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.”

Continue reading

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!

Celebrating a First- Friendship

I think it is important for me to share some of the “firsts” that we celebrate with Tristan.  We never know when one will occur. Life with autism is full of surprises. Enjoy a “first” from our home!

One Friday night in May, Brian and I were making dinner.  Then we heard a knock on the door, tap tap tap.  We both looked at the front door, and through the window, we could see a child standing there.

Continue reading

Secret Code Part 2

When our 12-year-old son, A.T., joined our family in November, it was quite an adjustment.  A.T. was not familiar with autism.  We have tried our best in teaching him what autism is and who Tristan is as a person.  We know this has not been an easy adjustment.  However, the other day A.T. shared his views, and I was laughing so hard.  A.T. was sharing how he is trying hard to understand Tristan’s communications.  Here is A.T.’s insight:

Image result for secret code

Continue reading