Saturday, July 9, 2011

Camp Gonnawannagoagin

This video showcases the wonderful camp Ashton will be attending next week, Camp Gonnawannagoagin. I love the song that is playing, so I found the lyrics and copied them here.

Camp Gonnawannagoagin's premise is to allow autistic children and teens the opportunity to socialize with their neurotypical peers out in the community doing things that kids and teens like to do. In the past, Ashton's gotten to go to the movies (a favorite past-time of his, lol), go to the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, Ocean Breeze, swimming, the park, Jumpin Jellybeans, etc etc. He always has lots of fun and he's always very tired when I pick him up at the end of the day.

This is Ashton's 5th year in attending Camp Gonnawannagoagin. He's attended many weeks over the last 5years and this year will be attending four weeks! He's excited about seeing Ms Pam again and seeing his friends. He always has a great time and usually ends up leaving each day with tears and some sadness. I'm hoping with some maturity over the last year, that we can avoid the tears, but it lets me know that this is a place he loves being at and people that he loves and enjoys being with.

Hope they have some new books this year ;) I think he's read just about every book they have!! :)

Cold Play's "Talk" 
Oh brother I can't, I can't get through
I've been trying hard to reach you, cause I don't know what to do
Oh brother I can't believe it's true
I'm so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you
Oh I wanna talk to you
You can take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that's never been done

Are you lost or incomplete?
Do you feel like a puzzle, you can't find your missing piece?
Tell me how do you feel?
Well I feel like they're talking in a language I don't speak
And they're talking it to me

So you take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or a write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that's never been done
Do something that's never been done

So you don't know were you're going, and you wanna talk
And you feel like you're going where you've been before
You tell anyone who'll listen but you feel ignored
Nothing's really making any sense at all
Let's talk, let's ta-a-alk
Let's talk, let's ta-a-alk 

Have a nice day!

**AWESOME** What a way to wrap up the week!

How do you follow up one really great day at school? You have another!

Here's the note home from Thursday......
I left your note about camp next week on ::regular teacher::'s desk and both teacher assistants are aware too. Ashton had a great morning! He transitioned extremely well from computer time today! He was the first one logged off the computer and lined up to go back to class. He led the way back to class. He worked with the occupational therapist again today for an hour too. He worked on Brainpop Math & Englsh today and took graded quizzes. He got 6 out of 10 on multiplication and 5 out of 10 on reading about an author, Roald Dahl. He worked really well. He also drew a picture for his journal today and showed the class. The topic was "What do you plan to do this weekend?". He shared with us that he plans to be happy and good. He got a sticker from the OT today and he earned extra free time on the computer time today from me. He read a book and went to the library and did an excellent job checking out a book. He should get his reward. Have a great weekend! ::sub teacher::
I cannot believe the total 180 degree turn-around that Ashton has made, even from just one month ago at school. That's what is most hardest to decipher, just one month ago, his school was still having such big issues with him. Why the sudden turn-around? Why, is he all of a sudden, trying new foods? Being more verbally appropriate? Acting more, dare I say it, neurotypical? Oh don't get me wrong, he's most definitely still autistic and always will be, but he's being more appropriate in just about every aspect of life. Yes, he's still having his moments, but overall, a major improvement in all areas; academic, behavior, social, communication, etc etc etc. Yay!

Then.... you follow up a great week at summer school, with a great 2hr session of ESY academic instruction! YES! He's totally rockin' this summer, which is awesome! So happy for all of the improvements.... :) :)

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MAJOR improvements so far this summer

Wow - Ashton's verbal communications are way up, considering his connectedness to YouTube and the TV.  He's just making more sense, being more spontaneous and some of what he says, is downright hilarious! ex: he'll say..... "I said, a thousand times NOooo" with almost that same inflection.... LOL The kid cracks me up on a daily basis.

We've been working on identifying facial expressions; happy, sad, scared and mad/angry. Well, not only has he picked up on those four expressions, he now likes to make a game of it! Watching him try to contort his own face into each expression is absolutely priceless!

How can you not totally giggle at this silly boy? :) He's doing a great job identifying and showing emotions, even if we do still make it a game sometimes.

Even better? Read the note that got sent home today from summer school.......
Ashton did well today. He handled having a substitute teacher remarkably well. He had some minor difficulty transitioning from the computer lab back to the classroom, but he was able to make the transition from the computer activity he really enjoyed back to the classroom. He read a book today and did an excellent job sounding out some difficult words. He also led the class back to the classroom after lunch. He was helpful and made sure I did not get lost. After lunch he transitioned extremely well from putting his lunch bag up and going to a new setting to work with the occupational therapist. We had told him prior to lunch and had him meet the occupational therapist to help with the transition. He worked with the therapist for an hour. He had a good day and should get his reward. I will be here again tomorrow for ::regular teacher:: and then she will return on Monday.  Thanks  ::sub teacher::
How amazing. Well, not really.... I know he's capable of so much more than what he was producing with this past school year's teacher and staff. This note home, proves it. I'm keeping tabs on how he's doing with summer school, both with the teacher and also with the therapists so I can pass it along to current school's staff as a starting point for the fall. He'll start working with his ESY teacher on Friday; he's very excited about this, because she used to be his teacher when he was in 5th grade! She's quite aware of the situation that's gone on this year and is hopefully going to be a major key in helping him make some big gains over this summer to make up for what he lost or stalled on over the school year.

In other news.... Ashton's eating new foods! We had tacos last night for dinner and I made him one, with just meat and cheese. We eat our tacos on fried corn shells (soft) and I just rolled it up. He didn't want to eat it initially, but he did end up eating the whole thing! *thumbs up* Scored points for me! I often lament that he won't eat what we eat, and he always wants hot dogs & mac and cheese or chicken nuggets & fries. He's getting better about at least tasting (even if it's just to lick) the food, and now, he's even biting into and then eating the item. He's also started not only drinking a sip of milk when it's placed in front of him, he's asking for it! I'm trying to cut down on the amount of soda that he drinks (well, all of us really), so I told him once the pepsi in the pantry was gone, no more sodas! Well, he drank the last of it two days ago! He doesn't much like juice, and well, water does get boring after a while. So, yay me again! :) He's very happy to drink skim milk, woot!

It's been a big week in our house as you can see! To think, this is already the third week of summer break (well, not much of a break for Ashton). You may not be able to read the calendar... but you can see that there is something going on just about every single day!

Between summer school, ESY services and summer camp, Ashton's whole month of July is going to be gone before we know it. He doesn't really have any real free time, until mid-August! But, if the last three weeks are any indication, things are on the spiral upward and I can't wait to see the gains he continues to make and where he'll start his 7th grade year at. So proud of my big guy, he's working so hard to make himself fit into this world. You know, that whole 'square peg in a round hole deal'..... yea, that. He's trying desperately to fit into a world that doesn't always understand him and he's doing a fantastic job!

Have a nice night everyone!