Immi is EIGHT years old today, we celebrated her birthday this weekend. I seriously can not believe how fast time flies on by without my permission. In the past year, Immi triumphed over many disadvantages that came bundled (in otherwise what I see as generally positive package) with autism. She is continuing to sparkle, finding her own place among her peers while being true to herself — not an easy accomplishment even for the rest of us. Happy Birthday Immi!
What Immi wanted to do on her birthday was to make valentine’s cards for her classmates. Making 60+ total between two kids and a few extra by Lucian is a lot of colorful mess!
Oskar waits patiently for Immi to come home from school in her room. We call him ‘service cat’ because he is infinitely patient with kids and always makes himself available to Immi every time she needs comfort.
I would spend my entire day indoor if I’m left to my own devices. But because kids are making full use of the backyard I end up gardening while watching kids play. I guess I got myself a new hobby by default. Herbs and vegetable starts are growing well, I planted some seeds as well. I do love having fresh herbs easily available!
The play structure that came with the house, I don’t know that it is something we would have thought put it there. But as it turns out, it is essential for our kids. It occurs to me watching them play, that Immi is basically getting to do things that she only did once a week at her occupational therapy sessions (building core strength, balance, hand strength etc.) every single day. It took them some time figuring out what to do this tire swing (it’s really heavy so it doesn’t swing easily) but they figured out how to play with it and love it now.
Immi completed a lego ninja castle (recommended for 8-14 yr) without any help. This is the first lego thing she has ever built following the instruction (it simply never occurred to me to let her try it before, though she creates conceptual sculptural thingies often with legos). I’m sure that many parents of almost-7-year-olds would not give much thought to such accomplishment but the thing to note about immi is that she scores ONE percentile in cognitive skills and in problem solving skills in standardized tests. Essentially, the test scores says — she lacks intelligence. Todd and I shrug off at these numbers and laugh at the standardized tests in general because while these tests are possibly useful enough to see if the mind it’s measuring is beyond ‘ordinary’, it doesn’t seem to capture the unique intelligences or account for specific disabilities (that prevents high scores despite their capability) that Immi and other ASD kids have. I have been told by experts that Immi is a visual learner. So it’s true, Immi can barely follow two-step verbal instructions sometimes, but she can complete a whole booklet of visual instructions involving hundred of pieces very quickly and easily.
Incidentally, this kit was purchased for Lucian who wanted it. I didn’t think that he can follow direction to complete it at this point, but I thought that I can build it first, and then after that, he can make whatever he wants with all the interesting pieces it comes with. Immi saved me a lot of effort!
Immi, like many other ASD kids, have decreased hand strength. This issue is something I hardly notice, until she uses pencils for writing — it is painfully obvious then. Her writing is barely legible because the pencil marks are so light. To make writing easier and the result more legible, I put together some special pencils for immi! Also, I searched for pencils with softer lead and found that actually Sanrio shops had a whole bunch of cute ones in 2B. The weights are stainless steel hex nuts and rubber o-rings from the hardware store (with some cute stickers to make it cuter of course). Immi and I experimented with placement and amount of weights on the pencil, and this was the most comfortable result for her. The positive difference these weighted+softer-lead pencil makes is huge!
Unbelievably, Immi is officially in Kindergarten. Anyhow. Immi resist regular sort of learning so I’m helping her with letters and words of the week by making bracelets with her. She can make and wear new ones every week until she can get excited about learning them some other way.
Ashland wanted to make one too. His is sort of random, but I love it!