11 May 2011

Ah! Thanks for all the comments on the last post. Yes, hitting a ball is glorious! And who would have believed that I would write that. I have lived completely anti-sport, and Cheshire did not belong to any team of tossers, hitters, catchers, or kickers. I had been to a few kid games before Cheshire was ready for them, and the scene just didn't jell with me. And Cheshire didn't care. She didn't seem particularly enamored with balls herself.

But now . . .

Thanks for the suggestion of the Challenge League or Special Olympics. One of my neighbors printed out some information about our local Challenge League. I will check it out. And to carry on with the ball theme -- this evening, Julia and I took her soccer ball outside and kicked it around a bit. We were very close and on the sidewalk since the grass was soaking after heavy rain storms today, but we very carefully passed the ball back and forth. I have hopes for a physical summer -- being outside and having fun. And now, maybe putting balls into the mix.

Yes, Traci, those pants! Those are the pants that Julia agreed to buy and wear about a month ago. We took them to Disney and she wore them there. She has worn them at least once a week since then. Not jeans yet, but summer kackies don't feel too bad.

Wednesday is our day without therapists, and although I was thinking of going out to buy a bat and some balls, it was stormy and Julia doesn't like storms. We made our play plan -- she wrote it out -- and followed it.

When we got to math, Julia wanted to do the math coloring book, but I overrode her choice (which she allowed) and wanted to try some straight addition. I wanted to see what she was understanding these days. Most of the time, in fact, all of the time, when Julia does math, she is fully supported. Everything is done with manipulatives or pictures, preferably dinosaurs, and there are many clues to help her along. But what about straight math facts.

Well, she can't do them. Not even the 1's. Then, I tried doing counting with numbers missing. She can sort of do them up to 10, although she wants help to make sure her "guesses" are correct before writing them down. She can look at a number and say what comes next up to 20, but not what comes before. She is counting correctly up to at least 30, but she can't say what comes after 22.

Although I was patient with her, Julia knew that she was not pleasing me. When we finished math, she climbed into my arms and we hugged for a long time. She told me that the work was hard. I told her that I knew how hard it was but that I believed that she had a good brain that that one day, she would be able to do her numbers.

Julia did not ask why she couldn't do numbers. I don't know if she realizes yet that there are things that other kids in her class do that she cannot, or that she acts in ways that are different from her age peers. She does not seem to recognize her differences, and I wonder when and if she will. This lack of awareness is one of her more autistic-like characteristics, along with her lack of social ability. I know kids of her age and younger who are on the spectrum and who have that awareness. And I worry that she will never mature to that point.

Even though, Julia did not ask, I talked to her a bit about how she was not taken care of when she was in China. She, who watched so carefully the way that Noah was taken care of this past weekend -- Noah being 1 and doted on by parents, grandparents, and assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins. She loved the way the people took care of Noah and loved the way the Noah responded. This she sees and this she can talk a bit about. So, I told her that when she was Noah's age she did not have a mother taking care of her. And I told her that because no one took care of her, she did not do the playing and the working that Noah was doing now. And because she did not play or work, her brain needed to do a lot of work now that she was a grown up girl (Julia's term for herself). I don't know how much, if anything, that Julia understood, but I felt the need to say it to her today. She was not shocked by what I said, and did not react badly. I don't know if it is imagining too much understanding to say that she seemed to take it in.

We have come so far, and it is not like I see an end to Julia's progress. She moves along. But I wonder, I wonder all the time how far she will go. Will she just remain 5 years or so behind her age peers? But will she be like a 10 year old when she is 15 and like a 15 year old when she is 20. I would take that. How many people mature much beyond 20? I can wait for maturity. But what if, what if she just stops one day? What if she never realizes that she is different? or that other people do things she cannot? No real blessing to discover those things, but what of that curse of ignorance?

There is more to say, but enough for tonight.


Chasing Starshine said...

Who knows how Julia's lag between her and her chronological peers will change as they all age, but she herself will not stop changing and growing! I am still seeing new things in my 24-year-old sister (also on the spectrum, with other disabilities as well) on a regular basis. It is lovely to witness. (You might be interested in a blog post I wrote about a visit with her: http://chasingstarshine.blogspot.com/2011/04/two-of-kind.html)

Cheshire said...

hahaha i hate balls.