Saturday, May 30, 2020

6 months of work - and we have something to show for it!

When we got back from camping, Dominic’s teacher texted me about his test results.  

This may be the first time anyone has gotten him to advance by half a grade ... within half a grade.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Ghost Towns! Hungry Wolves!

This deserved its own post. 

Tuesday afternoon of our camping trip, three of the adults and the 2 kids drove deep up a dirt road into the mountains, to see ghost towns!  and an old mining camp!!  It was really fun, and Dominic and I both loved it.

on the way back, he was sitting in the back between Sandra and I and out of the blue piped up with a very clear "Chase me, Hungry wolves".  We literally looked at each other around him, and both mouthed "chase me hungry wolves??????" because we'd never heard it before.  

And so I held the video up again, and with zero prompting, here it is for your enjoyment... 

Thursday, May 28, 2020


Those of you who've known me a long time know that I have really wanted to take Dominic camping for years and have not had a way that I felt safe doing it.  Between his nocturnal wakeups and wandering and my hearing loss... well... its hard to lock a tent.

Enter a solid group of friends who loves to camp and a cheap camper I bought in January.   They promised they'd help me keep eyes on him so that I could also do some relaxing. And they did.  We had success!!   Dominic and I went camping with another 5 people over Memorial day and he loved it.  He was in constant motion all day every day - by the river, playing with the dog, etc.  Huge win.

Couple of things of note...:
- There was nearly no scripting movie scenes the entire time.  I chose to not bring any tech he could escape into (there was no signal anyway, all I used my phone for was the camera) and he got to spend the whole time in the fresh air and sunshine.  I think it was the combination of not having a screen in front of him to script from and the being outside.  My takeaway is I need to get us organized to start hiking regularly again.

- I think he ate less.  Oddly enough.  And while he ADORED the making of the smore, the whole eating it part wasn't his cup of tea.  In fact he told me "ew, gross"

- I bought him a whistle to wear around his neck, for 2 reasons - the first being that if you get lost in the woods, you can whistle a hellova lot longer than you can scream and the second is, it'll scare away bears.  So Dominic somehow went from "this is a whistle you blow IF you see a bear" to "this is a whistle you blow TO see a bear" and was running around saying "call the bear, call the bear", which was hilarious.

- He did remarkably well with the disgusting and echo-ey vault toilet. 

And - he was so tired from the whole running around and being in fresh air that he slept hard - with his friends dog - and didn't wander.  So we have success in camping.

Sunday, May 10, 2020


We had what may be our last IEP meeting last week purely because the school district hasn't been open to get the transfer paperwork that Kishami sent months ago and they needed to be compliant.  It was over zoom, which was odd, and we asked Ms Rachel to join. 

Some of the highlights included a goal of getting him to use the calculator for math (that was a 4th grade goal) and copy questions and answers (wheres the comprehension?).  And the school district thinks Dominic's got the potential to live at home forever and maybe have a shadow job someday.

I want him to be receiving education from people who actually believe he can learn, so I'm very grateful we have been able to make this Rachel thing work financially and unless we can no longer pay for it, he will remain with her until he is educated.

Here are some of the videos she's taken of his work just in the last week.

He's also taking (and passing) spelling tests, which shocked the school staff, and doing PE at the park as per below...

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Pandemic haircuts...

If you've been around for awhile, you know that we have had  along running saga with haircuts and Dominic.  We've been really happy the last few years with our barber, whose grandson is also on the spectrum.  She has not yet opened back up and he has been complaining about how hot his hair is the last few weeks.

His favorite person, Dr Kelley, once supported herself as a dog groomer. So she knows how to quickly clip a wriggling body.   Last week, she gave Dominic's friend Tyler a haircut after school and Dominic finally asked for one from her yesterday.   So today, Dominic hung out over there while I did a grocery run (my preference because of the touching thing is to just not take him into stores right now) and then Dr K, Ms Rachel (who was there prepping for next week) and I attempted the haircut.

The first attempt did NOT go well. He actually ripped the drape thingie right off and was just irate.  We couldn't figure out what the issue was/.  So we were going to leave with a very slight trim and he came back into the area we were cleaning .... got the stool back out and asked again.  This time he did it himself until it got to the back and then he allowed Dr Kelley to help him. 

And we figured out the issue is two fold - he doesn't like the drape and he didn't like the hair to touch him.

Then we came home and he brought me the tweezers to de-unibrow him.  I guess this was grooming day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Jumping jacks!!!!

Back in January we started teaching Dominic about jumping jacks.  He struggled mightily to control his body.   

Brie and I are pretty sure that she has only worked on that maybe one or two times since.  And she attempted remote therapy with him during her 5 week quarantine one time because it was an abject failure

Today they tried again and look how much better.  This is absolutely about the brain bridging helping his body and spatial awareness because he has absolutely not practiced.  

