The Journey Continues

Back in September we got the provisional diagnosis of Autism for JI. Since that time he went through more evaluations and observations, and earlier this month we received the official diagnosis of ASD level II + Unspecified impulse control & conduct disorder.

School this year was, to put it mildly, horrible. The year started off great, then got really really bad, then it was okay, and then it was just nothing. We agreed to end his school year early because he was basically just sleeping at school every day, and the thing they needed to do with him, socialization, wasn’t being accomplished at all. He only missed nine days, so I don’t care, and the daily fighting was getting to be too much every morning. He’s not even going to participate in the “graduation” because merely mentioning it sends him into a panic. No thank you. I’m so ready for summer and preparing for a new start at a new school.

Because we have the official diagnosis, it was added to his IEP and now we can get the exact services and therapies we need for him. When he starts kindergarten in the fall, he will spend some of the school day in a resource room and some of the day with the NT kids in the regular classroom. He will receive behavioural and speech therapy regularly, and occupational therapy as needed.

The strangest thing about autism is how it is SO different from one child to another. Sure, there are certain signs and symptoms that are shared by all kids on the spectrum, but even those are not always the same. Just because I can parent my autistic child doesn’t mean that I could parent your autistic child. Maybe it would be easier, maybe it would be harder. There are so many differences!

Personally, I have very few problems with JI, ┬álikely because I suspect I am on the spectrum myself (a therapist suggested this years ago, and I definitely fit a lot of the traits) and also because I understand what it is like to be a “weirdo”. All my life my mom told me how weird I am, friends and strangers have called me weird, and I always feel weird. I get why he can’t or won’t do certain things, eat certain things, etc. I know how to talk to him to get him to behave and comprehend what is happening. I’m excited for kindergarten and a new school with all new teachers, if only because I feel that his pre-K had their mind made up about him being the bad kid, the troublemaker. I hope that a whole new environment will mean a good fresh start!

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Easy Weeknight Pasta Meal

I had an abundance of fresh produce that was about to turn, so I decided to use it all up in one meal. I went with pasta, as it lends itself to many different flavors and textures, and is very simple to make.

wpid-collage_20150923183418149.jpgFirst, I cooked the pasta and set it aside. I used radiatori so that the ridges on the noodles would catch all the tasty goodness of the vegetables. Next, I chopped up tomatoes, red peppers, and banana peppers, and then I added a heaping spoonful of minced garlic. I tossed those into the pot I used for boiling the pasta, added a little salt, pepper, and olive oil, and sauteed until the tomatoes were just starting to break down. At this point I added some sliced black olives and a green onion. I didn’t want those to get cooked too much, which is why I added them near the end. Finally I put the pasta back into the pot and stirred everything together for a few minutes, until the pasta was heated through. I served it with a huge hunk of crusty garlic bread and a sprinkling of parmesan. Even JI, Mr. Picky, enjoyed the meal!

You can add chicken to the dish if you’re into that kind of thing, or you can eliminate the cheese if you want to make it vegan. There are tons of options for this dish!