To say that this has been a busy month would be a complete understatement. It started off extremely difficult with the unexpected passing of our Uncle Owen, an absolutely wonderful man whom Ryan was very close with. They had a bond that did not need spoken words and Uncle Owen was so good to Ryan and our family.
Our family traveled to Fort Myers, Florida for Uncle Owen’s Celebration of Life this past Tuesday. More about that in a future post.
Ryan really wanted to go to the Autism Education Summit again this year. Since I am homeschooling him, I figured that we would use it as a learning opportunity. He wanted to be an advocate, so his goals were to talk to parents and doctors, possibly sit in on an applicable presentation, and check out the vendors.
Well, he achieved his goals! He spelled in front of his doctor’s wife (who is a Nurse Practitioner) and she said that Ryan “just changed the course of how she is going to help her son because of seeing RPM in person.” He was invited to write an article for the National Autism Association of North Texas Newsletter and to be a speaker at a local conference in February! While we were at the conference, Ryan also was interested in trying out a foot bath. He kept going to that area of the vendors and when I explained it to him he spelled: MOM THAT IS TOO WEIRD. Once again, this was not on my radar, but he went back each day to that area. The kind parents who were running the booth explained how it worked and I explained to him that it wasn’t to treat autism, just to make people feel healthier as it was mostly parents who were trying it out at the conference. On the third day, he got the courage to do it (again not on my radar but on his). He was able to sit for 15 minutes.
Ryan spelled the following after the three days: REALLY GLAD THAT YOU TOOK ME. I asked him about the foot bath. LIKE IT MIGHT BE GOOD FOR SOME, BUT IT IS TOO HARD TO SAY THAT IT IS NOT MY THING.
During that weekend, we also got to go to a Rangers’ game as a family (we won’t speak of the postseason).
And we went to another Home Depot Kids’ Workshop which featured the Keller Fire Department. Two of Ryan’s favorite things collided: Firefighters and Home Depot! Ryan was able to interview several of the firefighters and they were wonderful.
The first week in October we had a behind the scenes field trip at PetSmart. Why Pet Smart? Well, Ryan likes animals, and I thought that it would be fun to learn about how the store works. Ryan wrote: FINDING IT TOO COOL TO INTERACT WITH SOME ANIMALS. I asked him which was his favorite. THE TORTOISE. Anything else to say? TOO MEANINGFUL TO ME TO INTERVIEW PEOPLE (He interviewed Jirenia at the end about her job.) Ryan wrote a thank you card for his assignment.
And the second reason I thought of PetSmart is, if you can believe it, Ryan’s name came up on the Canine Companions wait list! We will be attending training beginning Monday, October 24th through Friday, November 4th to hopefully bring home Ryan’s Canine Companion! We will report back when we can about this!
Ryan’s birthday was October 6th. This was the year of double digits! With Uncle Owen’s passing, it was difficult, but having his friends come to his party made for a great distraction.
Ryan spelled with me: TOO HAPPY TO HAVE A REAL BIRTHDAY PARTY WITH FRIENDS THIS YEAR.
Ryan wrote this story with Adriana the day before his birthday:
ONCE THERE REALLY WAS A MONKEY GOING TO HAVE LOTS OF HAPPY, HAPPY GIFTS. HE HAD THE MOST INCREDIBLE BIRTHDAY BECAUSE HE HAD CELEBRATED WITH HIS MANY FRIENDS. CELEBRATING IN THE HAPPIEST, GREATEST LOCATION ON EARTH. HE HAD GOOD TIME WITH ALL THE HAPPY GUESTS. LOVED TALKING WITH EVERYONE. CELEBRATING FELT INCREDIBLE. CAN’T WAIT TO CELEBRATE NEXT YEAR.
That night, we got home and we opened the presents from the birthday party. He spelled: ALWAYS HAPPY TO BE WITH FRIENDS. I mentioned to Ryan that we would open the rest of the gifts after we went to our family dinner at Chipotle (Ryan’s choice). He then spelled: WILL YOU GET MY OTHER GIFTS SO I CAN SEE MY GUITAR? I was flabbergasted! He had been asking for a guitar for a few weeks now. I then said, “What makes you so confident that you are getting a guitar?” He then spelled: BECAUSE YOU GUYS LOVE ME TOO MUCH NOT TO. So even if it was somewhat a demand, neither Randy nor I cared! This is the type of thing that we always dreamed of! Of course, Randy got the guitar!
Today I asked Ryan if he had named his guitar. I explained to him that a lot of people name their guitars and told him about B.B. King and Lucille. He spelled: HAPPY TO CALL IT OWEN.
So to continue with the birthday celebration week, we met up with more friends the next day at the State Fair of Texas. We checked out the Sistine Chapel exhibit and walked around the fair. We played carnival games and I even went on a ride (I have motion sickness often and really hate rides, but I would do anything for Ryan, so I went). He loved it. I am glad that I didn’t vomit.
The next day, we went to our first sensory friendly movie theater. We got to go with friends again!
Ryan and I have been to the movies before and he has done very well sitting in his seat. Well, since I had explained the concept of a sensory movie for Ryan (which means that the people are free to roam around and make noise and the lights will be less dim for the theater–it is geared towards people with autism), he took advantage of this and barely sat at all for the movie. This was hard for me to handle. After the movie, I asked Ryan what he thought of it and he spelled: TOO HARD TO PAY ATTENTION WHILE ROAMING. I felt validated and defeated at the same time. I know that he wanted to watch the movie so I was a bit sad about this. After we talked about the experience, Ryan and I decided that even if it is a sensory showing of a movie, he will try and sit in his seat like the regular movies. I asked him if he wanted to include this in the blog and he spelled NOT SURE. I mentioned to him that maybe his experience and perspective will help other families and he then thought it was a GOOD IDEA TO INCLUDE IT.
So that is what we have been up to. It has been a whirlwind and I didn’t even include everything! We will be sure to blog about our experience at Canine Companions Training as soon as we can. In the meantime, be on the lookout for some pictures and snippets throughout the next two weeks on our Facebook Page!