Monday, April 26, 2010

To Date: BY FAR our PROUDEST moment as caden's parents!!!

The moment i read the flyer from caden's teacher about participating in Special Olympics, i was mushy-gushy inside. Jared and I saved the date and prepared to be entertained. Little did we know what was to come... As we were waiting for the parade to begin, the announcer said, "I need Caden Anderson"..then named two other girls. My heart stopped. What do they want with my Caden????? we waited for a few, then curiosity killed us enough that Jared hopped the fence, marched across the field and found his son to bring to the hostess. she explained that Caden had been chosen out of a thousand participants--kinder thru high school--to lead the Pledge of Allegiance for the Opening Ceremony. (does Caden even know the pledge???) Apparently he does. He performed it "flawlessly" as the local paper reported. so with his unique cadence and emphasis he was TOO adorable as one of the youngest kids to do that. his teacher nominated him even though other teachers said they dont choose the young ones to lead the pledge. they don't know the memorization skills of my 6 year old. the best part was the repeated bows he gave to his crowd as the applause poured out. he even gave a high five during his stint of affection and gratitude. he's still bowing at this point, if i had to put a number on the amount, i'd say around 30 ish. jared had to wave him over while the announcer continued on, or he might still be there bowing. what a CRACK UP!!! the torch lighting was cool, i found it funny that they immediately extinguised it. saftey first with this crowd. this was Jared and my view for the events. after his big show he participated in the softball toss, the standing long jump--in which he was a total pro (all that jumping around when he's self-stimulating paid off) and then he finished the day with a 50 meter run. the proud daddy taping from the stands, mommy couldnt get enough hugs, and just to be with all those special needs kids was a huge life-changing event for us. there's not enough gratitude and love i can express to the teachers and aides that tirelessly give and try and give some more, to lovingly help these challenging children. we thoroughly enjoyed watching the similarities, and just feeling that acceptance and pride we have for our special son.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a proud mommy on her tiny soap box

April is Autism Awareness Month and it seems i've been bombarded with this topic lately. So i would like to express my feelings on this "epidemic" and try to avoid getting too preachy or opinionated. Within my circles of family, friends, and facebookers i know of 8 families with children on the autism spectrum. The current stat is 1 in 144 children are diagnosed with some sort of this pervasive developmental delay. When jared and i saw some points of concern with caden at age 3, the scary "A-word" never came to mind. As his speech plateaued for over a year and his social behaviors were extremely difficult, the exact problem was still undetected. We had begun the assessment process, nothing clear came out of it except a speech delay (thank you very little). I will never forget that day at church when a good friend becky threw the word out there. I sheepishly brought it up to Heather, and her confirmation of her concern reignited our efforts to find an answer. It's now been a year and a half since Caden was given the label of High Functioning Autism. there are days where i'm still in denial--thinking of his future, questioning, will he... what if he...i'll be sad if he never gets to... all go thru my head and pierce my heart. which is why i can not dwell in that place. EVERY day i get a good morning from him and we have our huggy moment as we wait for his little bus to take him to his special school. EVERY day he cracks us up with his memorized scripted comments and questions. and EVERY day i am in wonderment at how his brain processes so differently than mine. Kendra the big sister said, "it's ok, that's just Caden being autistic". With the unknown causes, medical ambiguity, and even more diverse theories of "cures" and treatments, it is indeed complex and overwhelming to formaulate a plan on how to manage this for him. At the same time Jared and I feel very relaxed, at ease even, with how our son is. It's ok that he climbs the counters, cuts open his bag of snack,and microwaves his pizza rolls. Since that day I called Rosie looking for advice and help for a private preschool till now, he is a COMPLETELY different kid. I didnt expect him to put together his own creative thoughts, to ask appropriate questions, or to follow ANY sort of schedule. He reads like a champ, attends church and classes, plays with a few kids spuratically and can conform to most social situations. Roller skating, birthday parites, the park are all do-able for him now. I'll get sucked in for hours watching parents' videos of their stories. I keep up on the info, stay involved with the local support group, he's getting both his speech and occupational therapy, and we are participating in the big Autism Walk in June. There's always new studies, laws, ideas, and hints that are available and helpful. Strangely enough, I feel lucky to be part of this group and share this awareness with others. I was recently asked if there was a "cure" for autism would i want that for Caden. I had a really hard time answering that, of course I want the best for my child, but my heart tells me EVERY day that Caden is who he is for a VERY special reason, he is mine and i love him for it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

all this and its not even easter yet

the kids are out of school, first day off chef caden and daddy made pancakes for everyone. daddy was eager to start demo in kendra's room so my FAVORITE young men came to smash up the room. she's bunking with raylee and its truly brought them closer. they are both very nurturing and sweet sisters. the easter extravaganza started on tuesday when the kiddos received invites to "grannie annie's easter party". they were so EGGScited. the party day arrived, raylee was ready to go to the park for the easter egg hunt--that was last week. the party was at our house. once the dyes were out, all was well. after making "peep-sicles" chocolate covered marshmellows--yum. we got them all tied up and ready for, "put the eggs in the basket" game. they all loved being blindfoled we let them wander around for a while then played the game. we finished up with an egg hunt in the back yard, ate lots of goodies and a pretty tasty lunch. the easter bunny is coming tonite so the celebrating isn't quite over but they've already had a blast thanks to grannie annie. this is just my handsome guy with his new hair cut. just in time to go back to school. their break went fast and it was nice to just chill and do the normal stuff with 'em and have them around more.