Bearhug go to is right down the street from there, so it works out well from a logistics standpoint for drop-offs / pick-ups. :)

While Little Bitty liked being at school, the separation part in the morning was really, really hard on him (and us, mostly dh since he dropped him off most days). His teacher assured us that he usually calmed down within a few minutes of arriving in class (which was and still is typically the case when we drop him off anywhere, not just school). He was always in a good mood in the afternoon when we picked him up, and he made good progress in his first couple of months of school.

Then it was time for summer break, and we were concerned about interrupting his progress but he didn't qualify for ESY. We continued to work with him at home, and put him back into private speech therapy over the summer. We tried putting him in a gymnastics class, but that didn't go so well. He had zero interest in following anything the class was doing, and just wanted to run around the room climbing and bouncing. Needless to say, that didn't last long.

Aside from that, he did pretty well over the summer, and when he started back to school in the fall (still age 3), it was clear he'd made a lot of progress even just over the summer. He was starting to wave hi / bye. He held his palm facing himself and moved his hand from side to side, it almost looked more like he was waving to himself but it was really cute :). After a couple of weeks to readjust to the school schedule, his mornings slowly started to go a little more smoothly too.

He spent another year in a 5x/week self-contained special needs class (most if not all of the other kids also had autism). This last school year has been one of a lot of progress for Bitty. He's slowly started to talk more, to interact more, and to have less meltdowns. We experimented with PECS schedules and some other things to help him adapt some of his school progress to home. He (slightly) expanded his very small repertoire of what he was willing to eat. He worked on coloring and other artistic endeavors, and even learned to write his name with help. He started learning to get creative in getting his point across, an ability that continues to be extremely helpful to all of our sanity and well-being :). As the school year progressed, he had opportunities to spend a little time with NT peers, first during recess and then slowly adding things like computer lab and some other activities.

He doesn't interact much with other kids yet. He does with his brothers sometimes, and I think he did in school when it was a structured activity, but when neighborhood kids are around and at church, he kind of does his own thing and doesn't seem particularly interested (even with structured activities). Hopefully that will be an area of progress for the upcoming year :).

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K on July 13, 2009 at 10:40 PM said...

D he looks like he is doing great
Now do the twins leave him out or do they include him in their activities
Also what is his nature like ?

Anonymous said...

What an encouraging report, and causing all Bitty-fans to smile!

I give LOTS of credit to your lifestyle - that supports all the boys' development with love and a commitment to them. Barbara

UPrinting on July 21, 2009 at 12:58 AM said...

That's wonderful news :) He seems to be continuously improving and that's great. All the achievements he's made so far are awesome, you must be so proud. You are raising them wonderfully, I always get a smile reading about their activities and their achievements. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just read all 14 posts of your autism story in a row and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed them. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your boys.

Our little boy was just diagnosed six months ago (he's 3). I just started blogging last month- you're welcome to stop by sometime!


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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