Friday, May 1, 2020

a new experience for me

Today I got to see the first spelling test of Dominic’s that I have ever seen. (Not to say he hasn’t had one, j don’t know.  This is the first that I have seen. In the decade he has been in school)

The amount of work that went into this is staggering 

But wait... there’s more. Dominic independently  did double digit math - without the place chart.  And she threw the one problem at him that almost required carrying over.  He will learn about carrying over next week.  

Thursday, April 30, 2020


Most all of you know that the part of Dominic's life that has likely suffered the most post regression has been social.  The biggest benefit to us with me watching my friends son afternoons during the pandemic has been Dominic playing, learning to share, etc.  Its been awesome to watch.

Today, tho.  Was special. Dominic had a very oppositional day at school, and Tyler was crabby because I limited his tablet time to 30 minutes at my house.  BUT... eventually they pulled it together.

First, Tyler wore the cape / whatever that is and Dominic "drove" .

Then they traded places....

Then they turned the cape into a bedroom, and each other into TV's.  First Dominic got to watch TylerTV and then Tyler got to watch DominicTV. Then they watched the invisible TV on the ceiling

What happened next had me nearly bursting into tears, tho. Tyler decided to pretend to be a floppy fish and Dominic joined in!!!  Ya'll don't understand, pretend play has not been a thing he has EVER done. 

Then they built a fort

And then the fort morphed into a car, which Dominic drove while Tyler rode.

I'm exhausted - all of that occured in under an hour.... -  this is really amazing growth we are seeing.  These are things that have NEVER happened for Dominic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Smelly Butt

I’m overdue blogging this and I’m so glad I didn’t forget.


As most of you’ve figured out during the course of the quarantine / work from home, I’ve been watching a friends son 4ish hours a day so she can actually work.  Its been a win/win situation because its forcing Dominic to learn to interact and share, and that’s a good thing.  Anyway.  My friend was over Monday evening and we were doing our kiddo handoff download (aka chatting for an hour to make sure everyone is in the appropriate loop).


History Lesson sideline:  Dominic’s gas is horrible and one of the things I’ve tried is activated charcoal filter stickers in his pants to absorb the smell so that people don’t react at least (we’re talking paint peeling bad) and we can then do some behavior mod.  I get those, his pancake mix, his olive envelopes and a few of his supplements once a month on amazon Auto delivery because its cheaper that way.


So we were hanging out on the deck chatting Monday and the doorbell rang.  Dominic went running to see who it was, and it was the Amazon Delivery person.  He brought the box and I opened it and he was sad there was no toy.  I told him to put it on the counter.  We then repeated the exercise with one more (because amazon can’t seem to box things together sometimes).  I assumed that he was putting everything on the counter and I’d get to it later.  Then apparently another large envelope arrived.  From inside we hear him excitedly call out “SMELLY BUTT”.  Yeah.  The charcoal stickers arrived.


When we stopped laughing, they headed home and I came inside to put everything away.  There were only 2 supplement bottles on the counter.  I stuck my head in the pantry…. The olives and pancake mix were exactly where the belong…. Dominic put them away.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Pop the Pig

It’s been really nice to have an extra kiddo in the afternoons this quarantine for a couple of reasons but the biggest is that it gives us someone sort of peer-ish for Dominic to practice his turn taking and social skills with.  

Savannah (our ST) advised me that even tho I only caught the last 6 minutes this was a full 15 minutes of interaction.  

She is incredibly impressed with the following changes since we started full days with Rachel who we are so grateful can still take care of kids of essentials workers (never mind that they learn during that time):
- better mood / compliance than when he was at public school all day
- clearer verbals
- initiation. As in he is asking to interact.  

We practiced his messenger video conversation with his friend and let me tell you it’s really amusing with filters.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Making his lunch

I was sitting on the sofa trying to get motivated and had the following interaction with Dominic 

D - “breakfast”
Me - it’s almost noon. Lunch?
D - pizza 
Me - we aren’t ordering anything but let’s see if we still have the stuff to make one
(Rummage in fridge and find one more gluten free English muffin)
D - gets out the pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese, sauce and asks for olives
Me - I think all your olives are at school for you to enjoy there
D - panicked rummaging continues 
Me - finds a very old can of minced olives in the pantry. Thank god. 

Then he built it. 

I didn’t get the video going fast enough but here’s the tail end.  This kid  😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Feeling our Emotions AND practicing conversation

One of the goals Dominic has been working on for a long time in speech therapy is being able to describe what he is feeling.  They've worked on this a number of ways, and every time for the duration, Dominic's selected the Happy face emotion. Yesterday, he actually picked the mad one.  I don't know why he was mad (I can guess - he and Tyler are having some moments getting used to each other and its difficult for two only kids to suddenly have to cope with sharing all. the.  time), I just know that he expressed it.  And thats a first.

