Saturday, September 3, 2011

Glimpses of Hope

It's raining out right now - the sky just opened up and it started to pour. Makes for a sleepy Saturday...well, allergy drugs can do that, too!

Paul didn't work much this week for his regular job. It's that time of year. However, he ended up getting an unexpected furnace install job this week. And the deck addition/ramp he's been doing for our neighbor has been taking him longer than expected. This morning he's up in Des Moines checking on a couple of other small side jobs he hasn't had time for yet. I'm feeling thankful - God is meeting our needs! Paul and Will have to get Will's car going this week (it's hoisted up at our neighbor's in his garage) and Paul suspects that they are going to get back to furnace checks soon at work, which will mean normal 40 hour weeks. Too much going on! His knee has been dealing him fits lately, too. I have a fuzzy feeling that next spring we're going to be visiting the surgeon about that one. He's had trouble off and on the last year and a half or so with that knee. That's the same one he had the operation on in '92.

School is back in full swing now. Will hasn't gotten many days in because of helping Paul, but he'll make those up later. Actually, David has been helping quite a bit, too. We had an interesting situation this week at school with Ben. I won't go into all the details because I already facebooked about this to some of my friends and I've told a bunch of others already. And I hate to be redundant! But anyway, Ben has become aware of some of the emotional needs of one of the students in his self-contained classroom. This little guy is a 6th grader and this is his first year in a new building, room, and with a new teacher. He's having a difficult time adjusting. Ben has mentioned that to me several times since the start of the school year. And then my jaw about hit the floor this week when Ben told me, "That reminds me of when I was in kindergarten and I was so scared." One of the classic traits of autism is an inability to empathize with others. But Ben was not only able to bring up long-ago emotion, but was able to connect that with how his classmate might be feeling. So, he and I talked about ways that he could possibly be a friend to this new little guy.

I was so excited by this turn of events that I just had to say something to Ben's aide. She and I send a notebook back and forth every day, so we can keep each other appraised of Ben's day and night and any concerns that pop up. The thing with special education is that there is such a shroud of privacy around each student. And that's good for the most part. But it made me feel a bit trepidacious (is that a word?) in broaching the subject. But I just had to! So I started this note - "It's probably none of my business, but...." And I just told his aide that Ben was observing what was going on and had a desire to help. I didn't know if there was really anything he could do, but I wanted them to be aware. Well, the next day, I got Ben's notebook back and his aide wrote me this long note about how they took my suggestion and they started having the two boys take walks together. She said the little guy never cried once all day long (and he had been crying every day) and several times that day they had found him with his head just resting on Ben's shoulders. He finally felt safe! She told me yesterday that the same thing happened again.

I'm just thrilled beyond words. I remember how two years ago at this time I was in real despair over Ben. I could not envision a future for him that didn't involve some sort of incarceration (seriously!). My days were SO difficult with him. And now - I am filled with all kinds of hope for his future! I'm just praising God here!

Ben is involved with bowling this fall for Special Olympics. Monday I took him down to Knoxville for his first practice. A bowling alley there opens up their lanes for practice for the kids, which I think is so neat. I won't have to take him every week. His coach has a daughter in the Olympics who attends the same school as Ben so she's going to pick the two of them up and take them and then I'll just have to retrieve Ben. This is going to be interesting because Will has games on Monday nights and then in Oct. Paul and I are starting some Monday night classes in Ankeny, which is located a good hour away from Knoxville. Agh....

Ben also happens to be drug-free at the moment. That was never really one of our goals with him; it just kind of happened this summer. He's been taking Namenda for a couple of years now. I saw changes right off the bat with the drug and then has his dosage was adjusted downward, the effects didn't seem to be that great. But his dr. didn't want to adjust them upward again. However, he started school a year ago and that did a lot to improve those behaviors that we were wanting the Namenda to take care of. Well, this spring Ben's insurance changed and because of that we were going to need to get letters from Ben's teachers stating that they felt he needed the drug in order to function before his insurance would agree to cover it. I'm willing to do that if I need to, but I haven't been convinced of a real need for the drug for the past 6 months or so. So, we decided to just let it go for now. If his behavior or learning spirals downward then we'll do what we need to to get him back on it. And then he's been on a very low dose of Risperdone for the past couple of years because of some aggression toward his brothers. That has totally disappeared so I told the psychiatrist I didn't see a need for Ben to take that anymore, either. So, we don't even have to go back to this guy unless Ben needs to go back on his meds. Anyway, it's all interesting. I figured Ben would be in psychiatric care the rest of his life.

Ben also has somebody new to work with him. Her name is Deana and her card says "counselor." She is going to be coming into our home every Tuesday afternoon and will be teaching Ben safety skills and she'll be teaching him the basics of meal planning, shopping, and cooking. This is part of the services he gets with his new ID waiver through the state. She can also provide respite care if we need it. It's all part of what they call "Supported Community Living" training. His future is on the way!

Sam is running around this morning with a football, declaring, "I Iowa Hawkeye!" The first game of the Hawkeye season just started ten minutes ago and it's on in the kitchen. Fall has officially started!

Last week I got started on my Christmas baking and I was explaining to Sam that that was why he couldn't eat all the treats I had just made - they were for Christmas. His eyes got big and he exclaimed, "You mean, we're going to have Kissmas again?!" Ha, ha, ha...

I got to out with my friend Melissa Thursday night. I needed that! It had been a busy 3 months since we had our last girls' night. But we behaved ourselves and were both home by 11 pm. I think that's because we both have kiddos to get up for school early the next morning! I'll see her again tonight because we're having a picnic at church (indoors, I hope) for the youth group and their families.

Will injured his shoulder last night during the game (which they lost - they are 3 for 3 now!). He's holding it pretty close to his chest today.

Well, I need to get moving on my to-do list. You won't want to miss my next post. It's going to be about some pretty big changes God seems to be leading our family into. I'm finally free to talk about that. I'd write it all out today but I've got too much other stuff I have to get done. It'll happen next week, I promise!

No comments:

Post a Comment