Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dinosaurs Are Boring

Dinosaurs are boring.  There.  I said it.  And for that matter, so is anything to do with Outer Space.  And you know what else?  I hated the movie Titanic.

It's okay if we don't all like the same things, keep the same interests, wear the same clothes, watch the same t.v. shows.  How boring the world would be if everyone thought the same thoughts, wished the same wishes, had the same favourites, dreamed the same dreams.

I remember when A. was first diagnosed, how I held it as a real goal to expand his areas of interest.  I was so concerned that my little boy, freshly turned 3, was only really interested in trucks.  Looking back, it would have been a good thing if someone had taken me aside and told me to smarten up.  But, I was confused, overwhelmed, and perhaps overly concerned.  Unfortunately, the early intervention team did nothing to console me, they actually thought this was a legitimate goal.  "Dinosaurs" became one of his "programs" and time was actually scheduled each day for him to play dinosaurs.  Off I trotted to the store and bought every variety of toy dinosaur there was.  Of course, once Aiden learned all of their names, he quickly lost interest.

Two years later, and two years wiser, I can clearly see what a pathetic goal this was.  I have, instead, watched as he naturally developed new interests, simply by being exposed to different subjects, and the world in general. 

And now, I wonder, so what if he never had developed new interests?  What would have been so catastrophic about a little boy loving trucks more than any other toy in the world?  Nothing.  Not a thing.

It's okay if dinosaurs are boring.  It's okay if your child, on or off the spectrum doesn't like the newest craze, or the topic that is deemed "typical" for their age group and gender.  Who cares?!  Be wary of goals that are set by others as important for your child...  Let's lose the goal of having our kids blend in.  Instead, let's focus on developing our whole child, and appreciating their areas of interests...letting them be windows into engaging play, meaningful conversation, and use their interests to help them develop and learn other things.

And while I'm fessing up...I might as well admit to this too.  I don't watch any of the medical drama series on t.v.  Not the one.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Year of My Yellow Apple

Today maks the first anniversary of my sitting down to the computer and, with great trepidation, starting this blog.  I felt in so many ways like a person talking to herself in public...certain that nobody would be listening, but still feeling the compunction to express myself.

Writing this has taken a lot of nerve for me, I feel like I am wearing my heart on my sleeve.  But I am glad I took the risk.  I have made some great connections with other "autism parents", and I do, very much feel less alone in our daily struggles, and celebrations.  I don't talk about all of our issues, but when I do share, I always feel like the listening ear is a kind one.

A lot has changed in a year.  In my original post, my fear over begininning homeschooling  almost had a pulse of its own.  Now, I see us as a homeschooling family, very much connected in a homeschooling community.  It still terrifies me, but it is doable, and we are doing it.  And yes, I am very, very proud to be doing  what is best for our child, even though it means a lot (like, a lot) of hard work, and many sacrifices.

I still feel like this blog is new, lots on it could be better.  I see all the fancy banners my fellow bloggers have, and I have no idea how they created them.  My little yellow apple pic is still slighty off centre, but I've decided that there is symbolism in that, so it's okay.  I have recieved some blog awards from fellow bloggers, but I have no idea how to "pick up" my award, so I haven't.  Sorry.  I'm not technologically gifted, so this is where my blog may fall a little short.  Oops.

But mostly, it's been a year fillled with great feedback from a lot of people.  So, to all of you who have taken the time to send me a note, either here on this blog, or through facebook, I offer you a heartfelt thanks.  All of your kind words have been a huge help to me in getting the courage to write these posts.  To other autism parents who have taken the time to tell me that they could relate through their own feelings and experiences, you have made me feel less alone.  And, to anyone who has told me that they look at kids' behaviours a little differently now if they see a child act up in public, a gigantic thank you to you, because that, is essence is the point of this blog - awareness.  Our kids aren't bad, they have struggles.  Thank you for recognizing that.

Now... here begins year 2 of My Yellow Apple.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Boy's Eye View

It all started as a simple Kindergarten social studies outcome.  We had to examine landmarks in our community.  Well, our community being St. John's, I knew there'd be no lack of wonderful architecture.  What I didn't know was that Aiden would absolutely fall in love with the buildings...and subsequently many other world landmarks.

A common family activity for us now is to hop in the van, and drive around town, stopping at all of himself's favourite spots.  A number one favourite is the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, quickly followed by The Kirk, the Colonial Building, Government House and the Rooms.  It's actually a lovely way to spend an evening, all of us together, stopping by Tim Horton's on the way for some coffee, and going for a little drive around.

 The Basilica

The Kirk

Colonial Building

I can't help but think how cute it would be if he could give guided tours of the city, he knows EVERYWHERE by name...if it weren't for those pesky child labour laws. We've exhausted the local library's books on St. John's, and we're now moving on to Big Ben, Eifel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge....the list goes on and on.  I didn't realize that I would learn so much during homeschool!

It's so nice to see a new interest develop, and amazing to watch the amount of information that a bright little mind can suck up.  It's also been fun to watch the many drawings of these buildings that he's been pumping out, with an amazing eye for detail.  Not to mention the many renderings in Lego and wooden blocks.  Future artist? Future architect?  Future engineer?  Who knows.......the options are as limitless as this city is beautiful.