Back to the Toilet Paper…

Well, we can tell Tristan is feeling good! We are pleased that he is doing well. (It has been many months and doctor appointments to get to this level of success!) Some signs and behaviors seem to rise when he is happy.

First of all, he has no concept of the value of a roll of toilet paper during these supply chain issues! He unrolled one roll and tried flushing it down the toilet. When I went to tell Brian during my conversation, Tristan ran to the second bathroom. He tried unrolling and flushing a double roll. Immediately, I said, “No, Tristan, we are not doing that.” His reaction was to smile. He fully understands spoken words.


Next, he found an “important paper” in his bedroom. He ran to the kitchen grabbed a marker and scissors. Then he drew a house and quickly cut it out, and taped it on the patio door. He thought he had found an essential paper that he should not have had. It was actually a scrap piece of paper! The artist in him returned. Contentment has swept over him again.

Enjoy the lighter side of autism from our family!

Growth!

It is hard to believe how life unfolded for everyone during the pandemic. Everyone was affected. We traveled to Tristan’s group home to visit for one hour every other week. I shipped many toys to help with boredom. Then we played during our visits. I found this really cool toy with locks and keys. It was a matching ABC-type game. One day Tristan surprised us. He started putting the ABCs in order! No prompting, just on his own. Brian and I sat in amazement. Having a non-verbal child makes it difficult to understand what concepts he grasps. Apparently, he knows how to put the alphabet in order.

Every day is a new gift. Having a special needs child makes life slow down a bit, and enjoy the unique gifts that unfold before your eyes. This was one of those days.
I then turned to Brian and said, “Maybe he does understand the other languages when he switches his pre-school videos to a different language.” But, of course, we will never know. Another question to ask him when we are in heaven.

Enjoy another view of the lighter side of autism from our family!

This product is found on lakeshorelearning.com called Alphabet Learning Locks.

Finally…The Mystery Word Solved!

On all our visits with Tristan since May, he has been trying to tell us something. It kind of sounds like “uncle.” In fact, the first weekend in May, we took him to a hotel for a shorter overnight visit. He would repeat this word over and over. We were not sure what the exact word was, so we did our best to distract him. It didn’t work out great, but what else could we do? Finally, I texted one of my brothers and asked if he would do a zoom call because Tristan keeps saying, “uncle.”

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Communication Explosion!–Never in a million years…

We enjoyed another successful communication weekend with Tristan. Only this time, he reached a new level in communication that we have never seen. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

He wanted to talk about his favorite things over and over and over, etc. So I took his tablet communication device and build a page with his favorite things. I made a schedule, so he knew “what was next.” He loved it so much he kept going back to it. Then he started verbalizing all these items. These are the preferred “conversations” with Tristan. Motorcycle ride. Mc Donald’s – and his entire usual order of chicken nuggets, French fries, BBQ sauce, chocolate milk. Church. Guitar. Cooking. Making Pizzas. YouTube. Movie Theatre – and his snack items which consist of popcorn, pop, and chips and cheese. If Tristan’s device was not right next to him, he would sign his thoughts. If we were not correct, he would repeat his word with a more clear annunciation. If we still didn’t understand, then he would find the button. This repetition went on for the complete 48-hour visit during waking hours.


At one point, Brian and I were trying to talk about something important. We finally had to tell Tristan to wait a minute; it is our turn to speak. Never in a million years would I have thought this would happen!


The other behavior we noticed is even though he wanted to talk about all these things, he didn’t necessarily want them right at this moment. He just wanted us to know he was thinking about them. So this was definitely an area of growth!
I kind of forgot how much sign language he has absorbed over the years. I had to quickly jog my memory when he was signing. He remembered words we have not used in a while.


Enjoy the lighter side of autism and a reminder to never keep up on communication skills! You just may be surprised someday. (Here is a picture of him making pizza’s for lunch. He loves cooking activities.)

Gotcha Day Celebration!

I can not believe it was at the airport on June 4th that Tristan was handed to us. In the adoption world, this is known as a “Gotcha Day!” So… June 4th is special family day for us. Many years ago…We were about to embark on a parenting journey that we could have never imagined. Interesting. Lively. Heart-wrenching. Abounding in miracles. Empathy. Compassion.

This year we took Tristan on a day trip to Sandy Acres Clydesdales for a VIP Farm Tour. It was a lot of fun. Tristan got to feed the goats and the miniature donkeys slices of carrots. Tristan played on the goats’ toys! There was a toddler-sized slide that he kept eyeing. I told him he was too big. He still inched his body toward it and stood at the step. I told the owner, “Tristan thinks he is a toddler.” She gave him permission to slide down. However, his legs extended to the bottom. We all laughed. Down the slide, he went. (Don’t tell him he can’t do something! He will find a way.) Tristan seemed to enjoy petting the Clydesdale horses. In the end, we went into the barn and brushed a horse. Tristan was content with this activity. It was great to have a private VIP tour—lots of good family memories.

The Moment I Knew I Was In Trouble…

Thinking back to the days when Tristan was younger, our primary goal for the day was to keep him safe. Many times that was a challenge, to say the least. To begin with, we were always trying to stay one step ahead of him, and sometimes we became one step behind! Brian and I would have to come up with a new solution. Forget safety locks/devices for children on the market; he would outwit them. Locks on doors were a big topic of conversation. I remember the first time I knew I was in trouble raising Tristan. I had someone over-purchasing an item. We were chatting at the kitchen table.
We had the eye and hook locks on all the very tops of the doors. Tristan was about two years old. Tristan quietly grabbed the broom and walked over to my bedroom door. Suddenly, he erupted in laughter. Immediately, I looked over to where he was standing as I sat at the kitchen table. My mouth dropped open. He used the broom to unlatch the lock. I looked at this stranger and said, “Oh my goodness. I can not believe he just did that.” When it is a problem for Tristan to solve, his problem-solving skills are off the charts. Which means it becomes a problem for Mom & Dad to solve. This challenge played over and over as he continued to grow and develop. Looking back, I now conclude that many times this was a game to him. Tristan has sure made our life more full and fun! Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!

It Never Fails…

No, Nope, Negative, Exclamation, Never

In these cold winter months, our activities are limited when Tristan is home on the weekends.  We have discovered taking him to the movie theatre is enjoyable for the three of us.  We pick kids movies with songs.  Even so, we know he is only paying attention to portions of the movie and that is fine.  We know his ultimate goal is to empty the popcorn tub and consume his pop!  We have begun requesting smaller portions to out smart him.  One thing never fails, Continue reading

Straight From Tristan’s Heart

Yesterday we had a challenging day.  He was just not content the entire day, and I know he can not help this.  Lately, he has been more verbal on and off throughout the day.

Image result for heart

 

He has been repeating the same thoughts.  One of his thoughts is about wanting McDonald’s.  At the end of the day; I tucked him in bed.  I said, “Tristan what can we thank Jesus for?”  I ask questions throughout the day.  Most of the time I don’t get a response.  This time, he did respond. This was his prayer, “Dear Jesus thank you for McDonald’s.”

Now we did not have McDonald’s!  I guess I know what he is thinking about; even his prayers are about McDonald’s.

Enjoy another healthy dose of laughter from our home!