Expecting the Unexpected

Life always seems to throw curve balls. I never would have expected that I wouldn't finish my degree in English Education. I never would have expected that I would have received my Bachelor's in Business Management. I never would have expected to have two children, ages 4 and 3, by the time I turned 25. But I wouldn't change it for the world!

I never would have expected to have a child with a disability either. My youngest was diagnosed with autism in October of last year, and I'm still figuring out what it all means. She has come a long way since October, and I am so proud. But there are still times when her autism makes me sad. It makes me sad when she can't understand what I am telling her. She doesn't know what I mean when I say I love you. She doesn't know what I'm saying when I explain to her a new and scary experience she will be experiencing soon. I can't prepare her. I feel like I just throw her into situations. For instance, when she went to the dentist for the first time. I told her that we were going to get her teeth cleaned, that she would sit in a big chair that goes up and down. I even showed her a social story about going to the dentist with pictures for her to look at. All of this sounds like I did a good job of prepping her, but the sad part is that she never understood that these things were going to happen to HER. She didn't get that SHE WAS GOING to the dentist. She just thought I was showing her a book about it. It's hard.

Yesterday I spent all day making a book for her to use while she's on summer vacation from preschool. I want to continue working on the goals that her teachers set up for her. So, I made a book that she can work on with me where she removes pieces and puts them where I tell her. The book will help her learn to focus on completing a task, to follow directions, and to familiarize her with the prepositions "in", "on", "under", "over". Here is a sample of one of the pages:

The cherry goes ON the ice cream cone.

Put the cherry ON the ice cream cone.

The cherry is attached to Velcro so that it stays put in the book and then can be placed on the ice cream cone without it falling. She loves it, because she feels like she is accomplishing something, and I'm happy because she is learning new vocabulary!