Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The First Rainbow

I might have been the first one to notice the rainbow which seemed to end in the nearby lake, but C1 (my son with autism) was by far the most excited of us all. He said the rainbow was "painted by God." This is remarkable since we don't attend church much. It was he who noticed that there were actually two rainbows (look hard and you will see it), which is a fairly common occurrence. I was so in awe of the first one, that I didn't see the second, but C1 didn't miss it.

C1 notices everything or seems to anyway. It's during these moments that I feel hope. He has had an unusual number of meltdowns lately due to some changes in routine resulting from week long guests and it became overwhelming for all of us. I feel like I'm recovering from a series of war battles.

This rainbow and his awesome perspectives about it came when I needed a sign of hope. Things outside of school are not going well. Today I called to get a new pediatrician only to find out that I'll have to call back in May to see if there is any openings for new patients. It's a concern because C1 has health issues that needed to be investigated as soon as possible. We need to see an allergist. We need to see a neurologist. And most importantly, we need to see a urologist and nephrologist. One usually needs a referral from the patient's primary care doctor to get into a specialist. I'm worried about having to wait to get a primary care doctor, so this rainbow is a small source of comfort.

This sign also comes at a time when I am realizing that there is a waiting list here in terms of any opportunities for children with autism. Online I found out about a place that provides various forms of occupational therapy, but due to the "large volume of requests," they asked that interested persons download an version of their new patient packet instead of requesting on by phone. Sigh. ( Yes, they probably have a waiting list, and further, we don't have our printer set up because C1 plays with it too much.)

Last but not least, I found out about a extended summer program for kids on the autism spectrum only to find out two weeks after inquiring about it that the program is filled to capacity. (But, I was told I can fill out paperwork for next year...) Sigh.

I thought that moving to a more urbanized area would be better for us in terms of medical care, services and opportunities. There was a limited number of opportunities in my former and much smaller hometown, but I (with the help of a good friend who also has a son on the spectrum) was able to tap into them without difficulty.

Do I need to meet the right person to help me? Do I need to keep trying? How long will it take to get everything that we need? Will C1 suffer from the delay in medical care?

These are all questions I would not be asking if we had not moved. But the reality is that we did move and now we have to start over in finding support and resources. I feel a little lost and am struggling emotionally. However, we moved to a beautiful area and I take comfort in that. I also take comfort that my son can also appreciate natural beauty, like that of a rainbow, or particularly, a rainbow over a lake...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catching Up...

It's been almost a month since we've moved 2,411 miles from the state of Michigan to the state of Washington. Life has been chaotic to say the least. In fact we went Southeast (Athens, OH) before going Northwest for my niece's wedding the week we moved.

Both of my boys were ring bearers in the wedding and did a great job. They also did a wonderful job on their first flight although C1 had some trouble behaving in the three airports we were in. The moving sidewalks and the escalators were too attractive to him. He just wanted to do his own thing when we had specific places to go.

Life is getting back to normal now although we still have some boxes sitting around and are expecting my husband's parents on Monday for an extended stay. All in all, it's nice to get back in our own beds after sleeping in sleeping bags for a week in the house we are renting. It took a seven days for our stuff to catch up with us via a moving company. The day our stuff came was the same day the two boys started school. So yes, that day was especially crazy.

As for school, I think I was way more nervous than they were. I wasn't so nervous for my seven year old who makes friends easily. I was nervous for C1, who is in the fourth grade and on the autism spectrum. I wasn't sure how he would be placed or if he would take to his new school. To help with the transition, I spent about four hours (two, two-hour trips) talking to his team, which includes his teachers, therapists, the school psychologist, the school nurse, and the principal. I accompanied C1 on a field trip, which happened to occur on his second day of school. (C1 loves field trips and especially liked the one to the Mt. Baker theater in Bellingham one because it featured a musical group, Scrap Arts Music.)

So yes, so far all is going well in terms of school. C2 is doing beautifully as expected. C1, according to his two teachers is doing well too. I hope it's not a grace period. We've switched schools before and a lot of times there is a calm before a storm.

The school arrangement is something new for C1. He's spending part of the day in a regular education fourth grade classroom and part of the day in a resource room. In the previous school district he also spent some time in a regular education room, but the majority of the time was in a self-contained classroom for mildly impaired students. To say that C1 didn't like being in a special education room is a understatement. So I'm hoping and praying that this new arrangement will be a great blessing.

In terms of making friends in our new community, both boys have more friends than I do. I haven't really had time to do that yet, though I've met some other nice moms. Next on my to-do list is to find a good pediatrician. With C1's health issues, I am hoping that I can find a good one.

I hear it takes about a year to settle into a new location. I moved five times in fifteen years so I believe that is more or less true. So far I'm impressed with how well both boys are adjusting. I'm especially proud of C1. Transitions can be difficult for a person on the autism spectrum and he has done really well with all of the changes. I hope he continues to thrive here, along with C2.

My husband likes his new job, although he says it's like catching a new movie halway through and trying to catch up with the story line. It's a notch up on the career ladder for him. He's the associate dean (sort of second in charge) of the academic library for the local campus in our new city.

As for me, I'm still a little overwhelmed and am dealing with some homesickness. However, I'm taking in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and am enjoying living in what I consider my dream home. In time, this new place will feel like home to me.

On an endnote: here is something to remember when times get tough whether it's during a big change in life or a living through a meltdown with a loved on a spectrum:

"perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim"

It is Latin and means: Be patient and tough: someday this pain will be useful to you.

Yes, this change has been hard, but it's been a worthwhile journey. Everything that has happened to me thus far in my life has made me a stronger better person. That includes raising a child with special needs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

World Autism Day

Happy World Autism Day!!! If you have autism or have a family member with autism, please let us all know what part of the world you are from by leaving the name of your country in the comment section. Thank you! : )

Note: My family and I have just moved about 2000 miles from Michigan to a state on the West Coast of the United States (which is why I haven't blogged much lately. ) We're adapting and enjoying our new environment, but it's sort of like being in a whole new world because we've never lived anywhere outside of the Midwest before.