Wednesday, November 14, 2007
What do we say about Jaxon...???.... He is a great kid, and a fun addition to our family. Many of you know, and some of you don't know, that within the last year, Jaxon has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, which in short is an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. (Don't you LOVE acronyms?) ANYWAY, what does that mean? It means that endless hours of research, analysis, testing, retesting, and schooling has been added to his 4 year old life, and my daily schedule.
Really, I shouldn't complain. In all, Jaxon has a great prognosis. He doesn't disable our lives like many children with ASD do to their families. We have minor issues that we deal with that many people don't really even notice.(Unless they have never met him before- (i.e. the UPS man that he invites in to play or eat a meal eventhough he is only there to deliver a box...) As a matter of fact, we really have it easy compared to most. However, that does not dimish the hours of research and testing that it takes to make sure he is getting the right educational, and social training. After 12 months of working on it, I feel like we finally have it under control. What does that mean?
That means that Jaxon leaves for school at 8:00 in the morning, and attends a special program for Autistic Children that allows them to be integrated into a pre-school with "normally" developing children for 2 1/2 hours, and then they have an intervention program for 1 1/2 hours after preschool, and then he gets to come home around 2:00 after a 30 minute bus ride home. On Mondays and Tuesdays he is home for about 1 1/2 hours until we head to the University for the ABA Therapy Preschool- yes this is preschool #2 for the day- (A specific type of Autism Therapy) which is a preschool run by the Special Education Department on campus and allows the students there to have a hands on learning experience in their field. We are there for 1 1/2 hours both nights. On Wednesdays, Abby has dance, but on Thursdays Jaxon is back to Speech Therapy where we have found a "Play Therapy" group that will work on his social skills, and playing with other children.
It is a big week, EVERY week for Jaxon, but overall, we feel blessed and watched over as we try our best to give Jaxon a shot at being integrated into the Public School System. For children with Autism, this is possible with some additional "training" on how to interact in social situations and function with peers. It takes chilren with autism more work to interact socially, follow instructions and focus on tasks. These things just don't come naturally.
At times, I feel guilty that my other two children live their lives around Jaxon's school schedule, and over the past month, I have spent 10 hours in Dr.'s offices while we wait for Jaxon to be analyized, watched, tested, and assessed. However, I feel great success in his placement, and I know that we are doing what is best for him, and he will probably be able to live a normal life. (That is the hope anyway)
I find the most joy in his successes, and fabulous personality. His teachers in the AIM (morning) preschool love him, and push him in all areas of development. We LOVE them, and feel so blessed to have them in his life. What is evern better is that they LOVE Jaxon... (really, what is not to love) and they want to see his success and make sure he reaches his fullest potential.
The best is when we see Jaxon make great strides in understanding, and development. Tonight, while we were reading the Book of Mormon Illustrated stories Peter pointed to a picture of someone being baptized and asked Jaxon...'What are they doing Jaxon?' to which he responded.... washing... (He gets asked these type of questions a million times a day by teachers trying to drill him in comprehension...i.e. He is wearing gloves..why? Because it is cold.) Anyway, Peter informs him that they are being BAPTIZED, and a look of understanding crosses his face as he says, yeah.... BATH-TIZED. - It does seem like some kind of super- hero action bath.. doesn't it? I grinned at him, and winked... and he quickly shot me a perfect wink back... That makes it all worth it.