|Max and Maya at his social group.|
There have been a lot of moist eyes around our house lately. We find ourselves tearing up on a regular basis -- tears of joy, of relief, of being a proud parent. Max has had a tremendous month. Starting senior kindergarten was no big deal. After an initial melt down on day one (along with several other kids), he settled right in. This year, instead of reading his daily journal and seeing messages like "Max had a hard day" I get reports from his EA telling me that he is now sitting at circle with his peers, interacting with kids his age in the playground, and was able to stay for the entire music class. I haven't had a single call to come pick him up early (and when I arrive to pick him up he is usually still sitting with his friends eating lunch). It has been a joy to see that all of last year's hard work pay off and to know that we made the right decision for Max by integrating him into public school.
|Max and Maya as babies.|
One of the key factors in Max having success at school has been a social group that he has as part of his ABA therapy. Every Sunday morning, he, and several other children (a mix of kids on the spectrum and neurotypical kids) participate in a group that is facilitated by Max's therapists. In this group he is learning how to communicate and play with his peers appropriately. We are seeing the benefits at school and at home. Our friends, Jen and Brad, bring their daughter Maya to the group every week so that he has a peer his age to bond with. (I already had a special place in my heart for Maya because I took care of her for a few months when she was a baby. Now I love her even more for what she is doing to help Max.) He has also started talking a lot more, though language is still used primarily to tell us what he wants and doesn't want (but that is such huge progress since last year and we are excited about it nonetheless).
|One of my favourite picture of Max and Maya.|
The other piece of exciting news is that last week Max was approved for another 6 months of funding through Erinoak. While this doesn't pay for all of his therapy (it covers approximately 50%), it certainly helps. The psychologist who reviewed Max's progress was really excited to see how far his has come in the last 6 months and was very positive about Max in general. She even told me that he is one of the higher functioning kids in the funding program. It's interesting to see Max through other people's eyes. She pointed out that most of the kids who receive therapy directly from Erinoak did not have the benefit of early intervention like Max. He started behaviour, speech, occupational and music therapy at 32 months of age. It's easy to get hung up on how much he still has to learn, but as his Clinical Psychologist pointed out to me, "He's only five".
|Max wants to go to sleep, but Cameron won't leave him alone.|
While I'm on the bragging train, I also want to add that this past week, when Cameron and I traveled out to be BC to see my folks, Max was just fine. In the past he has had disrupted sleep and increased behaviour when I have been gone for any period of time. This time he seemed to enjoy having time without his little sister and getting one-on-one time with his dad. I can't imagine why...
One last cool development is that Max is going to start using an iPad as part of his ABA therapy. The geek in me loves this, but I'm also excited that Max will be using technology as well. When I think back to the little boy who had to wear a helmet at daycare because he would bang his head on the ground when he got upset, and I see how far he has come, I am filled with optimism about the future. This isn't an easy journey, but it is the most fulfilling experience I've ever had.