Secondly, he's been really wanting to talk on video chat.  So on Monday, during speech we called and practiced with a friend to give Savannah an idea of what to create in support of this.  Yesterday, she brought this script and we practiced two ways, with me on the other end of the call and her supporting and vice versa.   The idea is to practice these calls (and we're using the Facebook Messenger KIDS app because i want to be able to control and monitor going forward) and this script, then expand the script and start giving him options of questions to ask, and we'll give him options of things to answer with as people interact with him.  (The hand graphic is there to remind him To pause) Its really choppy and slow going and he needs a ton of support.  So that all said, if any of ya'll are interested in being a person with whom Dominic practices, let me know and I'll add you to his facebook messenger list.  I will attempt to text and ensure its an okay time for him to call but my long term desire is for him to be able to just call someone on his ipad.  If that happens, can ya'll let me know? Also fair warning he will likely randomly message you food emoticons.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

ooops. Its been 2 months since I posted

Well.  I guess I haven't posted in a bit.  This whole end of the world thing has really shifted life.  Let me see if I can catch everyone up because really amazing stuff has been happening.

When I posted last I was updating various therapy videos and talking about how we were starting to see things shifting for Dominic.  We had gone down to Pueblo and visited my friends Stable with our friends, and generally life was just plugging along. Dominic was in a stand alone significant special needs classroom in public school, and was wrapping up a unit of swim class that we had to fight to get him in.  And that he loved.   We were making plans to go skiing with the same friends we went to the stables with over spring break.  And i'd bought a camper and was making plans to get it tuned up and happy so we could go camping this summer.  We had made plans for Dominic to continue the tutoring that we started over the holiday break twice a week and that he would join full time for the summer (full time is 6 hours a day / 5 days a week)

Then the plague arrived.

Mid March the state of Colorado basically shut down. Our ski trip plans got axed (only took 3 weeks to get the refund on the VRBO, but it did come), schools closed a week before spring break planning to come back after like nothing else.  We thought we just needed 14 days to incubate.   At the beginning of this, a couple of us who are pretty close agreed to quarantine together - eg - go shopping for each other as needed, take care of each other if we got sick, take turns giving each other a break from the kids, offer adult conversation, etc.  I'm so very grateful for that.  I spent those 2 weeks taking care of 2 kids most days, while working the first week (the second i already had vacation for spring break) and rode out some crud or another (not saying it was the plague, but i did talk to my doctor during it, and it did take me about 10 days to feel right, but i never got super sick. OTOH, I did throw ALL my tricks at it including nebulizing colloidal silver). 

By the end of that second week we knew that the schools were going to go to distance learning - and we will be suprised if thats not for the remainder of the year - and that we would be expected to do it all.   That did not work for Dominic. His first attempt at video interaction with a therapist was a huge failure.  He really does need the 1:1 right there and I cannot do that and work.  So he spent 2 weeks staring at the tv and it showed.  So we reached out to Rachel, his tutor.  I am considered essential because I work telecom.  My friend is essential as healthcare.  Both our kids are allowed to be in daycare.  The tutor is an LLC, not a school, so she's allowed to offer care.  We made it work.  Instead of starting full time there on June 1, Dominic started full time April 1.  My friend picks him up and drops both kids off in the morning and I pick them up and let them play for a few hours together after.  Rachel is working on brain bridging, math, science and reading.  At the level they are.

1. In general its really good for 2 only children to have to learn to cooperate, play together and share.  When both those kids have quirks of varying levels, its actually imperative.  Its been very nice to see that when left to their own devices, these two kids end up playing together in one form or another.  This is the first actual FRIEND Dominic has had since before he regressed.  he has never spent this much time playing with ANY other child in the course of his life.

2.  8 full days with Rachel and we are seeing HUGE things and i'm trying hard to not get sucked back into the hope thing, but its hard when we see

- Dominic spontaneously using full sentences that are NOT scripts
- Dominic's articulation improving to the point that we are figuring out what he's saying ("happyerector" was actually happily ever after)
- Dominic is trying to read EVERYTHING. I caught him watching a youtube on the TV of someone reading a finding nemo story aloud and he paused it and we read one word at a time.  He struggles and he gets mad, but he is trying so hard.
Edited to add, as I was publishing this blog, he started to do it!  So here's a video of it from RIGHT THIS SECOND.

- Dominic asking to call his friends (specifically Kelley and Rachel and then being happy to send them messages on messenger kids)
- Last night as Daddy was going upstairs after wishing him good night, Dominic came running out and hollered (twice) "You are my Best Friend" up the stairs.

3.  It is my hope to be able to finance keeping Dominic with Rachel through the remainder of his high school career.  Currently the universe seems to be supporting that desire as the way to pay for it is appearing.

I'll try to remember to post here for long term record keeping.... but no promises.  Clearly i get easily distracted.