Monday, October 29, 2007

Now I know my ABC's!

Kyle has been doing great!!
Just this week he has started singing quite a bit, including "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
And a big surprise (since no one had been trying to teach him this) Kyle suddenly sang the Alphabet! He's been doing it over and over again! Sometimes just "ABCDEFG", or "LMNOP" or the whole thing.
And if that wasn't enough...he counts to 10 too! This was another talent we didn't know he had. Almost every day he surprises us with what he can do and say.

It is really amazing how much progress he has made in the last 6 months. From his latest Personal/Social development assessment, his teacher reported that he can use one word phrases and gestures to make his needs known, imitate gestures in a song, orient to his name, follow the command "come here", imitate simple motor actions, drink from a cup and eat with a fork or spoon with minimal spilling, and more. He will repeat almost anything we say when we have his attention. And a huge step is that he is starting to label things he recognizes on his own. Like, when he sits down to breakfast, he says "eggs" without us saying it first. Today, he even played the little "where's your nose?" game and pointed to all his face parts and said them. I've been trying to get him to do that since he was 1. It is hard to believe it was only a few months ago that Kyle wouldn't say a single word, wouldn't respond to his name or obey any instruction.

He is still doing well with the gluten free, casein free diet. We have been slowly adding more things to his diet that he will accept. Unfortunately one of those things is suckers....he LOVES them. That's the only Halloween candy he wants. We took him to a little trick or treating thing at the child development center today, and whenever someone gave him anything that wasn't a sucker, he just threw it over his shoulder! That's ok, Isaac won't mind eating the rest.

~Kyle's Mommy.

Trick or Treat!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What a Great Idea!

Families With Autistic Children Get A Break At Israeli Vacation Spot

     Upon first glance, Aluteva looks like another homey and quaint country
family resort in northern Israel, one of the country's most popular vacation
destinations. The campus is surrounded by forest trees at the edge of
Carmiel, families are lounging on plastic lounge chairs, and the green lawns
and playground are dotted with colorful picket fences. Only upon closer look
does it become apparent that Aluteva is highly different than any other
country resorts in the area.
     Aluteva is the only vacation spot in Israel, and possibly in the
world, designed to cater to families with autistic children. The clues
quickly become obvious; the campus is enclosed by fences and a security
gate, the pool is raised instead of at ground level, and a young boy paces
in a repeated pattern along the cement paths, clapping his hands.
     Aluteva doesn't have the funds or intention to offer five star
amenities, but it provides one amenity that makes some families feel like
it's a five star resort: sensitivity to the needs of children with autism.
     The concept was devised in 2003 by Alut, the Israeli Society for
Autistic Children, to provide an innovative, permanent year-round solution
for families for whom vacation is an essential need, but one that is often
out of reach.
     "We understand the complexity for families with autistic children to
go out on vacation," explained Aluteva's director Nechama Amidan. "Often
they don't take a vacation because it's difficult to go out on a vacation
with an autistic child given the behavior of the child and safety concerns.
The children are sometimes not aware of the dangers, and they can jump in a
pool, cross a red light. They require the parents' constant surveillance."
     Vacation is particularly difficult for families of children diagnosed
with low-functioning autism since at times these children can exhibit
behaviors that deviate from what is socially acceptable in public places. At
one point during this reporter's tour at Aluteva, a 15-year old boy named
Ron repeatedly came up to smell my hair, a behavior which would have likely
startled any vacationer at a regular hotel.
     "He seems to like certain smells, certain shampoo smells. You're not
the first one, but you can take it as a compliment," Ron's mother explained
on the lawns of Aluteva. Ron's parents and younger sister are regulars at
Aluteva. Ron cannot read, write, or speak, and smelling hair is likely a
form of self-stimulation and a means of social interaction.
     "My son needs constant activity; it's hard taking care of him. He
likes going places, but it's hard to take him places because of the way he
behaves. He doesn't enjoy himself, and we have to run around after him."
I thought this was such a great idea...I want to start one here!! or maybe a not-for-profit Chuck-E-Cheese type after school center for autistic kids with lots of stuff to stim and play with!! With plenty of volunteers to play with the kids so the parents can sit back and relax hahahaha..anybody have a few million bucks to loan me?