Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big Boy Eyewear

For 6 years, Ethan has been wearing glasses that have earpieces that wrap around the back of his ears. They're a great option for active little boys, but the time has come to move on to a frame that doesn't encourage him to pull both arms out to the side as far as they'll go.

Ethan has historically dealt with his frustration by ripping off his glasses and throwing them. Luckily, he's only stepped on them once and it was done accidentally. His frames have always been metal and though they've been flexible, we've spent a lot of time in the optical store getting them adjusted. We're hoping that the plastic pair will take just as good a beating, but not require so many trips to the "glasses store". He needs to learn the correct way of putting them on and removing them, so I put together a power point presentation that highlights little kids with 2 hands at the temples as they carefully handle their glasses. We'll see if it helps.

In the meantime, he's aged by about 5 years in this new pair.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year, New Ear!

2 days post surgery, eating a favorite snack

If you've followed Ethan's story online or in person, then you realize that he has suffered for 2 years with a faulty implant. The issue was further complicated by a lousy rep from Cochlear Corp. (who has been replaced with someone professional) and a mostly non-verbal little guy who lacks the ability to communicate his experience via the traditional/typical routes. We've been saying his implant doesn't work (and he has refused to wear it) since 2009. Finally it has been removed and a new device put in its place. He came through the surgery and recovery with flying colors and in a few short weeks the new Ci will be activated and we'll be on our way. There's a lot more to say about the ramifications of the experience on Ethan's psyche and progress, but it doesn't feel productive in the least to go into that detail.

Since my last post here, we've also found out that Ethan has qualified for a grant for a service dog! He will get his dog in August 2012 and it will be both a hearing ear dog and an autism dog. The dog will be trained in search and rescue, so if Ethan ever got away from us (as he tries so diligently to do), the dog would be able to track his scent and help us find him quickly. He can also be tethered to the dog in public so that we would be able to go places and walk normally, rather than hold onto Ethan with the death grip to keep him from running away. The way we've had to function has prohibited me from signing with him in public because my hands are too busy keeping him safe. The way in which this dog will change our lives is far reaching and I'm still not sure it has totally sunk in for me yet. That we might feel less like prisoners to his autism and more like an average family who enjoy outings together is just a dream come true.

Ethan continues to do well in school. He is in the same classroom with the same staff as last year and they never cease to amaze with their skill set, compassion, communication skills, and general awesomeness. He definitely presents them with challenges, but they don't seemed phased by it and always have a method or idea to deal with his antics. I've heard there is a little girl who plays with him during recess each day and who likes to walk into the building holding his hand. We're not really seeing anything playmate-wise translate beyond the school walls, but hopefully that will come with time, and a little extra effort on my part to make it happen.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer (early stages) in July and had a double mastectomy in October. I have surgery again (reconstruction) in February and am on my way to a full recovery. I am very lucky to have caught it so early and to have so many wonderful friends, neighbors, and family members who have come to my side for support.

We're all really hoping that 2012 presents us with fewer challenges!