Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Pyramid.

Pyramids, as defined, are structures whose outer surfaces converge at a single point. I think of our life with Rye at the top of that pyramid. A primary focus. This isn't a unique perspective, all parents think of their kids as their primary focus. But because of his ASD, our pyramid may have a few extra layers of support.

People ask how he's doing and what we do for him. He's doing pretty well because he has a really well built pyramid. With him at the summit, he's supported in many ways directly by his mom, me, Wyatt and his teachers. The next layer that supports him and us, are our family and friends. Then we move into layers of support that move in and out of his life but are all part of this bigger experience and foundation. Therapies and resources.

We've done three years of continuing Behavior Therapy at the Thompson Center, which is so very valuable to us and has taught us how to be better parents (special needs or not). He's done Speech and Language Therapy for nearly three years at University of Missouri's Speech and Language Lab, directed by the amazing Barbara Brinkman and Leanna Lawrence. We also did a "short stint" with Neurofeedback Therapy, which we were less impressed by, but important to check off the list! Prior to all of this, Rye did about two years of Occupational Therapy with Jennifer Fell that really helped develop his fine motor skills, a critical puzzle piece in his ability to learn. He participated in a Social Competency Group at the Thompson Center for about six months, working on basic social skills. And we can't say enough about his school and the special attention they give Rye in the form of extra areas of emphasis and pushing him to learn and excel. As a family, we did an all-day for two weeks Parent Training Program at Touchpoint Autism Services, which really forced us to make our positive behavior support approach a lifestyle and not a part-time parenting technique. Wyatt participates in a Sibling Group at Touchpoint, which is a nice thing just for him. Tara and I attend the annual three-day Autism Conference in Columbia which is filled with excellent keynote speakers, workshops and seminars. Tara, because she IS a Behavior Consultant, has implemented a token economy system, rewarding him with his Rye Cash for preferred behavior and response; his "list" of foods he'll eat; a calendar that helps him know what's ahead; and the list goes on. Touchpoint offers a respite night throughout the year which allows Tara and I to take a breather and have an old fashioned date night and dinner. Then there's the social integration of sporting programs like baseball, swimming, pottery classes, acting classes and basketball that Rye loves (well, he wasn't so crazy about basketball, but hey, you can't love them all!). We feel it's so important to take advantage of everything available and we're so fortunate to have landed in Columbia, where we have a wealth of services and resources, and are willing to reach out to all of them.

We're all impressed by the great pyramids in Egypt. Because of the support we receive from all of you, and the professional assistance we receive, I'm just as impressed by the size and perfection of ours.

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